Formal Logic

Karl F. Oles
Instructor for Scholars Online
2014-2015: Friday, 11:00-12:00 AM/PM Eastern Time

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Schedule of reading and discussion assignments (listed by week)

Note: Check each week to make sure your edition of the book tracks the assignments as stated. Some editions may require modified assignments. Nearly all the exercises have solutions on the text author’s website (
Week 1 Instructor and student introductions; how this course will work. Logic as the “systematic evaluation of arguments for internal cogency.” How is formal logic like mathematics? Chapter 1, including exercises. During the first several weeks, the material presented in class sessions will be followed by parallel material in the homework/text. Students are certainly free to work ahead in the text, but it won’t be necessary..
Week 2 Review homework. Validity vs. soundness. Why is logical validity compelling? What are propositions? Chapter 2, including exercises.
Week 3 Review homework. Patterns of argument. What are relations? Problems translating English into formal logic. Chapter 3, including exercises.
Week 4 Review homework. Using counterexamples to assess validity. Chapter 4, including exercises.
Week 5 Review homework. Proofs and enthymemes. Reductio ad absurdum proofs. Chapter 5, including exercises.
Week 6 Review homework. Limiting cases of validity. Practice for Quiz #1. Chapter 6 and the following “Interlude.” Quiz #1
Week 7 Review Quiz #1. Summarize material covered up to this point. Chapter 7, including exercises. From this point on, homework assignments in the text will precede parallel material in the class sessions. Students may send questions between class sessions as needed to understand the text material and perform the exercises.
Week 8 Review homework. Introduction to propositional logic. Why study a formal language? Problems translating English into a formal language. Chapter 8, including exercises.
Week 9 Review homework. PL syntax. What is a well-formed formula (wff)? Testing for wffs by construction trees (top down and bottom up). Chapter 9, including exercises.
Week 10 Review homework. PL semantics. How do truth tables work? What are truth values? Chapter 10, including exercises.
Week 11 Review homework. Distinguishing between English and PL and representing the distinction using quotation marks. Chapter 11 (sections 11.7 - 11.9 are optional), including exercise A (B and C are extra credit).
Week 12 Review homework. What are truth functional connectives? Truth tables revisited; truth functional equivalence. Chapter 12 (section 12.5 is optional), including exercises.
Week 13 Review homework. Tautologies and contradictions. Review truth table technique. Chapter 13 (sections 13.7 and 13.8 are optional), and exercises A and B (C is extra credit).
Week 14 Review homework. Using truth tables to evaluate deductive validity of arguments whose essential logical materials are PL connectives; helpful shortcuts. Practice for Quiz #2. The “Interlude” following Chapter 13. .
Week 15 Chapter 14, including exercises. Outline short essay discussing student’s chosen article.
Week 16 Review homework. Adding the material conditional to PL. Distinguishing between the material conditional and the (metalinquistic) concept of tautological entailment. Chapter 15, including exercises.
Week 17 Review homework. More on the material conditional and its relation to the English “if - then.” Chapter 16, including exercises.
Week 18 Review homework. Using PL trees to test arguments for validity. Chapter 17, including exercises
Week 19 Review homework. Using PL trees to test arguments for validity, continued. Prepare for Quiz #3. Chapter 18, Quiz #3
Week 20 Review Quiz #3. Using PLC trees to test arguments for validity. More translational issues. Summary of propositional logic. The “Interlude” following Chapter 20; Chapter 21.
[The assignments skip Chapters 19 and 20, though they are interesting and worth reviewing on the student’s own time.]
Week 21 Introduction to predicate logic. The problem of translating English quantifiers into a formal language. Chapter 22, including exercises.
Week 22 Review homework. Setting up the syntax of QL. Chapter 23, including exercises.
Week 23 Review homework. Translating English into QL. Chapter 25, including exercise A (B and C are extra credit)./td>
Week 24 Review homework. Using QL trees. Study guide for Final Exam.
Week 25 Discuss study guide for Final Exam. Final Exam.
Week 26 Discuss Final Exam.