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PHILOS 2B03 IntroductoryLogic

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Richard Arthur

Email: rarthur@mcmaster.ca

Office: University Hall 305

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23470


Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

Course Description

The aim of this course is to enhance your skills in reasoning logically and analysing argument. To this end we will study the principles of natural deduction, both propositional and predicate logic, as well as learning techniques for analysing and evaluating natural arguments. Although symbolic logic is mathematical in its appearance and aesthetic appeal, and indeed forms part of the foundation of modern mathematics and computer science, it is more like an artificial language to learn, and no special aptitude for math is necessary for this course.

The main thrust of the course will be to enhance your awareness of the natural arguments you encounter every day in books, convers­ations, and the media, and to provide you with the means for evaluating many of them. This will involve learning to recognize the logical forms of arguments and how to express them symbolically, and then applying the various techniques and proofs of propositional and predicate logic to determine their validity. It will also involve learning certain less formal methods for analysing natural arguments, including the kind of sustained theoretical arguments you meet in your academic studies. These methods will complement the methods of symbolic logic, motivating their construction and use.

Course Objectives

  • To enhance your skills in reasoning logically and analysing the kinds of arguments you will come across elsewhere in your studies and in the course of your lives;
  • To give you a familiarity with rigour and a grounding in the art of formal reasoning;
  • To equip you with elementary logical principles and methods you will need to pursue further study, whether in the upper level philosophy courses that presuppose a knowledge of them, or in mathematics, or in computer science.

Although logic has been studied as a sub-discipline of philosophy for over 2,400 years, its most recent rigorous formulation in the early 20th century made it an integral part of the foundations of mathematics, and led to the creation of computer science. In its modern form it is therefore an interdisciplinary field par excellence, as witnessed by the very wide variety of majors who enrol in the course. It is also a crucial course for philosophy majors, since many upper level courses (3D03, 3E03, 3O03, 4D03, 4H03 as well as, of course, Intermediate Logic 4XX3) presuppose familiarity with it. Graduates of this course typically speak of the inestimable value of the critical skills they learn in this course for their success in their subsequent studies in the undergraduate curriculum, and of its being an ideal preparation for qualifying exams like LSAT.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text

Introduction to Logic: Using Natural Deduction, Real Arguments, a Little History, and Some Humour, Richard T. W. Arthur, Broadview Press, (2nd edition; previously called Natural Deduction), 2017.

Course Website

I will be using Avenue to Learn (http://avenue.mcmaster.ca/) and a dedicated website (http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~rarthur/logic/) to post regular announcements and information about the course, additional resources, and information and advice about assessment. You are expected to check in every couple of days. There is also a very important website associated with the textbook and managed by Broadview Press providing many extra resources, to which you gain access on buying the book.

Method of Assessment:

Course Requirements

Quizzes. You will be assigned exercises each week, and will be tested on this material in quizzes, given almost every week (45%)

In-class Midterm. This will test you on the material from statement logic (10%)

Advanced Material. You must complete 5 of the challenge problems set, submitting them to your tutor in person in your tutorial. 5 acceptable attempts earns you full credit. (5%)

Final Exam in the exam period: (40%)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Details of assigned readings, exercises, quizzes etc. will be made available on the course website, also accessible through Avenue to Learn.


Other Course Information: