Philosophy 311

Office Hours in RH-428 (445-4489)

Introduction to Formal Logic

MWF 9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.

Philosophy Seminar, Fall, 2007

and by appointment.

Prof. Michael Kagan


The course will introduce students to some of the basic features and techniques of modern logic, and provide opportunities to begin development of the ability to analyze and criticize attempts at persuasion, using the language and techniques of modern symbolic logic ("formal logic"). We will also wonder about some paradoxical aspects of our studies.


We will proceed through discussion and exercises originating in the lecture and reading material, homework, quizzes, and a final make-up exam.


1.      homework/participation [50%];
2.      quizzes/optional problems and projects [50%]
Note: Some quizzes may not be announced.  There will be a final make-up exam for students who have missed quizzes and for those who would like another chance to demonstrate what they have learned.

(Grades are based on a 10 point scale as follows:
90-100 - 'A' range (97-100 = A+; 94-96=A; 90-93=A-); 80-89 - 'B' range (87-89 = B+; 84-86=B; 80-83=B-);
70-79 - 'C' range (77-79 = C+; 74-76=C; 70-73=C-); 60-69 - 'D' range (67-69 = D+; 64-66=D; 60-63=D-).
Below 60 - 'F'. )

Required Texts (Please bring both texts to class)

Alan Hausman, Howard Kahane, & Paul Tidman. Logic and Philosophy, 10th edition (Thomson Wadsworth, 2007).
Raymond M. Smullyan. This Book Needs No Title: A Budget of Living Paradoxes
(Simon & Schuster Touchstone Book, 1986).

Optional Texts will be indicated as the course progresses.

In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC), reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Please register with the ASC Office for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving your accommodation form from the ASC, you will need to make an appointment with me to review the form and discuss your needs. Please make every attempt to meet with me within the first week of class so your accommodations can be provided in a timely manner. You can either stop by the ASC, Library, 1st floor, or call (445-4118-voice or 445-4104-TDD) to make an appointment.


No classes or office hours on the following dates:
Mon., Sept. 3, Labor Day; Wed. Sep. 5, Mass of the Holy Spirit (classes canceled 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM; Classes resume at 1:30); Tues., Sep. 13 (Rosh Hashanah); Oct. 8-9, Fall Break; Nov. 21-24, Thanksgiving Break.
Last day of class: Dec. 7 (Fri.).

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (as of 9/28/07)
#1 (Mon., Aug. 27) Introduce course, ideas of formal methods and representations, the problem of translation/formalization, Marlow's warning about new hammers, informal and presystematic considerations. Discuss optional problems and projects.
#2 (Fri., Aug. 31) Read the preface and first chapter of Logic and Philosophy (LP), read Smullyan, chapter I. Write a brief essay describing one an argument or paradox you find interesting.
No class Mon., Sep. 3 (Labor Day) .
No office hours Wed, Sep. 5 (Mass of the Holy Spirit - classes canceled 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM; Classes resume at 1:30.
#3 (Fri., Sep. 7) Read LP, chapter 2. Do Exercises 2-7, odd #s
21-29; and Exercise 2-8; odd #s 13-23.
#4 (Mon., Sep. 10).  Read LP, chapter 3.  Do Exercises 3-10, odd #s 1-5.  Do Exercises 3-11, odd #s 3-7.    What is the main logical connective in the first sentence of the U.S. Declaration of Independence?  Read  Smullyan's "Vignettes,"  pp. 139-140.  Then, if you'd like, write a short essay explaining the logic of any one of them. 
#5 (Fri., Sep. 14)
  Read LP, chapter 4.  Do Exercises 4-8, odd #s,  and 4-14, #7. 
#8 (Mon., Sep. 17)  Read LP, chapter 5.  Do Exercises 5-6, odd #s.  Do Exercises 5-7 odd #s  1-5.  Short essay:  Why might CP and IP be useful for philosophers,  poets, story tellers, or scientists?
#10 (Fri., Sep. 21) Read LP chapter 6.  Express "(p --> q ) v (q-->p)" in terms of alternation and negation .  Show, by any formal method that the conjunction consisting of p with q implies the biconditional  consisting of p with q. 
(Mon , Oct.. 1) Read chapter 7 to then end of section 7, p. 181  Work on odd #'s 1-5 from each of Exercises 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4 , 7-5, 7-6, 7-7.  Bring questions . 
( Fri., Oct. 5) Finish reading LP, ch. 7.  Work on odd #'s 1-5 from each of Exercises 7-8, 7-9, and 7-10.  Bring questions.
No class Oct. 8-9 (Mon.-Tue.), Fall Break.

#14 (Fri., Oct. 12). Read LP, chapter  8. Do Exercises 8-2 and 8-3, #1. Read Smullyan, Chapter 3. Symbolize (using 'Dx' for “x is a skeptic”, 'Sx' for “x survives” ,and 'Px' for “x will be puzzled” ) i(1) “If everyone survives Skeptics survive” and (2) symbolize “if only skeptics survive, then someone who survives will be puzzled.” Read LP, chapter . 9, sections 1-4.
(Mon., Oct. 15). Finish reading LP, chapter . 9. Do Exercises 9-3 and 9-5, odd #s 1-5. Read LP, chapter 10, sections 1-6. 
(Fri. Oct. 19)  Re-read LP, chapter 10, sections 1-6; then finish reading chapter 10.. Do Exercises 10-5, 10-6, and 10-7, odd #s 1-7; feel free to use the simpler set of rules described in section 11, if you prefer.
(Mon., Oct. 22) Do Exercises 10-10, odd #s, 1-5, and 10-11, #5.
(Fri., Oct. 26) Do Exercises 10-13, odd #s 1-5. Read LP, chapter . 11.
(Mon. Oct. 29) Read LP, chapter 13, sections 1-4. Do Exercises 13-1 and 13-2, odd #s 1-5.
(Fri., Nov. 2). Do Exercises 13-3 and 13-4, odd #s 1-5.
 (Mon., November 5). Finish reading LP, chapter . 13. Write a short essay (using, if you can, material presented there) about the paradox of Ralph who mistakenly thinks he's a hypochondriac.
(Fri. Nov. 9).   Read LP, chapter . 14. Do Exercise 14-7, odd #s..
Monday, November 12.    Read LP, chapter . 17.
#29  (Fri. Nov 16)  Read LP, chapter . 18. Read Smullyan, chapter 4. Write a brief essay using the machinery described in LP ch. 18 to explain how the astronomer's premises change after the predicted eclipse did not occur.
#30  Fri. Nov. 16 &/or Mon. Nov 19, Schedule optional presentations. Depending on how closely we have followed our tentative schedule, and how many students choose to do final presentations, we will use the rest of the semester to explore LP, chapters 16 – 18, other examples of Smullyan's work, and examples of philosophical work where the techniques we have studied can be applied.

No classes Nov. 21-25 (Thanksgiving Break). Fri., December 7, make-up presentations/final evaluations (if they haven't taken place). LAST DAY OF CLASS.

Please note:  The final make up exam will start at 10 A.M. Tuesday, December 11, 2007, in our regular classroom.  The final make up exam will start at 10 A.M., not the 9:00 A.M. time posted at the Registrar's website.

Some of this page's links:

1.      PHL 311, Formal Logic Fall 2007 syllabus:
2.      Other materials for PHL 311:
3.      Back to Kagan's Homepage:
4.      Academic Support Center: