Syllabus Philosophy 60 Spring 2016

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 contradiction, necessity and validity.
(4) Use refutation trees to test for cotradiction, necessity 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) Evaluate predicate logic proposions relative to a model.
(8) Perform proofs using the rules of the predicate calculus

Course Structure

General Structure

This is a  conditionally self-paced course.  What this means is that generally you will study at your own pace and you will decide when to take or re-take a particular test.  However, there are specific dates (see schedule page) at which tests 1-6 will no longer be available in class. If you have not passed a particular test by the time at which it is no longer available, the only way to take it is with the instructor's permission during tutoring sessions outside of class. To get the instructor's permission, you must come to his office hours, explain why you are behind schedule, and demonstrate your mastery of the material.

After the first week of the semester it will become possible to take tests during any class meeting.  However, it will never be possible to take more than one test per class meeting. Hence, it is extremely important for you to keep yourself on a strict test taking schedule.  If you do not do so, there will become a point where it is logically impossible to take enough tests to pass the class. Moreover, you will not be permitted to take a test until you have  passed the previous one at a designated level. This level will be high, corresponding to a strong B or better in almost all cases. The reason for this is that the material is progressive. If you do not master the material at a certain level, you will find the subsequent level impossible to understand.

Although this course is self-paced, it will not be possible to complete this course more than two weeks prior to the end of the semester. Tests will be made available as the semester develops.

If you are a self-motivated person who can do steady consistent work, you should succeed in this class. If you tend to procrastinate and base your decisions on unreasonably optimistic calcuations, then you need to change these habits or you almost certainly will not succeed.

Class Meetings

All of the lecturing for this course occurs 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 is devoted entirely to providing individual and small-group tutoring as well as to testing during the final half hour or so of each class. You are free to bring laptops, tablets, etc.  and to engage the videos in class, as long as you use earbuds or headphones.  While taking tests, you may use none of these.  

In sum, class meetings are for doing work, not for listening to the professor lecture.



Extensive homework assignments and practice tests will be available for every module of the course. The homework will be available on the schedule page, as will the solutions. You do not submit homework, but you will receive help with troublesome problems in class.


Prior to taking any given test you will be required to take and pass a corresponding quiz on SacCT.  You may not  take any test prior to passing the corresponding quiz. It is permissible to take these quizzes during classtime.  Your grades on quizzes do not figure into your overall course grade. It is permissible to collaborate on quiz taking; however, if you are unable to pass a quiz on your own, you will almost certainly not pass the test.


Your grade in this course will be calculated on the basis of 13 possible tests. These are all closed book in-class tests,  In order to receive a  B or an A  in this class you must additionally make yourself available for tutoring other students during classtime on material covered in tests that you have already passed. See specific requirements for tutoring below. 


    Your grade in this course is a strict function of the last test that you pass (with the tutoring provision noted for B's and A's.)  

Final test passed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10* 11* 12* 13*
Course grade F F F FD C C+B- B B+A- A

*Requires tutoring service as described below.


In order to receive a B or an A in this class you must help other students learn by spending time in class tutoring.  Testing will start during the second week and in class tutoring will start during the third week. This means that there are 24 class periods available for tutoring. During any one class period you can get credit for no more than 30 minutes of tutoring.  You will get credit for your tutoring time whether or not students come to you for help. Other details of the tutoring procedure will be provided in class.  The minimum total contributions for each grade level are as follows:

Grade Hours 
B  2.5
A- 3.5

Test return

Due to the size of this class and the number of tests being taken, physical copies of graded tests will not be returned.  Rather, they will be scanned and returned digitally.  To receive digital copies of your test you must establish a gmail account (which is an email account through Google) or register a different email with Google. This will allow me to share a folder with you in Google Drive where I may return digital copies of your tests to you. This also allows for the shortest possible return time.


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

Re-take policy

All tests can be retaken without a definite limit on the number of retakes. You are limited only by the fact that you may only take one test per class meeting.  

Final Exam

There is no final exam for this class. However, we will meet during the scheduled final exam period so that students  may take one remaining test.


 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.  Note especially the requirement to have passed the relevant online quizzes prior to take a test. Taking a test prior to passing the online quiz consitutes cheating in this course.

Course Materials

Textbook:  Schaum's Easy Outline of Logic, Crash Course.  by Nolt, Rohatyn, and Varzi.
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.)
Instructional videos, problem sets, and solutions distributed on instructor's website. (See schedule.)

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. This is the link to the SacState SSWD page.

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.