PHIL 155.001 – Introduction to Mathematical Logic

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Instructor: John T. Roberts. This course meets MW 11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. in CA 111 with a recitation on Fridays.

Logic is about patterns of correct reasoning.  For example, this bit of reasoning is correct:  “All mammals are vertebrates; those animals over there are all mammals; THEREFORE those animals over there are all vertebrates”; by contrast, this bit of reasoning is incorrect:  “All mammals are vertebrates; those animals over there are all vertebrates; THEREFORE those animals over there are all mammals.”  The field of logic seeks to identify the patterns that reasoning has to follow in order to be correct.  In this course we will learn how to use one important logical theory — called “classical first-order deductive logic” — and how to apply it to bits of reasoning that we may encounter in any part of life.

Logic is a field that is in the intersection of philosophy and mathematics.  (It also has some bearing on linguistics, computer science, and even the design of circuits.)  So, although this is a philosophy course, it has certain things in common with a math course.  In particular, the work you do will consist primarily of solving problems rather than writing essays.  Like all courses that focus on problem solving, it will be very important that you do lots of practice, and not simply read the book and listen to lectures.  So there will be a good bit of homework.

No background in logic or philosophy (or mathematics) will be presupposed.  After taking this course (assuming you do well in it), you should be prepared to take either PHIL 355 or PHIL 455.

We will be using a software package to do and turn in homework.  (The software will be available to you for free — as will the textbook.)  So having and using a computer is a requirement of this course.  You will not need to bring your computer to class, however.

PLEASE NOTE that even though this is a philosophy course, it does not satisfy the PH General Education requirement.  It does, however, satisfy the QR requirement.