What makes an argument good? How do you show that someone has reasoned invalidly? In this course we will study arguments and reasoning both informally as well as with the tools and techniques of formal deductive logic. We learn the syntax and semantics of propositional and first-order logic (polyadic with identity), and we will use them to explicate the notion of a valid argument. We then apply our formal logical techniques to a variety of domains, such as the domain of sets (abstract collections of objects). Topics include syntax, semantics, pragmatics, consistency, proof, logical consequence, logical equivalence, logical truth, logical form, set theory, infinity, paradoxes, truth functionality, binary numbers, logic gates, truth tables, quantification, relations, functions, interpretations, models, soundness, and completeness. We will also discuss connections between formal logic and computability theory, philosophy of language, cognitive science, foundations of mathematics, and metalogic (theorems about logical systems themselves).
For Spring 2023, this course is in person. There is no remote option. The midterm and final exams are also in person. The midterm exam is Weds. of week 5. The final exam is in the slot assigned by the university: Weds. June 7: 8:30-10:20 a.m. You should not enroll in this course unless you can commit to taking the exams in person at those times.
Grading and Course Requirements
There are four components of your grade:
- In-Class Participation (via Poll Everywhere): 10%
- Homework: 30%
- Midterm Exam: 25% (see note below about exam times)
- Final Exam: 35% (see note below about exam times)
Here is an explanation of each part:
- In-Class Participation: 10%. Participation in lecture is required. We will use the response system Poll Everywhere. There is no device to buy: you can use a phone, tablet, or computer, or I will also allow you to answer by paper and pencil if you prefer (talk with me in advance if you would like to use that option). In-class participation means you must actually be in the classroom participating in order to earn these points (clicking in when you are not in class will be considered academic dishonesty). Your lowest three Poll Everywhere grades will be dropped, which accounts for sick days or other legitimate reasons to miss a class. Every clicker question is worth 1 point. Sometimes questions have no correct answer, and all answers will get full credit, but you must still click in in order to get the points. When there is a correct answer, incorrect answers will still get ½ point for participating, but again you must click in to get the points. Screens should only be used in class for answering Poll Everywhere questions or taking notes, not shopping or playing video games!
- Homework: 30%. Homework problem sets are done as quizzes in Canvas. They are not done with the online textbook. The questions and problems in the textbook are for practice and are not worth points. You may take each Canvas quiz for homework five times. Your highest score will be counted. Working with other students in a study group on homework is allowed—learning from your peers is very beneficial! Homework assignments will start to be due the first week. They are typically due each Saturday by 11:59 p.m. The Canvas assignment is “available” until the next day, per the late policy; see below. You can see your score after submitting each homework quiz, which can help you improve your result if you choose to take it a second or third time. Each time you take a quiz, you must still answer all the questions. Correct answers will be posted at 12:01 a.m. one day after the quiz closes.
- Midterm Exam 25%. The midterm will occur in lecture on Wednesday of week 5. It is closed note/book/computer (unless allowed by DRS) and must be done strictly individually. It will be multiple choice, true/false, proofs, etc. Some of the questions will be previous clicker questions; others will be similar to homework questions. So your previous work in the course will have prepared you for what to expect. Directions and a study guide will be provided before the exam. You must bring a PURPLE (not green) Scantron answer card (bubble sheet) and a no. 2 pencil in order to take the test.
- Final Exam: 35%. The final exam will occur in our assigned slot during finals week. It is closed note/book/computer (unless allowed by DRS) and must be done strictly individually. Like the midterm, it will be multiple choice, true/false, proofs, etc. Some of the questions will be previous clicker questions; others will be similar to homework questions. So your previous work in the course will have prepared you for what to expect. Directions and a study guide will also be provided during the last week of class. The test is cumulative, but the emphasis will be on new material since the midterm. You must bring a PURPLE (not green) Scantron answer card (bubble sheet) and a no. 2 pencil in order to take the test.