Introduction to Logic


Recommended Prerequisite: Should be able to read and write at the College level. Since the ability to comprehend what you read is a prerequisite skill in logical reasoning, students are advised to take the necessary English courses either prior to or concurrently with Phil. 110.

Texts: Essential Logic: Basic Reasoning Skills For the Twenty-First Century, by Ronald C. Pine. Introduction to Logic by Irving Copi,10th edition

Course Purpose:

The course is based on the assumption that the less we think critically the more someone else will think for us---usually with the intention of manipulating us. From this point of view, logic can be viewed as a defensive tool enabling each of us to defend ourselves against the onslaught of persuasive appeals that bombard our minds daily. As such it is an important element in the development of individual potential---enabling us to be freer and more decisive individuals. Specifically, the course aims at developing basic analytic skills and an understanding of the principles and concepts involved in clear thinking. Emphasized will be the difference between empirical truth and logical validity, deductive and inductive reasoning, common logical fallacies, symbolic logic, and criteria of evidence.

Course Content:

A. Introductory lectures covering basic terminology. (2 1/2 weeks;

Chapters 1-3)

1. Reading carefully---recognizing arguments and persuasive appeals.

2. Argument analysis---premises and conclusions.

3. Deductive and Inductive reasoning.

4. Valid, Invalid, and Sound arguments.

B. Common logical (informal) fallacies. Students will be expected to read the daily newspaper and other periodicals and be cognizant of local, national, and international issues. (2 1/2 weeks, Chapters 4-5)

Fallacies to be learned.

1. Appeals to Authority 11. Ad Hominem Abusive

2. Appeals to Popularity 12. Ad Hominem Circumstantial

3. Appeals to Loyalty 13. Questionable Dilemma

4. Provincialism 14. Straw Man

5. Traditional Wisdom 15. Suppressed Evidence

6. Two Wrongs Make a Right 16. Ambiguity-Equivocation

7. Hasty Conclusion 17. Begging the Question

8. Questionable Cause 18. Irrelevant Reason

9. Questionable Analogy 19. Complex Question

10. Slippery Slope 20. Appeal to Ignorance

C. Basic skills of symbolic logic. Although the material will be presented by lecture and class handouts, a significant proportion of the work will consist of student learning groups. Students will often be asked to form groups and compare answers to homework problems. (10 weeks, Chapters 7-10)


1. Symbolic Translation.

2. Truth Tables.

3. Formal Proofs of Validity (Copi's Nineteen Rules of Inference.)

4. Brief Truth Tables.


Since this course involves a step by step introduction of material,class attendance is very important. There will be approximately eight quizzes (20pts. each = 160pts.), one exam on informal fallacies (100pts.), and a final exam covering symbolic logic (150pts.). There will be no make-ups of individual quizzes, but there will be an extra-credit-day (50pts.) prior to the final. Points gained on the extra-credit-day can be used to make up the points of missed quizzes, provided that a student has a good reason for missing a quiz. Also, with the exception of the "A" grade, extra credit points can be used to boost a student's final grade one letter grade. Regular class attendance and participation in collaboration activities are important in borderline cases.