PHIL 2520 Philosophy of Logic 2015

Instructor: Dr. Michael Johnson
Office: 10.02
Office Hours: Thursday 3:00-4:00

Meeting Times: Tuesday 4:30-6:20
Location: CPD 2.42

Course Description

Philosophy of logic, like other “philosophy of X” disciplines, is not a unified field. It consists of all the philosophically-flavored questions that arise when one thinks about logic: What is logical truth? How do we know the truths of logic? Which logic is correct? How do we even answer questions like “Which logic is correct?”? In this course we’ll take particularly close looks at set theory and model theory and the philosophical issues that they engender.

NB. From the syllabus: “Students are expected to know some elementary formal logic before studying this course. To prepare for the course, they can either take PHIL2006, or study the online material on logic produced by the department.”

I will be assuming students know the following material:
Tutorials [L01]-[L04] from the Basic Logic Module
Tutorials [SL01]-[SL18] from the Sentential Logic Module
Tutorials [PL01]-[PL09] from the Predicate Logic Module

Link to assignment covering this material here
Due on 24 November!


Take home/ in-class problem sets 10%
Philosophy paper: suggested topics here 45%
In-class cumulative assessment 45%

Schedule and Readings

1 September

8 September
Introduction to Set Theory
Powerpoint slides here
Read: Philosophical Devices, Chapters 1 & 2

15 September
Powerpoint slides here
Read: Paul Benacerraf, “What Numbers Could Not Be”

22 September
Powerpoint slides here
Read: W.V.O. Quine & Nelson Goodman, “Steps toward a Constructive Nominalism”

29 September
Which Logic is Right?
Powerpoint slides here
Read: Arthur Prior, “The Runabout Inference Ticket”
Read: Hilary Putnam, “Is Logic Empirical?”

6 October
How to Write a Philosophy Paper


20 October
Introduction to Metalogic
Powerpoint slides here
Read: Philosophical Devices, Chapter 10

27 October
Soundness and Completeness
Powerpoint slides here
Read: Philosophical Devices, Chapter 11

3 November
Goedel’s Incompleteness Proofs
Read: Philosophical Devices, Chapter 12

10 November
Theories of Truth
Slides here
Read: Susan Haack, Philosophy of Logics, Chapter 7

17 November
The Semantic Paradoxes
Read: Bradley Dowden, “The Liar Paradox”, Sections 1 & 2

24 November
Last day of class
In-class exam

8 December
Paper due date
Paper should be 5-6 double-spaced pages, with a normal font.
Can be a little longer or shorter, not a big deal.

email the paper to