OverviewSince 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 formal 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 short passages of philosophical argument; 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.
This module appears in:
- Humanities Undergraduate Stage 1
- Maths Foundation
- Short-Term Study
- Social Sciences Undergraduate Stage 1
Total Contact Hours: 20
Method of assessment
Examination (3 hours) – 100%
Copi, I., Cohen, C., and McMahon, K., 2014. Introduction to Logic. 14th edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Fisher, A., 2004. The Logic of Real Arguments. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Baggini, J. and Fosl, P., 2003. The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods.Oxford: Blackwell.
Hodges, W., 2001. Logic. 2nd ed. London: Penguin.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 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;
8.2 Demonstrate the ability to construct a truth-table and to determine the validity of simple arguments by the truth-table method, and to construct simple logical proofs for the same end;
8.3 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;
8.4 Demonstrate the ability to recognise informal fallacies;
8.5 Demonstrate the ability to apply all of the skills they have acquired to analyse longer arguments.