PHIL 10: Introduction to Logic

PHIL 10: Introduction to Logic
UC San Diego, Spring 2005

General Information

Instructor: Agustín Rayo
Office: HSS 8061
Phone: (858) 822-2686
Office hours: Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:00, or by appointment.

Meetings: Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-12:50
Room: Solís 107

Course Website:


SectionMeetings TA Office Hours
A01 W 10:00-10:50, WLH 22007 Jason Thibodeau
M,W 11:00 - 12:00
HSS 8056
A02 M 2:00-2:50, YORK 4080A Jason Thibodeau
M,W 11:00 - 12:00
HSS 8056
A03 M 3:00-3:50, YORK 4080A Jeff Stedman
W 2:00 to 4:00
HSS 8056
A04 M 4:00-4:50, YORK 4080A Jeff Stedman
W 2:00 to 4:00
HSS 8056
A05 F 2:00-2:50, CSB 004 Eric Campbell
W 1:30 to 3:30
HSS 8085
A06 F 1:00-1:50, YORK 4080A Eric Campbell
W 1:30 to 3:30
HSS 8085

Course Overview

The course consists of two parts. In the first part (about 2/3 of the course) we will cover the basics of formal sentential logic, including translations into formal notation, truth tables, and proofs. In the second part (about 1/3 of the course), we will study informal reasoning, focusing on ways it commonly goes wrong.


Students in this class are expected to complete work on their own. Both problem sets and exams should consist entirely of the student's own work; they must not be copied from other students or any other source. Failure to comply constitutes plagiarism and is a serious violation of class and University policy. Cases of academic dishonesty will be pursued to the fullest extent possible.


There are two lectures per week, and one discussion section. Grades are based on exams given in class, and problem sets.

Required Text

The text for the course is Basic Sentential Logic and Informal Fallacies (BSLIF), which is available at UCSD bookstore. This text is brief, containing the minimal basics. It is possible that some students might like more extended discussion of some topics, or more examples. To this end, copies of Patrick Hurley's A Concise Introduction to Logic are on reserve in the Central Library.

In addition to these texts, Rick Grush has designed a logic website for this course, which has additional exercises with solutions.

Tentative Schedule

Please note that problem set due dates are not indicated here. Each TA sets due dates for problem sets for students in his or her section. Problem sets can be turned in to your TA during your TA's office hours, during one of your TA's discussion sections, or at any other agreed-upon location, so long as they are in before the due date specified. Placing problem sets in MY email box does not constitute turning them in on time. They must be given to your TA.

Course Requirements

There are 1000 points possible for the course. This is broken down as follows: 200 for each of two midterms exams, for a total of 400. The final is worth 400 points. And the section grade, based on homework, is worth 200 points.

Letter grades will not be assigned until after all points are in. The worst-case scenario is that it will be a straight 10% breakdown: 90%-100% will be A-, A or A+; 80%-89.9% will be B-, B or B+; and so forth. So if you need to get a C-, for example, you should plan on getting at least 700 points out of the 1000 possible. Depending on the class average, the grade cut-offs may be curved downward a bit. But you should not count on any such curving down. The grade cut-offs will not be curved up, however, meaning that the straight 10% breakdown is the highest that the grade cut-offs will be set.

Special pleading at the end of the course will have no effect. Every quarter a certain number of students who apparently need to pass the class in order to graduate miss the C- cut-off, or the D cut-off. Some of these students are then unable to graduate. If this is your situation then you need to make sure you pass the class. We have office hours and are happy to help if you are having trouble with the material, practice exams are available for you to assess your own level of preparation. The TAs and I are happy to spend time with anyone who needs it. But it is your responsibility to attend lecture, attend sections, study the material, do homework, and take practice exams, and come to office hours if you need help. We will NOT adjust grades after they have been assigned, except in cases where an actual error of some sort has been made.

No make-up exams will be given. If you miss a midterm exam for a legitimate reason, such as serious medical injury or illness, then the points will be made up in the following way: The final exam has sections that correspond to material from Midterm One and Midterm Two. If a student misses a midterm exam for a legitimate reason, then the grade that the student gets on that section of the final that corresponds to the missed exam will be used. Legitimate reasons include serious illness with a doctor's note. Personal travel plans that conflict with the schedule, forgetting about the exam, etc., are not legitimate excuses. In order to have the option of making these points up in this way (for legitimate excuses), I must be informed of the situation either before the missed exam, or within 24 hours after the exam.

Problem sets are due when your TA says they are due. These due data will be announced by your TA in sections and on the corresponding email lists. No late problem sets will be accepted. If you aren't sure wether you will be adding the class, I recommend that you do the problem sets, since adding the class late does not constitute a reason to turn them in late. For your final grade we will replace your worst problem set score with your best problem set score, which effectively means that you can miss or tank one problem set, so long as you do the rest. This is the mechanism that is intended to cover you in case you are forced by circumstances to be unable to turn in one of the problem sets, so don't just skip a problem set early in the quarter thinking that it won't matter.

Taking exams

No notes or books or other materials are allowed during the exam. You will need one or more blue books, and one or more writing implements. The exam will have a sheet for recording your multiple choice answers. All work, and solutions to problems that are not multiple choice, must be written in the blue books. The exam should be placed inside the blue book and turned in with it when you turn your exam in.

Time is a factor in the exams. In order to ensure that everyone has the same amount of time, the following procedures are implemented. The first page of the exam is the multiple choice answer sheet. When we hand out the exams, do not turn that page and start working on the exam until we say so, which we will do when everyone has a copy of the exam. This will ensure that everyone has the same start time. I will keep time, and will write on the board rough estimates of how much time is left. I will announce when 5 minutes are left, then 2, then 1, then 30 seconds, then 10 seconds, and will count down from 5 to 0. There will be a number of boxes in which you must turn in your exam. Any of the designated boxes is fine. When the announced time reaches zero, lids are placed on the boxes, and any exam not in the box at that time will have 10 points deducted, no exceptions. This will ensure that everyone has the same end time.

Email Lists

There are email distribution lists for this course, one for each section. It is a course requirement that you immediately subscribe to the email list for your section, and that you maintain your email account so that it can receive email from this list. (You can always unsubscribe later if you drop the course or change sections.) The purpose of the list is to allow the TAs and I to distribute information regarding due dates for assignments, changes of schedule, etc. Some of this information is crucial, and some of it will be distributed early on.

To subscribe, send an email to from the account you wish to be subscribed with. Leave the subject blank, and let the body of the message be as follows:

Note that the `l' at the end of, e.g. `logic-section-a01-l' is a lower-case `L', not the numeral `1'. You should receive email confirmation that you have successfully subscribed to the list.

How to do well in this course

Attend the lectures, and read the corresponding chapters of the text before the lecture. Attend the discussion sections, and do all homework assigned by the TA. Use the homework, and other non-assigned exercises (in the text or on the logic website) to determine for yourself how well you have mastered the material. If you need additional help, ask your TA or me. We have office hours. The earlier you get clear on some issue that is giving you trouble, the better. You can also make use of the texts on reserve in the library, which have more examples and more discussion.

For each exam, 2 practice exams are available in the text. I recommend that before the actual exam, you administer one of the exams to yourself, giving yourself only 45 minutes. Then grade your exam (answers will be emailed out on the email lists). This will allow you to find what material, if any, you need to work on some more. Consult myself or the TA, or simply do more exercises of the type you need to improve on until you feel you have mastered this material. Repeat the procedure with the second practice exam.

This will be a very manageable class if you simply keep up with the material, regularly practice by doing exercises, and ask for help as soon as you need it.

The material looks easy when you read through it or watch someone else work a proof or truth table. But watching someone do it is a lot easier than doing it yourself. Furthermore, the exams are long. Purposefully long. Most students do not finish them. The only way to get to the point where you can do the problems quickly and accurately is to do a lot of practice.

Important notes