Philosophy 240: Introduction to Logic

Sections 501-509, Fall 2008: MW 11:30-12:20 (Zachry 102) and Th/F by section in Bolton 019

Instructor: Robin Smith <>
Office/Telephone: Bolton 214A/979-845-5679
Office hours: TW 9-10:30 a.m. and by appointment

Quick links

Class Sections and Teaching Assistants

Section Time Teaching Assistant Office and Phone Office Hours
501 8:00-8:50 Friday Cole Williams Bolton 305F, 862-6977 W 1:00-2:30, Thu 11:30-1:00
502 9:10-10:00 Friday Cole Williams Bolton 305F, 862-6977 W 1:00-2:30, Thu 11:30-1:00
503 11:30-12:20 Friday Cole Williams Bolton 305F, 862-6977 W 1:00-2:30, Thu 11:30-1:00
504 12:40-1:30 Friday John Tyler Bolton 308, 862-6974 Tu 1:00-2:30, Th 1:00-2:30
505 1:50-2:40 Friday John Tyler Bolton 308, 862-6974 Tu 1:00-2:30, Th 1:00-2:30
506 10:20-11:10 Friday John Tyler Bolton 308, 862-6974 Tu 1:00-2:30, Th 1:00-2:30
507 8:00-8:50 Thursday Mark Dondero Bolton 305D, 862-6975 W 10:00-11:30, Th 2:00-3:30
508 9:35-10:25 Thursday Mark Dondero Bolton 305D, 862-6975 W 10:00-11:30, Th 2:00-3:30
509 11:10-12:00 Thursday Mark Dondero Bolton 305D, 862-6975 W 10:00-11:30, Th 2:00-3:30

Course Text (required)

Colin Allen & Michael Hand, The Logic Primer, 2nd edition (MIT Press, 2001)

Other Resources

What This Course Is About

This class introduces students to formal techniques for evaluating arguments. These are the principles that underlie all sound reasoning as well as the design of all contemporary computer systems.

We cover a natural deduction system of sentential logic, truth-tables, a natural deduction system of first-order predicate logic, and the basic ideas of model theory. Exams are designed to test skill with the formal systems, particularly translation from English to formulas, proof techniques, and methods for showing invalidity. The skills that you will learn with these specific methods are not ends in themselves, but tools to help you understand what it really means to reason logically.

Course Objectives

After taking this course, you should:

In addition to these specific objectives, this course should help you understand and analyze complex arguments and reasoning. That ability is useful preparation for many careers and for standardized tests such as the GRE, the LSAT, and the GMAT.

There are no prerequisites for the course. It satisfies a core-curriculum quantitative reasoning requirement for many students.

Basis for Grades

ExamDatePortion of grade
Exam 1 (sentential logic)Oct. 630%
Exam 2 (predicate logic)Nov. 2430%
Weekly quizzesAnnounced in lab sessions20%
Comprehensive FinalDec. 10, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM30%

Weekly quizzes will be announced in discussion sections. There may be a quiz in any given week (in other words, these are surprise quizzes for which you should always be prepared).

Grading scale: A = 90% or better, B = 80% or better, C = 70% or better, D = 60% or better, F = less than 60%. The maximum total of all exams and quizzes is 110%; what this means is that you can earn up to 10% extra credit.

Grades online are available at this site. You will need to register a password first.


Class attendance is not part of the grading basis for this course. That means both that you do not lose points for not attending class and that you do not get points just for attending class. If you can learn the material without coming to class, more power to you. However, you should be aware that:

Makeup exams and quizzes will be provided for students who have missed them because of University-approved absences only. See Student Rules, Section 7 for the University's policy on attendance and for the definition of "University-approved absence".

How to Do Well in This Course

Learning logic is like learning a foreign language or learning mathematics: it involves learning how to do something, not just learning facts, and what you learn is cumulative. Here are three keys to success in this course:

  1. Keep up. Do the readings and exercises as they are assigned in the schedule. The material in this course is not friendly to last-minute cramming. Don't let yourself get behind.
  2. Practice. Lots. To succeed in this course, you have to learn how to do things, not merely learn some facts. That takes practice, repetition, doing the same thing over and over, repetition, practice, doing lots of exercises, practice, and doing things over and over. You have to practice. Repetition is essential. It gets easier if you do it many times. Do lots of exercises. One valuable source of help here is our online support for this course, which never sleeps, is always ready to help you practice, and will give you instant feedback on how you're doing.
  3. If you need help, ask for it. Immediately. There are several sources of help built into this course. Your discussion sections are intended to be times when you can ask questions about what you don't understand. Your section leader has office hours available for you. We have online help. However, these are only going to be useful to you if you ask.

Guide to rules of inference

One-page printable version (PDF) of the primitive rules for sentential logic. (There's a second page containing the proof strategies in summary form, if you'd like something to print on the back.)

Lecture and Exam Schedule

If circumstances require postponing the date of any exam, this will be announced both in class and on this web site at least 7 days in advance. After each exam, a link will be activated in the schedule below to a key for that exam. Other information will also be added from time to time. Please check this syllabus at least once a week for these and other changes.

Mondays Wednesdays
Week 1 8/25 Syllabus/§1.1 8/27 §1.1/§1.2 (and here's a guide for §1.2)
Week 2 9/1 §1.2/ §1.3; About parentheses 9/3 §1.3, (Notes)
Week 3 9/8 §1.4, (Notes) 9/10 §1.4, (Notes)
Week 4 9/15 §1.5 9/17 §1.6
Week 5 9/22 §2.1 9/24 §2.1, §2.2
Week 6 9/29 §2.3 10/1 §2.4
Week 7 10/6 Exam 1 (Some past exams) 10/8 §3.1
Week 8 10/13 §3.2 10/15 §3.2
Week 9 10/20 §3.2 10/22 §3.3
Week 10 10/27 §3.3 10/29 §3.3
Week 11 11/3 §3.4 11/5 §4.1
Week 12 11/10 §4.1 11/12 §4.2
Week 13 11/17 §4.2 11/19 §4.2
Week 14 11/24 Exam 2 (Some past exams) 11/26 Review
Week 15 12/1
Redefined day: Friday sections
Redefined day:Thursday sections
12/5 Reading day:
No classes
FINAL 12/10 FINAL EXAM 10:30-12:30 (Old Exams and exam keys)

Academic Integrity Statement

The Aggie Honor Code:

"An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do."

Effective September 1, 2004, Texas A&M University has an Honor Code that defines campus policy on academic integrity and academic misconduct. The Aggie Honor System is charged with the enforcement of this Code. Students should be aware that the Aggie Honor System has the power to impose punishments for academic misconduct. For information on the Aggie Honor System, see; information of particular concern to students, including definitions of types of academic misconduct, may be found at

It will be my policy in this course to include the following statement on all examinations and request students to sign it:

 "On my honor, as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work."


Signature of student 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Office of Support Services for Students with Disabilities in Cain Hall, Room B118. The phone number is 845-1637.

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