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PI209B: Logic, Language and Science

  • Contact Hours: 11 hours of lectures and 4 hours of tutorials in Michaelmas term
  • Lecturers: Ms Zuzanna Gnatek
  • ECTS: 5
  • Semester 1

Module Outline for semester 1

This course is an introduction to logic aimed at philosophy students. We will make use of formal methods to make the notion of ‘validity’ precise in two systems of logic: propositional logic and predicate logic. We will first learn how to identify the logical form of arguments and then learn how to check their validity. In the case of propositional logic we will make use of truth tables and a tree method. In the case of predicate logic we will make use of some basic model theory and an expanded tree method.
Time permitting we will also look at some basic concepts in meta-logic – properties about the logical systems themselves. Furthermore, we may briefly introduce some other systems, such as set theory or modal logic.
In the final part of the course we turn our attention to some issues in philosophical logic, where we employ formal methods to serve philosophical ends. We will look at how logic can aid us in coming to grip with philosophical puzzles, such as, e.g., vagueness, indeterminacy or identity and existence.
At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Translate sentences and arguments from English into the languages of propositional and predicate logic.
  • Assign truth conditions to formulas, using truth tables as a semantics for propositional logic and model theory as a semantics for predicate logic.
  • Check the validity of argument forms in propositional and predicate logic using a tree method.
  • Use formal methods in the service of some philosophical ends.