Fundamental Methods of Logic
Matthew Knachel, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN 13: 978-0-9961502-2-4
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This text is very well suited to the sort of Introduction to Logic course taught at most state universities. It begins with basic concepts in Logic read more
This text is very well suited to the sort of Introduction to Logic course taught at most state universities. It begins with basic concepts in Logic and then follows up with sections on inductive arguments, categorical logic, truth functionality and truth tables in the propositional logic, and then finishes with material on causality and probability. If there is a defect it is that some professors or instructors might well prefer a section on natural deduction rather than one on causality and probability - this is particularly true if the class is a feeder class for an upper level course in symbolic logic. Still it is a fairly simple matter for a professor or instructor to provide that material him or herself. Each section is supplemented with a nice selection of exercises.
The content of the book is accurate and without any errors in the presentation of material
The content is up -to-date. The fundamentals of logic change little and so the usefulness of the book promises to be quite long. Some of the exercises and examples may age less well than does the substance of the book as they reference current political figures and events. This, of course, makes the exercises relevant and interesting to current students but, without updated exercises in the future, the text may come off as a bit dated.
The text is clear and accessible and well pitched to its audience which would primarily be college students in their first or second year of study. Logic is a definition driven discipline but care is taken at every step to ensure students understand each definition and understand it's significance in the body of the course.
The book is consistent. Definitions are appropriate and consistently used and applied. The book itself is nicely structured with each topic well developed and presented in an orderly fashion.
The text lends itself well to the classroom. Sections are easily divisible into manageable reading blocks and classroom sessions. I see no foreseeable difficult in using the text easily and effectively in a semester long introductory logic course. There is also some flexibility as there is probably a section more than one might get through in a semester and so one could for example do the material on causality without doing the material on probability or vice versa allowing the individual professor or instructor some discretion in terms of his or her class.
The text is organized as most introductory logic books are. It is certainly organized as I would have chosen to organize it. Each section is appropriate in terms of its placement and the books flows well from one section to the next.
I have only looked at the electronic version of the text on a computer and so I can't really speak to interface issues on a tablet or, what I think is increasingly common, a cell phone. On a computer the text is free of any significant display issues. Charts and venn diagrams and truth tables all maintain their original formatting and display properly and are large enough to be easily read and followed.
The author's writing and grammar are without noticeable errors. The text is well written and written in a grammatically correct and accessible manner.
I saw no evidence of the text being culturally insensitive or offensive. I would not hesitate to use it in a class and, in fact, have plans to do so starting next semester. Examples are and exercises are all appropriate to the course and the college setting.
I think this text does a great service. Introduction to Logic is class that, along with Introduction to Ethics, serves as a sort of bread and butter course for many philosophy departments. That is, it is a course that sees high enrollments and many students every semester. It is also a course where the price of traditional textbooks has skyrocketed with the purchase costs of some now approaching $200. I think it is fair to say that no single text in philosophy could save more students more money than this one does. Teaching at a regional campus of a state university with many place bound and economically strapped students, I am grateful to the author for having invested his time and effort to produce such a needed text.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - The Basics of Logical Analysis
- I. What is Logic?
- II. Basic Notions: Propositions and Arguments
- III. Recognizing and Explicating Arguments
- IV. Deductive and Inductive Arguments
- V. Diagramming Arguments
Chapter 2 - Informal Logical Fallacies
- I. Logical Fallacies: Formal and Informal
- II. Fallacies of Distraction
- III. Fallacies of Weak Induction
- IV. Fallacies of Illicit Presumption
- V. Fallacies of Linguistic Emphasis
Chapter 3 – Deductive Logic I: Aristotelian Logic
- I. Deductive Logics
- II. Classes and Categorical Propositions
- III. The Square of Opposition
- IV. Operations on Categorical Sentences
- V. Problems with the Square of Opposition
- VI. Categorical Syllogisms
Chapter 4 – Deductive Logic II: Sentential Logic
- I. Why Another Deductive Logic?
- II. Syntax of SL
- III. Semantics of SL
- IV. Translating from English into SL
- V. Testing for Validity in SL
Chapter 5 – Inductive Logic I: Analogical and Causal Arguments
- I. Inductive Logics
- II. Arguments from Analogy
- III. Causal Reasoning
Chapter 6 – Inductive Logic II: Probability and Statistics
- I. The Probability Calculus
- II. Probability and Decision-Making: Value and Utility
- III. Probability and Belief: Bayesian Reasoning
- IV. Basic Statistical Concepts and Techniques
- V. How to Lie with Statistics
About the Book
Fundamental Methods of Logic is suitable for a one-semester introduction to logic/critical reasoning course. It covers a variety of topics at an introductory level. Chapter One introduces basic notions, such as arguments and explanations, validity and soundness, deductive and inductive reasoning; it also covers basic analytical techniques, such as distinguishing premises from conclusions and diagramming arguments. Chapter Two discusses informal logical fallacies. Chapters Three and Four concern deductive logic, introducing the basics of Aristotelian and Sentential Logic, respectively. Chapter Five deals with analogical and causal reasoning, including a discussion of Mill's Methods. Chapter Six covers basic probability calculations, Bayesian inference, fundamental statistical concepts and techniques, and common statistical fallacies.
About the Contributors
Matthew Knachel is Professor in the Philosophy department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI.