Philosophy | Introductory Symbolic Logic
P250 | 4560 | H. Demir


In a nutshell, Logic deals with ‘good reasoning’, and the main tool by
which we reason is arguments. So, to identify ‘good reasoning’
requires asking questions like ‘Is this argument valid?’ or "Does the
conclusion of this argument follow from its premises?" To find the
answer is a little bit tricky, because we have to imagine all possible
situations in which the premises are true and then find out if the
conclusion is true in those situations. A HUGE TASK… In many cases, it
is almost impossible to cover all possible situations.

In this course, we will try to learn some formal tools that will help
us to avoid the burden of imagining all possible situations. The first
of these formal tools is called Propositional Logic. As we will see,
it is a pretty useful tool for identifying valid arguments. However,
it is not powerful enough to deal with some arguments: the ones which
have quantifiers like ‘all’ and ‘some’ in their premises and/or
conclusion. Hence, we will extend Propositional Logic to Predicate
Logic which is nothing but Propositional Logic plus two quantifiers.
At the end of the semester, hopefully, we will be able to deal with
all arguments. An ambitious, but manageable claim.

Such a course in formal logic will be useful for philosophy,
athematics, computer science, cognitive science and informatics
majors, and many others.

The course grade will be determined on the basis of one midterm, one
final and regular homeworks/quizzes. The text book is Barwise and
Etchemendy’s “Language, Proof and Logic” published by CSLI. Please
feel free to send an e-mail to the instructor if you have any question
and/or comment. (hdemir@indiana.edu)