PHIL 155.001 – Truth and Proof: Introduction to Mathematical Logic

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Instructor: Simon Varey. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in GA 007.

This course is an introduction to mathematical logic, which involves the use of mathematical techniques to study arguments and their properties. In this course, you will learn how to use formal methods to determine which arguments are valid (in other words, to determine when the truth of an argument’s premises guarantees the truth of its conclusion). This will involve learning how to translate English sentences into the precise symbolic languages of logic, as well as learning how to evaluate formal arguments by means of different proof systems. We will first look at propositional logic, before moving on to the more powerful and complex system of predicate logic.

Outside of its various uses in philosophy and mathematics, logic is a powerful tool in many other fields where precise reasoning is required, such as linguistics and computer science. The goal of this course will be to develop your logical skills to assist your ability to reason clearly, carefully and precisely, both in academic contexts and everyday life. The course has no prerequisites, and no background in logic or mathematics will be presupposed. It is, however, more like a mathematics class than a standard philosophy class, insofar as much of your grade will depend on solving problems, rather than writing essays. This course satisfies the QR requirement, but not the PH requirement, and has no required textbook purchase.​