Syllabus Philosophy 60 Spring 2015

Deductive Logic I


Catalog Description

    An introduction to deductive logic. Topics include: basic concepts of deductive logic; techniques of formal proof in propositional and predicate logic. 3 units.

General Education

    This course satisfies GE area B-5. The definition and general learning objectives of area B-5 may be reviewed here. The specific learning objectives of Area B-5 covered in this class are: 

A. Cite critical observations, underlying assumptions and limitations to explain and apply important ideas and models in one or more of the following: physical science, life science, mathematics, or computer science. 
B. Recognize evidence-based conclusions and form reasoned opinions about science-related matters of personal, public and ethical concern.

Informal Description

    In this course you will learn what it really means to prove something.  A real proof is a thing of beauty, but it takes quite a bit of work to appreciate this.  If this course is successful, then at least once before the  end of the semester, the        beauty of a deductive proof will smack you hard right between the eyes.  You will shed tears of joy, and you will be forever changed. (Unfortunately, this form of success is difficult to test, and does not guarantee  a passing grade.)

    Real proofs do not occur anywhere except in logic, mathematics, and geometry.  For example, there is no such thing as a scientific proof, in our sense of the term. There are such things as mathematical and geometrical proofs, but that is     only because mathematics and geometry can be treated as extensions of logic.  There is actually quite a bit more to logic than proof, however.  Symbolic logic is the most precise form of notation ever developed, and has been absolutely        fundamental to contemporary developments in in mathematics, linguistics, computer science and, yes, philosophy.  Simply becoming comfortable with logical notation is an enormous benefit to anyone who would like to do advanced work     in these fields.  More generally, the course will also develop your ability to think carefully and precisely in an abstract way, which will be useful to you in all future studies.

Learning Objectives

    By the end of the course you will  be able to:

        (1) explain key concepts such as logical necessity, consistency, contradiction, tautology, validity, and soundness.
        (2) Employ the logical connectives in formalizing arguments and write out the truth-tables for all of them.
        (3) Use truth-tables to test for consistency and validity
        (4) Formalize statements in natural language using the propositional calculus
        (5) Perform  proofs using the rules of the propositional calculus
        (6) Formalize statements in natural language using the predicate calculus
        (7) Perform proofs using the rules of the predicate calculus

Course Structure

 Class Meetings

    All of the lecturing for this course will occur online.  It is absolutely essential for you to engage the online instructional videos and to read the instructor's slides as well as the book before coming to class.  Class time will be devoted               mainly to questions, working on selected homework problems, and ungraded quizzing . This course is scheduled to meet M,W, F, but we will normally only meet M, W.  (The exception is for testing and for making up unplanned instructor        absences, if any.)


    Your grade in this course will be calculated on  the basis of your performance on 4  closed book in-class tests, each of which are worth 25 points. The last test will occur during the regular final exam period for this course.  


    Final grade calculation is strictly mathematical. Your lowest score (which may include a missed test) will be raised to the score you receive on the final exam.  If your final exam is your lowest  score, no adjustment will be made.  Grades will be stored on Blackboard.

  QuantityValue Max Possible
Tests  25100 
Total Possible  

    Final letter grades are assigned on a standard scale. 92% and above = A, 90-91% = A-, 88-89% = B+, 82- 87% = B, 80-81% = B-, etc. Fractional point totals are rounded up from .5. You and only you are responsible for monitoring your  performance in this course. Be sure to pay close attention to the drop deadline. Students who stop attending this course early in the semester will not be dropped automatically.

Extra Credit

  • The Philosophy Department sponsors a few lectures each semester and the Nammour Symposium in the spring.  Students who attend these lectures may submit a roughly one-page summary by e-mail.  Thoughtful, well-composed,  summaries free of typos will be awarded 2 points.  A maximum of 2 extra credit assignments may be submitted. Consult the Attendance Credit link in the sidebar for precise instructions.
  • Evaluations for this course are conducted online.  If 90% of students fill out these  evaluations, everyone will receive 1 point  toward their final score.


     I do not take attendance in this course.  Missing class frequently is, however, a very bad idea.  (See preparation section below.)

Late and Make-up Policy 

    There are no make-up tests.  


    Keep up in this course! Logic is a skill.  Learning it is similar to learning math or a foreign language in that it is cumulative and that it requires you to work steadily.  For the vast majority of students it is not possible to do well on logic tests     by cramming.  It is also  not possible to do well on tests administered later in the course if you have not learned the material covered in earlier ones. 

Academic Honesty

    Collaborative learning will be emphasized in class.  You are also free and encouraged to study together outside of class.  However, testing is non collaborative and subject to the CSUS academic honesty policy, which you may read at:         Academic Honesty Policy & Procedures.   Students caught cheating during any test will be failed in the course and referred to Student Affairs for disciplinary action. 

Course Materials

  1. Textbook:  Schaum's Easy Outline of Logic, Crash Course.  by Nolt, Rohatyn, and Varzi.
    1. Recommended Supplementary Text: Schaum's Outline of Logic, by Nolt, Rohatyn, and Varzi.  (This is a more complete version of the easy outline and provides you with more solved problems.)
  2. Instructional videos, problem sets, and solutions distributed on instructor's website.

Students with Special Needs

    Students who have special learning or testing needs must notify the instructor  by the end of the second week of the semester.  Students who fall into this category must visit SSWD Lassen Hall 1008 (916) 278-6955 with appropriate            documentation.

Communicating with Instructor

    By far the most effective means of communicating with the instructor is by e-mail.  Unless you send an email late at night, you will normally receive an answer within a few hours. Re-send your e-mail if you do not.  When communicating        with  instructor by e-mail, observe the guidelines at this link.



    Minor changes in dates, times and the schedule of readings are subject to revision at the discretion of the instructor.