Module VPR-1301:
Introduction to Logic

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Toby Betenson

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to introduce students to the methods of formal logic. Developing skill in logic is essential to success in philosophy. In most cases, doing philosophy is about thinking clearly and constructing a rational argument. Logic is the science of rational argument. Studying logic enables you to extract the relevant points within an argument and assess whether those points hang together in such a way that they compel the argument’s conclusion. The methods of formal logic equip you with tools that you can use to quickly and clearly analyse an argument, assess its validity, and demonstrate its success or failure accordingly. These are useful skills in any context. In this module, students will learn the basic methods of propositional and predicate logic.

Course content

In this module, students will learn the basic concepts and methods of propositional and predicate logic. Beginning with an introduction to philosophical logic, its history, and forms of reasoning (deductive, inductive, etc.), the course builds the various skills and points of understanding necessary for the practical application of a propositional calculus, including: 1. Truth and falsity, validity and soundness. 2. Logical form, and a formal language. 3. Logical connectives. 4. Sentences, sequents, and sets. 5. Truth-Tables. 6. Truth-Trees. 7. Quantifiers and quantificational logic. At the end of the course, students will be able to use formal logic to clarify, analyse, and assess philosophical arguments.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

(D- to D+) Work in this band will demonstrate some knowledge of, and a very limited ability to apply, the methods of formal logic. Work in this band might show a lack of understanding, and will not demonstrate an ability to apply the methods of formal logic without frequent mistakes.

good

(C- to B+) Work in this band will demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of the issues and concepts within philosophical logic, and will be able to apply the methods of formal logic successfully and with few errors. Work in this band will show a few errors, or some lack of understanding, but will nonetheless demonstrate sound logical ability.

excellent

(A- to A*) Work in this band will demonstrate comprehensive and very detailed understanding of the issues and concepts within philosophical logic, and will further demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the methods of formal logic, such that the student can successfully apply the methods of formal logic with extremely few (or no) errors.

Learning outcomes

  1. To use the methods of formal logic to analyse a philosophical argument.

  2. To demonstrate knowledge, understanding, and an ability to apply the basic methods of formal logic.

  3. To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key concepts within philosophical logic.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Online Assignment 40
EXAM Exam 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 178
Practical classes and workshops 11
Lecture 11

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Articulacy in identifying underlying issues in a wide variety of debates.
  • Precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
  • Clarity and rigour in the critical assessment of arguments presented in such texts.
  • The ability to use and criticise specialised religious and philosophical terminology.
  • The ability to abstract and analyse arguments, and to identify flaws in them, such as false premises and invalid reasoning.
  • The ability to construct rationally persuasive arguments for or against specific religious and philosophical claims.
  • The ability to move between generalisation and appropriately detailed discussion, inventing or discovering examples to support or challenge a position, and distinguishing relevant and irrelevant considerations.
  • The ability to consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking, and to examine critically presuppositions and methods within the disciplines of philosophy and religion.

Resources

Reading list

Paul Tomassi, Logic (London: Routledge, 1999)

Courses including this module