PP1EL-Elementary Logic

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Luke Elson

Email: luke.elson@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Arguments are the foundation of most philosophy. This module will teach you to explore in rigorous, mathematical terms why some arguments provide absolute support for their conclusions, and others do not. This module will thus provide essential formal ‘heavy machinery’ for reading and writing original philosophical papers in later parts of the degree course.


Required readings will be posted online.


The open-source, online textbook ‘forall x’:

Wilfrid Hodges, ‘Logic’, Penguin 2001

A first course in formal logic, in which students learn a mathematical proof system. Assuming no background knowledge, students will learn how to translate arguments between English and the formal system, and to assess arguments for their validity.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module you will understand:
• the notions of validity and soundness, including their precise definitions.
• The standard truth-functors, and their truth-tables.
• How to translate arguments between English and a formal language.
• How to use truth-tables and the formal system to evaluate the validity of propositional arguments.
• How to use the formal system to evaluate the validity of arguments in predicate logic.
• The statements (but not the proofs) of the soundness and completeness theorems for the formal system.

Additional outcomes:
You will also receive:
• preparation for carefully reading and evaluating philosophical (and other) arguments, including in later modules.

Outline content:
Schedule of topics to be covered:
1) Consistency and validity
2) Truth-tables and truth-functors
3) Propositional calculus
4) Quantifiers
5) Predicate calculus
6) Soundness and completeness

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching will be by means of weekly classes with some lecturing, and a focus on working through examples. Students will be expected to pre-read textbook material, and much class time will be spent collectively working through problem sets.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 90
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
There will be two sets of exercises each week: one which will be summatively assessed, and one which will be formatively assessed and worked-through in class, including some more difficult questions.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission will be in accordance with University policy.
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 18 April 2017

    Things to do now