This information is for the 2019/20 session.
Dr Laurenz Hudetz
This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
Students on the BSc in Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method and on the BSc in Politics and Philosophy are required to take either this course or PH104. Students on the BSc in Philosophy and Economics who opt to take their logic paper in their first year may take either this course or PH104; those who opt to take their logic paper in their second year must take PH104 rather than this course. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
Arguments and inferences play a fundamental role both in intellectual disciplines and in everyday life. For example, a scientist will test a particular theory by reasoning that if that theory is true then some other claim, one that can be checked experimentally, must be true as well. Or a politician will give an argument for a certain migration policy. More mundanely, we reason and draw inferences all the time and our actions are guided by the conclusions we draw. We are so used to this that we are often not even aware of it.
Logic is the study of arguments and inferences – it therefore has an enormously broad scope. Its main task is to give an explicit characterisation of those arguments and inferences that are valid (and hence differentiate them from those that are invalid). Logic tells you exactly when some conclusion follows from some premises and when it does not. It turns out that, in everyday life, many arguments are far from the ideal of logical validity. However, philosophers and social scientists should be able to devise arguments that satisfy this ideal.
In view of that, several questions arise:
- What exactly are arguments and inferences and which quality criteria should they satisfy?
- What exactly does it mean that the truth of a statement is guaranteed by the truth of other statements?
- What exactly does it mean that a statement is true (given an interpretation of the language in which it is formulated)?
- Is it possible to find a few manageable inference rules such that, given any valid argument, its conclusion can be derived from its premises using only these rules?
- Is there a general method for checking whether a given argument or inference is valid?
This course provides answers to these and related questions. It begins with a simple system called sentential or propositional logic, which despite its simplicity captures a significant range of important arguments. The course then focuses on predicate logic, which is much more powerful and provides the logical basis for analysing a great variety of arguments and theories.
15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.
This course has a reading week in Week 6 of both MT and LT.
Formative coursework will take the form of a number of quizzes and a number of regular exercises. Both of these will be set on the basis of the material covered in lectures. In the case of the quizzes, students are required to complete them before a specific deadline. In the case of the regular exercises, students are required to complete these and to be ready to present and discuss answers in the associated class; some of these will be formatively assessed by the class teachers. Successful completion of both the quizzes and the regular exercises is regarded as a prerequisite for admission to the examination for this course.
There will be comprehensive lecture slides and materials covering the entire course content. Textbooks whose treatment is close to that adopted in the lectures are:
Halbach, V. (2010): The Logic Manual. Oxford University Press.
Magnus, P.D. and Button, T. (2017): forallx: Cambridge. (available online)
Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Department: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Total students 2018/19: 153
Average class size 2018/19: 14
Capped 2018/19: No
Value: One Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Application of numeracy skills
- Specialist skills