Philosophy 120 Symbolic Logic                          Fall 2017  Art 311  11-11:50 MWF†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††     H. Hamner Hill


Course Description

We are often confronted by others who tell us what we ought to think or do. Advertisements tell us that we ought to drink Budweiser or drive a Chevy. Editorials in the newspaper tell us that we ought to believe that abortion is murder or that apartheid is morally indefensible. The trouble is that we are confronted with other advertisements or editorials telling us that we ought to do different things (drink Stroh's) or believe different things (that apartheid is the best workable system for South Africa). How are we to decide which views to accept or which actions to perform? Fortunately, those who would have us accept certain views about the world or do certain things often offer us arguments in support of their position. That is where logic comes in, for logic is the study of arguments.

Logic allows one to analyze arguments so as to separate the bad ones (those that reasonable people ought to reject) from the good ones (those that reasonable people ought to accept). Good arguments have a special property called validity. This course teaches students to identify arguments and the parts of arguments (premises and the conclusion). Students learn several ways of testing arguments for validity. This course also examines the applicability of symbolic logic to legal reasoning.


Student Learning Outcomes

A.  Students will define fundamental concepts in symbolic logic (e.g., validity).

B.  Students will evaluate arguments with truth tables and proof construction techniques.

C.  Students will transform English sentences and arguments into proper symbolic notation.



Students should:

1) master the vocabulary of logic,

2) master fundamental methods and principles of logic,

3) be able to explain important concepts in logic (e.g. validity),

4) improve their communication skills (both interpretive and productive)

5) be able to translate English arguments into proper symbolic notation,

6) be able to test properly symbolized arguments for validity, and

7) be able evaluate samples of reasoning using the methods and techniques of logic.


There will be three (3) examinations, ten (10)  homework assignments, and a cumulative final examination. Homework assignments will count for 35% of the final grade; the three exams, 45%; the final exam, 20%. However, completion of each of the assignments is a necessary condition for receiving a passing grade.

The grading scale for the assignments and the course is:

90 and above A

80-89 B

70-79 C

60-69 D

59 and below F


Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
Academic integrity is one of the core values of a University.  Integrity involves strict compliance with a set of values, and the values most essential to an academic community are honesty, trust, and respect. Academic integrity is expected not only in formal coursework situations, but in all University relationships and interactions connected to the educational process, including the use of University resources. Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and they will be punished severely.  The range of punishments the University may impose go from redoing an assignment with a penalty through failure for the class, up to expulsion from the university.   It is my policy any intentional of academic dishonesty results in a zero for the assignment and the assignment will not be treated as having been completed. There will be no opportunity to redo work which is the product of intentional academic dishonesty.  Unintentional and negligent acts of academic dishonesty will be punished according to the severity of the offense and usually there will be an option to redo the assignment with some grade reduction. 

Plagiarism is an offense against academic integrity. It is a combination of theft and fraud. The course web page has a detailed definition of what plagiarism is. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, it is a very serious academic offense.  If you are not sure about what plagiarism is, find out. And DONíT DO IT!


Other offenses against academic integrity (cheating, collaboration on individual assignments, use of crib notes, etc.) will be punished similarly.
See handbook/ and Student Code of Conduct for details.

Regular attendance and class participation are expected. Be prepared to be called upon in class. NOTE: Exam dates and due dates are listed below and late work (particularly case studies) will be accepted only in extraordinary circumstances.  See Southeast Attendance Policy

Cell Phones

Turn off your cell phones while the class is in session.  If you forget to turn off the cell phone prior to the beginning of class and it rings, turn it off immediately and do not answer the call.  Do not send text messages during class, do not read text messages during class..



Audio and video recordings, and still photography, are expressly prohibited without express written consent of the instructor.


Late Drops

The Drop Deadline for this course is listed below under Important Dates.  If you feel that you need to drop the course, make that decision and act upon it prior to the official drop deadline.  As a general rule I will not sign late drop cards.


Make-Up Exams, Late Work and Extra Credit 

Make-up exams generally will not be scheduled, and late work will not be accepted, unless, A) you have a very good excuse for the work being late (e.g. illness), or B) prior arrangements have been made with me.  Challenging extra credit questions are included on most exams, but that is the  only opportunity for extra credit.



Questions, Comments or requests regarding this course or program should be taken to your instructor.  Unanswered questions or unresolved issues involving this class may be taken to Dean Frank Barrios, College of Liberal Arts.


Notice to Students with Disabilities

Anyone with a disability that requires special assistance or creates special needs should contact me in order to make appropriate accommodations. No one is required to disclose a disability, but there is no way that I can make special arrangements or modifications to the course unless I know about those disabilities. I can also assist those of you who may need help in securing assistance and resources from the university.  Information  concerning services available for persons with physical disabilities is available at and information concerning services for persons with learning disabilities is available at



All students are expected to conform to the University's official statement on civility.  Students are expected to comply with the expectations for civility, respect, and academic honesty as described in the current Southeast Missouri State University Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct and Dr. Hill's statement on Civility and Harassment.




The Power of Logic, 5th edition, by F. Howard-Snyder, D. Howard-Snyder, & R Wasserman,  McGraw-Hill, 2012. 

Important Dates 

Aug 21

Start of Class

Sep 22

First Exam

Oct 27

Second Exam

Nov 17

Drop Deadline

Nov 29

Third Exam (Wednesday)

Dec 13

 Final Exam

Contact Information

Office: Carnahan Hall, 211BB

Office Hours: MWF 10:00-11:00, or by appointment

Office Phone 651-2816 Home Phone 339-0575 e-mail

Symbolic Logic I Topical Outline                                    GO TO Presentations

Subject                                                                                 Covered in             Time frame

1.  Logic and Argument                                                          Chapter 1                 Unit 1  

        a.  Scope of logic

        b.  Nature of argument

        c.  Sentences and statements

        d.  Validity, Truth and Soundness


2. Sentential (Propositional) Logic                                          Chapters 7 and 8   Units 2-9

a. Logical Connectives (and, or, not, if, if and only if)

b. Truth Functions and Substitution Instances

c. Translation from English into symbols

d. Truth tables

e. Logical Equivalence

f. Logical Inference

g. Deductions, Proofs and Validity

h. Constructing Deductions and Proofs

i. Conditional Proof

j. Indirect Proof (Reductio Ad Absurdum)

k. Testing for validity


3. Categorical (Syllogistic) Logic                                               Chapters 5 &6  Unit 10

          a. Categorical Propositions

b. Venn Diagrams

c. Categorical Syllogisms

d. Venn diagram tests for validity

e. Rules for syllogistic validity


4. Predicate Logic                                                                   Chapters 9 & 10 Units 11-13

a. Predicates and Variables

b. Propositional functions

c. Quantifiers

d. Translating quantified sentences

e. Interpreting quantifed formulas

f.  satisfying interpretations

g. falsifying interpretations

h. Advanced translation


5. Logic and Judicial Reasoning                                          handout           Units 14 & 15

a. Logical validity and legal validity

b. Models of legal systems and legal reasoning

c. The rule of law model and symbolic logic

d. Mechanical jurisprudence

e. Challenges to the mechanical model