PHIL 2040-01




Dr. Bob Zunjic

Office Hours:
By Appointment

Phone: (401) 874-5499

Course Description:

This course is primarily intended to serve as an introduction to classical informal logic. Since its inception in the fourth century B.C. logic has been regarded as a branch of philosophy studying the principles of correct reasoning as they are manifested in various uses of natural language. Admittedly, under the influence of mathematical procedures the leading conception of logic has dramatically changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The advances in formalization and computability made a significant impact on the character of logical study as well, so much so that many philosophers now view logic rather as an independent discipline, very close or even identical with mathematics. As a result, after Frege and Russell logic started to be equated with formal or symbolic logic. The only open question about its nature seemed to have become whether it is a branch of mathematics or rather its foundation. In both cases, however, it was assumed the study of logic should devise solid formal rules of deduction that guarantee absolute exactness, necessity and certainty.
Regardless how strong evidence could be adduced in support of this view, the fact remains that mathematical procedures do not exhaust the whole realm of practical communication and philosophical argumentation. Formal analysis necessarily disregards the ambiguity of human condition, the uncertainty of human cognition and the complexity of human communication as exemplified in real situations. Despite undeniable achievements of axiomatic approach there are still many open philosophical issues in the analysis of both formal systems and ordinary language which could be successfully dealt with only by means of concepts and arguments that are not strictly formal. Even in the realm of scientific methodology we encounter so many deductive and non-deductive patterns of reasoning that are critical for research and yet could be properly articulated within the framework of classical logic.
These are some of the reasons why this course focuses on classical rather than symbolic logic. The main advantage of the chosen scope lies in the fact that classical logic is more intuitive and thus more apt to be applied to everyday practice and our day-to-day experience than the highly technical formal logic. And certainly it is more suitable for non-technical exposition in general education courses. Of course, despite introductory nature of this course it must include a basic study of the formal structures defining correct argumentative reasoning. Accordingly, our course will have to become somewhat formal once we move to the analysis of syllogistic reasoning and other deductive procedures. But overall, we'll confine ourselves to the analysis of propositions and classes as outlined in classical logic books.

The course covers the following areas of classical logic:

  1. Concepts, Definitions, Propositions.
  2. Uses of Language.
  3. Recognizing and Analyzing Arguments.
  4. The Validity of Arguments and Fallacies.
  5. Deductive Logic.
  6. Categorical Propositions and Categorical Syllogisms.
  7. Rudimentary Propositional Calculus and Truth-functional Arguments.
  8. Inductive Logic

Course Text:

Irving Copi, Carl Cohen, Introduction to Logic, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 2004, 12th edition.

The course is based on this textbook and its incorporated materials (they include an eLogic CD-ROM with over 800 exercises and Logic Notes students work book). Our weekly schedule, with some necessary adjustments, pretty much follows the book's division into sections. We cannot cover all the included topics nor do we intend to. The textbook should be utilized as a wider resource for additional assignments, expansion of the class work and insight into various applications that go beyond the scope of an introduction. The new edition has a companion web-site at that features an online tutorial along with interactive exercises.


This course combines lectures, interpretive exercises in the assigned texts, practical exercises, classroom discussions, quick tests and mind-teasers. No matter what the form of a particular class may be, we shall be doing basically one and the same thing: careful analysis of arguments and their validity.


To get acquainted with the most fundamental logical concepts and ideas, to recognize both the need and the complexity of logical reasoning, to learn how to deal argumentatively with real dilemmas and ambiguities of human language, to foster unimpeded communication, and finally, to provide intellectual tools for more rigorous self-reflection and critical assessment of other people's arguments.


(a) Students are expected to do all weekly assigned exercises on time and as thorough as they can. We shall read and do many exercises in class, but always as a continuation of your individual studying, not as a substitute! Therefore, prepare for classes and always bring your book!

(b) We shall often practice in class by working online exercises. Class quizzes will include many those examples and solutions. Therefore you should be regularly in attendance. You may also wish to visit the above mentioned web-site for practice and self-assessment quizzes.

(c) Students who want to do an extra-credit can choose between additional exercises and those dealing with more general issues in good reasoning (suggested by the course text "for discussion" or "enrichment"). These extra assignments shall demonstrate your ability to analyze selected arguments and to evaluate their upshot beyond standard examples.


In addition to frequent weekly or bi-weekly in-class quizzes there will be two exams including one final. They will consist of multiple choice and short essay questions.


First Exam: 30%
Second Exam: 30%
Home Assignments: 10%
Class Tests: 10%
Class Participation: 20%

Regular attendance, doing readings on time and taking part in class discussions are included in the participation grade. Permission to be excused from a scheduled exam will be granted only for serious medical or personal reasons and must be properly documented.

Disabilities: Any student with a documented disability is welcome to contact me early in the semester so that we may work out reasonable accommodations to support your success in this course. One should also contact Disability Services for Students.

Russell wants to destroy math for the glory of logic!

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