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Introduction to formal logic

Contact Information

  • Leemon McHenry
  • Philosophy
  • leemon.mchenry@csun.edu
  • Office Phone: 677-5806
  • Fax Number
  • Office Hours: 7:00-7:50 Monday and Wednesday
  • ST 534

Instructional Materials


Important Notices

Print Syllabus (See Instructional Materials--this page)

EXAM 1 -- March 16, 2016

EXAM 2 -- May 11, 2016


Class Accommodations

Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability, please identify yourself to me and to the University so that we can reasonably accommodate your learning and the preparation and evaluation of the work that you must do for this course. Please contact the Center on Disabilities, Student Services Building, Room 110, 818.677.2684 (fax: 818.677.4932; email: sdr@csun.edu). For more information, visit the COD’s website at the following address: http://www.csun.edu/cod.


Course Information Overview

Philosophy 230: Introduction to Formal Logic



This course satisfies the “Critical Reasoning” (A-2) section of the General Education Program, which recognizes critical reasoning as a fundamental competence.  Courses in this section of General Education take reasoning itself as their focus.  Their goals are to provide students with criteria and methods for distinguishing good reasoning from bad and to help students develop basic reasoning skills that they can apply both within a broad range of academic disciplines and outside the academic environment.  Students are expected to acquire skill in recognizing the logical structure of statements and arguments, the ability to distinguish rational from non-rational means of persuasion, skill in applying the principles of sound reasoning in the construction and evaluation of arguments, and an appreciation of the value of critical reasoning skills in the pursuit of knowledge.

To satisfy this requirement we will cover a natural deduction system of elementary symbolic logic (first-order logic), including both sentential logic and predicate logic.  Equal attention will be given to translations and proofs.  We will also discuss philosophical aspects of symbolic logic when appropriate.


Two Exams—60% of final grade.  The first exam will be roughly at the 8th week of term, and the second exam will be on the last day of class, 8 December.

Quizzes—20% of final grade.  There are approximately 4 - 6 quizzes. You are allowed to drop the lowest quiz grade.  The remainder will be averaged.  Quizzes provide continuous feedback on the course material and prepare you for the exams.

Participation/Attendance/Punctuality--10%  of final grade. Attendance and punctuality will be noted at each class session. Participation will be judged on the basis of your willingness to take an active role in the class, e.g., response to exercises and discussion of lecture material.

Homework—10% of final grade.  Exercises will be assigned for almost every class session.  When taken up, they will be graded for completion rather than accuracy.



Lectures and homework exercises.  Initially lectures will be given to introduce new material or difficult concepts.  The majority of this course will be devoted to detailed examination of homework exercises.  Learning symbolic logic is like learning mathematics or a foreign language because it requires daily practice.  Students who let the assignments accumulate usually do not do well on exams.


Part One: Sentential Logic

1.  Basic Concepts, Truth Functions, Translations

            Chapters, 1 and 2.


2.  Truth Tables  (Statements, Pairs of Statements and Arguments)

            Chapter 3


3.  Formal Proofs of Validity in Propositional Logic

            Chapter 4

4.  Conditional and Indirect Proofs

            Chapter 5


Part Two: Predicate Logic

5.  Predicate Logic-Translations

            Chapter 7, 8


6.  Proofs in Predicate Logic

            Chapter 9