An Introduction to Formal Logic

An Introduction to Formal Logic
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Why Study Logic?
Influential philosophers throughout history have argued that humans are purely rational beings. But cognitive studies show we are wired to accept false beliefs. Review some of our built-in biases, and…
Episode 2 Introduction to Logical Concepts
Practice finding the logical arguments hidden in statements by looking for indicator words that either appear explicitly or are implied--such as "therefore" and "because." Then see how to identify the…
Episode 3 Informal Logic and Fallacies
Explore four common logical fallacies. Circular reasoning uses a conclusion as a premise. Begging the question invokes the connotative power of language as a substitute for evidence. Equivocation changes the…
Episode 4 Fallacies of Faulty Authority
Deepen your understanding of the fallacies of informal logic by examining five additional reasoning errors: appeal to authority, appeal to common opinion, appeal to tradition, fallacy of novelty, and arguing…
Episode 5 Fallacies of Cause and Effect
Consider five fallacies that often arise when trying to reason your way from cause to effect. Begin with the post hoc fallacy, which asserts cause and effect based on nothing…
Episode 6 Fallacies of Irrelevance
Learn how to keep a discussion focused by recognizing common diversionary fallacies. Ad hominem attacks try to undermine the arguer instead of the argument. Straw man tactics substitute a weaker…
Episode 7 Inductive Reasoning
Turn from informal fallacies, which are flaws in the premises of an argument, to questions of validity, or the logical integrity of an argument. In this lecture, focus on four…
Episode 8 Induction in Polls and Science
Probe two activities that could not exist without induction: polling and scientific reasoning. Neither provides absolute proof in its field of analysis, but if faults such as those in Lecture…
Episode 9 Introduction to Formal Logic
Having looked at validity in inductive arguments, now examine what makes deductive arguments valid. Learn that it all started with Aristotle, who devised rigorous methods for determining with absolute certainty…
Episode 10 Truth-Functional Logic
Take a step beyond Aristotle to evaluate sentences whose truth cannot be proved by his system. Learn about truth-functional logic, pioneered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by…
Episode 11 Truth Tables
Truth-functional logic provides the tools to assess many of the conclusions we make about the world. In the previous lecture, you were introduced to truth tables, which map out the…
Episode 12 Truth Tables and Validity
Using truth tables, test the validity of famous forms of argument called modus ponens and its fallacious twin, affirming the consequent. Then untangle the logic of increasingly more complex arguments,…
Episode 13 Natural Deduction
Truth tables are not consistently user-friendly, and some arguments defy their analytical power. Learn about another technique, natural deduction proofs, which mirrors the way we think. Treat this style of…
Episode 14 Logical Proofs with Equivalences
Enlarge your ability to prove arguments with natural deduction by studying nine equivalences--sentences that are truth-functionally the same. For example, double negation asserts that a sentence and its double negation…
Episode 15 Conditional and Indirect Proofs
Complete the system of natural deduction by adding a new category of justification--a justified assumption. Then see how this concept is used in conditional and indirect proofs. With these additions,…
Episode 16 First-Order Predicate Logic
So far, you have learned two approaches to logic: Aristotle's categorical method and truth-functional logic. Now add a third, hybrid approach, first-order predicate logic, which allows you to get inside…
Episode 17 Validity in First-Order Predicate Logic
For all of their power, truth tables won't work to demonstrate validity in first-order predicate arguments. For that, you need natural deduction proofs--plus four additional rules of inference and one…
Episode 18 Demonstrating Invalidity
Study two techniques for demonstrating that an argument in first-order predicate logic is invalid. The method of counter-example involves scrupulous attention to the full meaning of the words in a…
Episode 19 Relational Logic
Hone your skill with first-order predicate logic by expanding into relations. An example: "If I am taller than my son and my son is taller than my wife, then I…
Episode 20 Introducing Logical Identity
Still missing from our logical toolkit is the ability to validate identity. Known as equivalence relations, these proofs have three important criteria: equivalence is reflexive, symmetric, and transitive. Test the…
Episode 21 Logic and Mathematics
See how all that you have learned in the course relates to mathematics--and vice versa. Trace the origin of deductive logic to the ancient geometrician Euclid. Then consider the development…
Episode 22 Proof and Paradox
Delve deeper into the effort to prove that the logical consistency of mathematics can be reduced to basic arithmetic. Follow the work of David Hilbert, Georg Cantor, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand…
Episode 23 Modal Logic
Add two new operators to your first-order predicate vocabulary: a symbol for possibility and another for necessity. These allow you to deal with modal concepts, which are contingent or necessary…
Episode 24 Three-Valued and Fuzzy Logic
See what happens if we deny the central claim of classical logic, that a proposition is either true or false. This step leads to new and useful types of reasoning…

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Influential philosophers throughout history have argued that humans are purely rational beings. But cognitive studies show we are wired to accept false beliefs. Review some of our built-in biases, and discover that logic is the perfect corrective. Then survey what you will learn in the course.
Informal Logic and Fallacies
Explore four common logical fallacies. Circular reasoning uses a conclusion as a premise. Begging the question invokes the connotative power of language as a substitute for evidence. Equivocation changes the meaning of terms in the middle of an argument. And distinction without a difference attempts to contrast two positions that…
Truth-Functional Logic
Take a step beyond Aristotle to evaluate sentences whose truth cannot be proved by his system. Learn about truth-functional logic, pioneered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the German philosopher Gottlob Frege. This approach addresses the behavior of truth-functional connectives, such as "not," "and," "or," and "if"…
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So far, you have learned two approaches to logic: Aristotle's categorical method and truth-functional logic. Now add a third, hybrid approach, first-order predicate logic, which allows you to get inside sentences to map the logical structure within them.