Introduction to Logic: From Aristotle to the Information Age

Department: Linguistics

Instructor: Adrian Seeley
Instructor Email:
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

This course is intended to introduce students to logic. It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of logic. Everyone thinks. Everyone reasons. We are also all subjected to the thinking and reasoning of others from many sources: books, radio, speeches, TV, newspapers, employers, friends, and family. The study of logic is one of the best ways to refine one’s natural ability to reason and argue. Through the study of logic, one learns strategies for thinking well, common errors in reasoning to avoid, and effective techniques for evaluating arguments. In this course, we will introduce formal symbolic logic, focusing on argument structure, syllogisms, propositional logic, and elementary quantificational logic. From time to time, we will also use an educational computer program designed to teach students logic.

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

As a result of this course, students will come to understand the structure of different kinds of arguments, identify common logical fallacies, resolve logical disagreements (contradictions), represent English sentences in first-order logic, construct truth tables, and prepare formal proofs. In addition, this course will enhance critical reasoning skills and strengthen the ability to express that reasoning clearly.

Content & Evaluation

Students will be expected to participate in class and solve selected problems in class and at home. We will sometimes work in small groups during class. The final grade will be calculated as follows:

  • Participation 30%
  • Homework 30%
  • In-class work 20%
  • Exams 20%

Topical Outline

Possible Textbook

Barwise, B., Etchemendy, J. Language, Proof, and Logic, 2nd Edition. CSLI/Chicago University Press. The text comes with a software package to be used in some of the homework assignments.

Tentative Schedule of Classes and Topics (with readings listed from the possible textbook above)

Week 1

  • The Nature Of An Argument, Validity And Fallacy
  • Predicate Symbols, Atomic Sentences
  • Combining Predicates: The Logical Connectives
  • Truth Tables

Week 2

  • First Order Logic
  • Representing Natural Language
  • The Art Of Proof

Week 3

  • Ambiguity And Context Sensitivity
  • Real World Applications Of Logic
  • First Order Set Theory

Learn About the Application Process