this is phil 5577...


  • Instructor: Max Weiss
  • Email:
  • Office hours: Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30 or by appointment


This is an introduction to the study of logic. Some logical practices you perform as a matter of course in your daily life: framing hypotheses, drawing conclusions, reframing a hypothesis in equivalent terms, specifying something by appeal to its relationships with others. In studying logic, we'll pursue the systematization of these practices. On the one hand, this will refine your practical skills. On the other hand, the practices will become the subject-matter of theoretical inquiry, perhaps revealing something of the nature of reason itself.


The course website is at

Course materials, including homework assignments and solutions, will be posted here. To access these you'll need to sign up at the site. While signing up, you'll be prompted to enter an affiliation code. The code you should enter is [redacted for public circulation].


The following text will be available at the campus bookstore:

  • Halbach, Volker: A Logic Manual (OUP 2010). Available in the campus bookstore.


For the sake of evaluation, coursework will be weighted by units as follows.

  • Homework (two units)
  • Four quizzes (two units)
  • Final exam (two units)
  • Attendance and participation (one unit)

Your final grade will be the average of your highest six marks on these seven units.


Studying logic is like learning a musical instrument: you learn by doing. Although we'll work through material together in class, the homework is intended to be a primary means by which you make progress in this course. Note, also, that the material is deeply cumulative: so keep with it!

As an academic discipline, logic is highly collaborative. You can all benefit by talking through problems together, until each of you reaches a satisfactory understanding. Of course, submitted work should reflect the understanding reached by you, since if it reflects another student's understanding instead, then the instructor's feedback will be misdirected.

Homework solutions will be posted shortly after the due date, and late assigments will not be accepted.

Quizzes and exam

Quiz and exam questions will in general resemble questions from preceding homework assignments. Each quiz should take around half a class meeting to write.

To ensure that students have an equal chance to prepare, the instructor will answer questions of the form "what will be on the quiz/exam" only in class.

Attendance and participation

A signin sheet will be passed around at each class meeting. If you miss at most two classes, then your mark on this component is guaranteed to be at least a B.

Beyond attendance: it's especially nice if you ask questions, correct my inevitable mistakes, suggest alternative explanations, strategies or interpretations, etc.---both in and out of class. I enjoy conversing and corresponding with people about logic. And if something is obscure to you, it's valuable for me to know that.


We'll follow this plan:

  • formal and philosophical prelimaries (week 1)
  • propositional logic (weeks 2-6)
    • syntax (week 2)
    • semantics; quiz 1 (weeks 2-3)
    • natural deduction (weeks 4-5)
    • translations; quiz 2 (weeks 5-6)
  • predicate logic (weeks 7-14)
    • syntax (week 7)
    • semantics; quiz 3 (weeks 7-8)
    • natural deduction (weeks 9-10)
    • translations (weeks 10-11)
    • review; quiz 4 (week 12)
    • identity and definite descriptions (week 13)
    • horizons (week 14)