In addition to the book, you will need regular access to a computer with internet access. It is best if you have your own. There will be required computer lab work using software which is available to download and install on your own computer or which you can use in computer labs at the Math Department. Other course materials will be posted on my web page.
The hour exam dates (subject to change but I will try to avoid changing them) are September 18, October 23, and December 4 (the last day before dead week). These are all Fridays.
Our final examination will be on Wednesday December 16 12--2 pm in the same room.
Andrew Cortens: Logic may be defined as the study of correct reasoning. In a sense, it is a normative enterprise, since it is concerned with how one ought to reason, not with how people do in fact reason. Not withstanding its normative character, at least some branches of logic unquestionably possess the status of being a science. There is a systematic body of information about good reasoning, and the concepts and techniques studied in logic have close affinities with those studied in mathematics and computer science. This course will introduce students to the most fundamental of these concepts and techniques, ones that have become pivotal to the way philosophy is practiced in the English-speaking world in the present century. Our approach will be largely "formal", in the sense that we will spend much of the semester working with "artificial languages", ones that have been specifically designed to clarify logical relations among statements. But the study of these artifical languages is not intended as an end in itself; such study facilitates a deeper understanding of the English language -- its logical structure, its enormous expressive potential, and the subtle ways in which meaning depends on sentence construction. Achieving such an understanding of your own language goes hand in hand with acquiring a more refined ability to distinguish good reasoning from bad, and will help you see why the concepts and techniques of formal logic have become so crucial to the way philosophy is practiced today.
Randall Holmes: I really like the language above, which is why I stole it (with due attribution). I will add that the formal logic you will learn in this class is basically identical to the formal logic that a mathematician or computer scientist will learn at some point in their careers. The course you are going to take has better and more thorough coverage than the closest analogous course offered to mathematics undergraduates here. I am a mathematical logician and set theorist: I study the systems we will discuss for their own sake. But I say the same things to mathematics students when I teach them formal logic. Most mathematicians will seldom use formal logical symbolism, but it is very valuable for them to learn about the logical structure of statements and the precise definitions of the axioms and rules of inference of logic, which are most easily presented in formal symbolism, even though they will mostly use these skills in reading and reasoning in mathematical English. This is also true, as Dr. Cortens says, for philosophers, and even more true because philosophers do not confine themselves to discussions conducted in an already highly disciplined subset of natural language.
Otherwise, I do not take attendance and do not need to be contacted if you miss a class, except that of course you need to contact me if you expect to miss an exam, and you may wish to contact me if missing a class affects your ability to get homework in on time.
There will be computer labs which will count as homework assignments. We may have some class meetings in a computer lab if I can arrange this (this is a TBA issue).
I expect homework to be turned in on time. My basic policy is that homework turned in on time (or at least, before I get around to grading the assignment) will be graded and returned reasonably promptly. With regard to homework turned in late I do not promise to do more than give a minimal partial grade for the effort of handing it in and hand it back to you, although I may very well mark and return it, possibly with some deficit. I disavow any consistent policy about this: it is best to turn your work in on time.
Individual exams will be marked in such a way that the median grade is a C (about 75) unless I am severely dissatisfied with the level of class performance. I do not curve down: if the average or median raw score is above 75, it will stay there.
Your grade will be computed in the following way: each exam and the total homework grade have equal weight. The final exam counts as two exam grades and in addition may replace the lowest of the other grades if this helps you.
The above is a standard technique of mine: I remind you that it is subject to change at my discretion depending on how the course goes. The number of exams might change (downward only). I might decide to increase the weight of the homework.
After all adjustments, 90-100 is an A, 80-89 is a B, and so forth. Please note that I very seldom give +/- grades. I do not give grades of A+ or C- under any circumstances at all. I may give the other +/- grades occasionally, where extra considerations arise in borderline cases. No numerical mark by itself earns a +/- grade and I will give these only at my own entire discretion: you cannot bargain for one.
I will not be offended if you arrive late or leave early, as long as you are not disruptive about it. If you expect to have to leave early, seat yourself near an exit.
I will try always to be present during scheduled office hours. If I am not, there will be a notice on the door of where I am and when I can be expected to reappear. I am generally willing to talk to students if I am in my office and it is not my office hour, even if the door is closed. Do not be afraid to knock. I may talk to you only briefly if I am very busy. It is a policy of mine that I do not provide material help on the content of an exam in my office on the same day that the exam is given.