PH111 Half Unit
Introduction to Logic
This information is for the 2022/23 session.
Dr Laurenz Hudetz
This course is compulsory on the BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance. 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 in almost all areas of human life and society. For example, a scientist will test a 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 defend a policy by putting forward an argument in favour of it and criticising counterarguments. More mundanely, we reason, argue 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 most arguments we encounter in everyday life are far from the ideal of logical validity. However, good philosophers and scientists should be able to devise arguments satisfying that ideal. This skill can also be of great advantage in fields such as law or public policy.
We train this skill based on classical theories of logical consequence. Among other things, the course provides rigorous answers to the following questions.
- What exactly are arguments and inferences and which quality criteria should they satisfy?
- Under what conditions is an argument or inference logically valid?
- How can one demonstrate that an argument or inference is valid?
- How can one demonstrate that an argument or inference is not valid?
The course 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 (first-order) 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.
This course is delivered following a flipped learning approach. There are online lecture videos that students can watch in their own time. The timetabled lecture slot is used for Q&A sessions with the lecturer. The classes are used to discuss solutions to the weekly problem sets. Class attendance is mandatory.
This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.
Formative coursework will take the form of problem sets and online quizzes. Students are required to complete problem sets before the associated class and to be ready to present and discuss their answers in class. Online quizzes serve as continuous formative assessment.
There will be comprehensive lecture slides and materials covering the entire course content. Indicative background readings include:
- Button, T. and Magnus, P.D. (2017): forall x: Cambridge, URL= < http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytbu/OERs.html>
- Copi I.M., Cohen, C. and McMahon K. (2014): Introduction to Logic. Pearson.
- Salmon, M.H. (2013): Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking. Wadsworth.
Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the January exam period.
Department: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Total students 2021/22: 190
Average class size 2021/22: 19
Capped 2021/22: No
Value: Half Unit
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