A Concise Introduction to Logic
Craig DeLancey, SUNY Oswego
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-9423414-2-0
Publisher: Open SUNY
Conditions of Use
The text begins with basic definitions and mapping tools for representing propositional logic and for creating truth tables. It then moves through read more
The text begins with basic definitions and mapping tools for representing propositional logic and for creating truth tables. It then moves through first order logic, quantification, and proofs. It ends with a look forward to more advanced applications. There is neither index nor glossary, but terms are easy to find using the table of contents. Moreover, the chapters are brief, and terms are relatively easy to identify within them.
DeLancey's work is careful and meticulous. Exercises and examples reflect a diversity of situations, viewpoints, and authors. I observed no glaring errors or bias.
The foundational principles of propositional logic aren't particularly new, but as the final section of this volume suggests, there a several advanced and creative ways to apply them. Some early sections point out what current thinking on certain topics is. While these points are unlikely to change, the text is written in such a way that it would be easy to modify later. Also, Part III: A Look Forward is written in a such a way that it could be edited easily to reflect further modifications, changes, or developments.
This book is what it says it is: a concise introduction. DeLancey's writing is brief and methodical. Paragraphs are small and somewhat minimalist. This, however, is not a criticism. Explanations are short and effective. Terms build upon terms and concepts upon concepts. There are not examples for every single instance, but there are always examples to show how the concepts discussed in the chapter work together. Chapters are well-organized and short. Exercises are interesting and challenging (for that matter, the content matter is, too), and they reflect what is discussed in the chapters. I regularly review online course design and textbooks, and while I always find these reviews stimulating, this is the first time in a long time where I really wanted to take a course in this topic and ask questions about the content and application.
The formatting style, complete with chapter and section numbers, is consistent throughout. There is not much color—nor does there need to be—but for what there is, it is also consistent. DeLancey warns the reader of terminology that has different names but refers to the same concept. He even states that he may use certain terms interchangeably; however, these terms were not difficult to follow, and the interchangeable use was minimal.
Most chapters are about ten pages. They include explanations, examples, and problems (exercises). These chapters could be easily assigned to students. It is conceivable that one might assume sections in order to introduce students to certain concepts, but the text is written in such a way that concepts build on one another. In addition, a method for representing logic, which includes signs and symbols, is introduced. With that in mind, unless students had prior experience with the material, it would not be advisable to reorganize the chapters. In my mind, the chapters and sections are very much dependent on their ordering.
The Reviewer's Notes provide an accurate overview of the text's organization. This is also reflected in the Table of Contents. From start to finish, the text introduces concepts and builds on them to move from basic to more advanced applications.
The text is in a Pressbooks style. The PDF was easy to navigate. There appear to be two primary typefaces, a serif and sans serif font. Both were easy to read. Charts, tables, and images have rendered well. I observed no distracting pixelation, blurring, or alignment errors with these visuals.
DeLancey's style is easy to read. I observed no significant errors in grammar or punctuation.
DeLancey has been careful to include examples from various persons, both male and female, from a variety of cultures, races, and backgrounds. He also varies his use of pronouns, sometimes using he or she, sometimes he, sometimes she.
The conciseness of the chapters, sections, paragraphs, and sentences is to be commended. The organization and structure is also easy to follow. I came to this book on the Open Textbook Library looking for a text for my introductory composition and rhetoric students. While I found some things that would be applicable to them, I found that the text was more in line with a philosophy or more traditional course in rhetoric than what I would typically present to first-year composition students. That said, I found the style and content of the book fascinating. I enjoyed doing the exercises, and I can visualize how students could use this text to confidently develop fundamental skills in using logic and representing it in truth tables and proofs.
Table of Contents
Part I: Propositional Logic
- 1. Developing a Precise Language
- 2. “If…then….” and “It is not the case that….”
- 3. Good Arguments
- 4. Proofs
- 5. “And”
- 6. Conditional Derivations
- 7. “Or”
- 8. Reductio ad Absurdum
- 9. “… if and only if …”, Using Theorems
- 10. Summary of Propositional Logic
Part II: First Order Logic
- 11. Names and predicates
- 12. “All” and “some”
- 13. Reasoning with quantifiers
- 14. Universal derivation
- 15. Relations, functions, identity, and multiple quantifiers
- 16. Summary of first order logic
Part III: A Look Forward
- 17. Some advanced topics in logic
About the Book
A Concise Introduction to Logic is an introduction to formal logic suitable for undergraduates taking a general education course in logic or critical thinking, and is accessible and useful to any interested in gaining a basic understanding of logic. This text takes the unique approach of teaching logic through intellectual history; the author uses examples from important and celebrated arguments in philosophy to illustrate logical principles. The text also includes a basic introduction to findings of advanced logic. As indicators of where the student could go next with logic, the book closes with an overview of advanced topics, such as the axiomatic method, set theory, Peano arithmetic, and modal logic. Throughout, the text uses brief, concise chapters that readers will find easy to read and to review.
About the Contributors
Craig DeLancey is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at SUNY Oswego. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His publications include Passionate Engines: What Emotions Reveal about the Mind and Artificial Intelligence, with Oxford University Press. He has been a fellow of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, a fellow of the National Endowment of the Humanities, and has received research funding from the Army Institute of Basic Research. When not teaching philosophy or doing research, he writes science fiction.