Phil 106 - 01 — Introduction to Logic

Prof. Gregory
Winter 2008

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Contact Information:

Professor Gregory
Newcomb 32
540-458-8182
gregoryp@wlu.edu

Department of Philosophy
Sec: Karen Lyle
Newcomb 6
540-458-8798

Office Hours:

Mon, Thu, Fri 2:30-4
By appointment

If you need to reach me outside of office hours please email me or call my office number and leave a voice message — be sure to leave a phone number or email address at which you can be reached.

Text:

Gregory, Formal Logic—copy packet, available from Karen Lyle in Newcomb 6

Schedule:

Click here or in the banner above to access class schedule.

Course Description:

This is an introductory course in symbolic logic. We will develop and use formal symbolic languages for the investigation of truth-functional and quantificational logical properties of sentences and arguments. Essentially you will be learning and using a new language (a language of logic), translating English into this language, and working within this language to investigate such things as consistency, validity, entailment, derivability, etc. The course puts demands on and helps to develop your linguistic, quantitative, and abstract reasoning skills. Because you will be learning to use a new language your presence in class and work on the exercise sets will be crucial to your success—the more you practice and use a language, the more proficient you become.

Course Objectives:

Responsibilities:

Reading. You are expected to read the assigned material before it is presented in class. The text, Formal Logic, is not a self-teaching manual. It is designed to prepare you for classroom lecture, discussion, and exercises. Reading it is not a substitute for being in class. Lecture, classroom exercises, and discussion are the only way you will learn enough to do well on the quizzes and exams.

Attendance. Attendance is crucial to your understanding and success in this course. Most of the learning will occur in class, through lecture, exercises, and discussion with me and your classmates. Like a course in a foreign language, each new topic (new vocabulary, new grammar) builds importantly on the previous topics. Thus, if you miss a number of sessions, you will be lost—there are remedies for such a situation, but they are all unpleasant. Moreover, more than one or two absences will negatively affect your grade, not only by impeding success as described above, but also by negatively impacting my assignment of your attendance/participation grade. When you have good reason for being absent from class you should communicate with me as soon as possible concerning your circumstances.

Participation. Class participation consists of asking and answering questions, coming to the board to do exercises, group work, helping your classmates, and meeting me outside of class. The more you engage in these activities, the more you will learn, and the higher your attendance/participation grade will be. Logic (especially symbolic) is a peculiar topic, and students have many different styles of approaching it. Thus, it is often very helpful to work together (both in and out of class) with your classmates, as they may be able to communicate things in a way that I cannot. Moreover, it is very important that you ask questions when you begin to get confused, even if you’re not sure what to ask—it is entirely legitimate to raise a hand and simply say “I don’t get it!” (expletives optional). I need to know when this is happening so that I can do my job right. Even during the portions of class when I am lecturing, I encourage you to raise a hand, interrupt me, and ask a question.

Homework Exercises. There are a number of problem sets in Formal Logic and more are available from me upon request. You are expected to complete all of these as or after we are covering the relevant topics. For the reasons discussed above, I strongly encourage you to work with a partner or partners. These will not be handed in and they will not be graded (though read on). Answers to all exercises in the Formal Logic appear in Appendix A, and some (though not all) of the exercises (especially those about which you have questions) will be discussed in class. I cannot stress the importance of practice strongly enough—do your homework. It is always possible for you to meet individually with me (or in small groups) to discuss exercises, if that will be helpful. You will not do well on quizzes and exams if you do not do your homework.

Exams. There will be 3 exams. These may not be made up or rescheduled, except under special or extreme circumstances, in which case you must notify me as soon as possible, so that I can make a decision. The Exams will be self-scheduled. This is to allow more time for completing the exam.

Please note: THE USE OF “COLD” QUIZZES AND EXAMS FOR THIS COURSE IS CONSIDERED AN HONOR VIOLATION.

If you know of or suspect the use of cold quizzes or exams, please notify me, I will keep strict confidentiality.

Grading:

Component % of Final Average
Participation/Attendance 15
Exam 1 25
Exam 2 30
Exam 3 30

Final Grade will be determined by your Final Average and factors including improvement over the semester.

There are no extra credit assignments.

Communication, Etiquette, and Respect:

The ‘What’s the Point?’ Challenge:

It may happen at some time during lecture, discussion, or your reading that you feel lost, or bored, and wonder ‘What’s the point of this reading [discussion, lecture]?’ or ‘What’s it got to do with anything?’ or ‘I don’t get it...’. Whenever this happens please feel free to raise your hand (or send me an e-mail, or come and see me) and ask me ‘What’s the point?’ Indeed I challenge you to do so. You might want to try to work out your worry (or lack thereof) in how you ask your question, but all you really need do is ask me ‘What’s the point?!’ or say ‘I don’t get it!’

I do not pose this as a challenge because I have all the answers and will “beat” you by giving you one of them. I don’t have all the answers. Rather, I have found that many of the best discussions—in class and one on one—arise out of just such questions. At the same time, however, students have developed a fear of asking such questions, or a habit of suppressing them when they arise, because they are too focused on results, tangible products (including, but not restricted to, grades). In my class the process of thinking is of greater importance than the product. Do not hesitate to question the point, the importance, the value, of either the process or the product, this is simply more process—more critical thinking. This is what philosophy is about. It is a discipline in which everything is fair game for critical examination, even, and especially, philosophy itself.

Syllabus Confirmation:

You must read this page, the Class Schedule, and Notes On Class Participation. You must complete the syllabus confirmation/student information form by midnight, Friday, September 14 to be eligible for class participation credit. If you have any questions or concerns about the policies, do not hesitate to contact me.

Here is the statement you will be confirming when you submit the form after following the link:

I have read the Course Syllabus for the course in which I am enrolled, including the “Home” page, the “Class Schedule”, and the “Notes On Class Participation", and I understand all policies contained therein.

To the Syllabus Confirmation/Student Information Form