Philosophy | Elementary Logic
P150 | 0490 | G. Theiner


Every day, you face decisions about what you ought to believe. Should
you accept a newspaper editorial's demand to ban smoking from all
public places? Should you alter your attitude towards abortion if a
friend of you claims that it is inconsistent with other beliefs you
hold? Suppose you believe that no ghosts are vampires, and that some
philosophers are ghosts, should you also believe that at least some
philosophers are not vampires? When encountering such episodes of
reasoning, you want to be able to determine whether they justify
taking a particular position on the issue or not. This is exactly what
you can expect to learn in this class: to identify, analyze, and
evaluate arguments, the basic units of reasoning.

To get a better handle on the logical structure of arguments, we will
spend most of the course familiarizing ourselves with a fragment of
symbolic logic known as sentential logic. We will learn how to
translate statements and arguments from plain English into our
symbolism, and how to use formal methods (such as truth tables,
natural deduction, tableaux system) to establish the validity of the
argument in question. In the remainder of the course we will mostly
investigate arguments whose structure requires us to augment our
fragment by introducing a system of predicate logic. Furthermore, we
will briefly discuss how to evaluate the strength of inductive
arguments.

Course grades will be determined on the basis of class participation,
frequent homework assignments, in-class worksheets, and three exams.

Text: Bergmann, Moor, and Nelson, The Logic Book, McGraw-Hill (4th
edition)

For more information contact the instructor, Georg Theiner, at
gtheiner@indiana.edu.