Introduction to Philosophy: Logic and Reasoning - PL310

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
(version 2)
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4 15 (7.5) DR DN Corfield




Available as a wild module only to students in the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences



Since Plato's Dialogues, it has been part of philosophical enquiry to consider philosophical questions using logic and common sense alone. This module aims to train students to continue in that tradition. In the first part students will be introduced to basic themes in introductory logic and critical thinking. In the second part students will be presented with a problem each week in the form of a short argument, question, or philosophical puzzle and will be asked to think about it without consulting the literature. The problem, and students' responses to it, will then form the basis of a structured discussion.
By the end of the module, students (a) will have acquired a basic logical vocabulary and techniques for the evaluation of arguments; (b) will have practised applying these techniques to selected philosophical topics; and (c) will have acquired the ability to look at new claims or problems and to apply their newly acquired argumentative and critical skills in order to generate philosophical discussions of them. It will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars in the first half of the term, and seminars only in the second half of the term.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

In the first half of the module (five weeks), students will be taught by one 1-hour lecture and one 1-hour seminar per week.
In the second half of the module (six weeks), students will be taught by one 2-hour seminar per week.

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative reading:

Copi & Cohen, Introduction to Logic and Elogic Exercises, Prentice Hall 2004
Fisher, A., The Logic of Real Arguments, CUP, 2004
Baggini, J. & Fosl, P.S., The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods, Blackwell, 2003
Hodges, W., Logic, 2nd ed., Penguin, 2001
Howson, C., Logic with Trees, Taylor & Francis Ltd, 1997

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of five basic logical connectives (their truth tables, their relation to their English counterparts), and an understanding of the concepts of validity, soundness and consistency
2. Demonstrate the ability to construct a truth-table and to determine the validity of simple arguments by the truth-table method
3. Demonstrate mastery of the terminology of 'necessary and sufficient conditions', 'contradiction', and ‘tautology’, and the ability to translate sentences from English into formal language and vice versa
4. Demonstrate the ability to apply skills in constructing and assessing arguments to selected philosophical topics
5. Demonstrate the ability to think through a philosophical problem on their own using common sense and logic

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