Syllabus for Introduction to Symbolic Logic

Philosophy 102.1&2—Fall 2017


Contact Info

Instructor: Mark Criley (please just call me “Mark”)
Office: CLA 163
Phone: 309-451-3060 (cell) (7a–9p)
Office Hours:
Course Web Site:

This course page will contain our schedule, handouts, announcements, schedule, readings, and assignments for the semester. Please check it regularly.

Required text & Software Package:

Language, Proof, and Logic, 2nd edition. David Barker-Plummer, Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy. CSLI. 2011.

The software works on PCs and Macs; install on any and as many computers you like. Do not buy a used copy of this package, and do not “Rent” it. You can buy and download a digital copy or hard copy at The registration code that comes with a new copy of the book can only ever be registered to a single person, so someone else’s used copy is going to be worthless to you.

Software Web Page:

Contains suggestion for using the software, and it contains useful suggestions and useful hints for the problem sets, too.

Course Topic

The key concepts on which we will be focusing are the logical notions of truth, consequence, and proof. Our method will be to gradually develop a system of formal reasoning to understand these notions. (That’s why this course provides such a perfect fit with the goals of the Formal Reasoning General Education category.) We will create and study an artificial, formal language called "“FOL” (short for “First Order Logic”) that is designed to roughly parallel our own everyday, “natural” language. We will study the structure of sentences of that language , and the way that this structure affects how a sentence is related to (a) other sentences of the language and (b) a world of objects that sentence is about.

Studying formal languages like is an interesting intellectual project in its own right. But its benefits are far-reaching. You should emerge from this class a clearer and more rigorous thinker, equipped with new critical tools for analyzing informal, everyday arguments and dissecting subtle, complex sentences whose truth conditions will boggle the untutored.

Course Materials

The software package that comes with includes four different Macintosh and PC applications: Tarski’s World; Boole; Fitch; and Submit. Your purchase entitles you to install this software on any computer that you use, including lab, library, or even off-campus computers. The package includes both the Mac and the Windows version of the software.

Keep careful track of the Registration Code that comes with your text/software package. (It should be something like “L21-3456789”.) Record this code in several safe places where only you will be able to access it. The first time that you submit an exercise to the Grade Grinder online, that will register that software to you. You cannot submit problem sets if you do not know that number, and your enemies, if they were to discover it, could submit lousy problems sets in your name. Make sure that you remember to bring this code with you to class so that you can submit in class assignments. Also, please note that the automated e-mails that you receive when you submit exercises will contain your LPL code, too, so do not show or forward those e-mails to other students.

There is a useful web page associated with the LPL project at Once you have registered your software, you should visit that site and make sure that you have the most recent versions of each software package. Note: You will also find there links that will take you to the on-line equivalent of the “answers at the back of the book” that accompany most math and logic texts. Click “Student Resources,” and then “Hints and Solutions” and you will see links to .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files that contain hints and partial solutions to various exercises in the book.


We are very fortunate to have Aaron Manuel ( as the tutor for this course. Aaron will run some informal weekly tutoring sessions where he will work with you as you prepare your problem sets and study for your exams. He will also assist me in applying the grading criteria for problems and exams to your work. Here are Aaron’s tutoring hours and their locations:

- Mondays, 4:15--6:15p **in SFH 122**
- Tuesdays, 2:30--4:30p **in CLA 160**
- Thursdays, 10a--noon **in CLA 160**

Doing Well

Two traits correlate extremely well with a strong performance in this class. The “A” students almost always turn out to be the ones who

  1. worked lots of problems, and

  2. were not shy about coming to talk to instructors whenever they got stuck.

Do lots of exercises from the book, including some of those that are not assigned. If you find that you are struggling on the problem sets, try some earlier, unassigned problems from the same section of the text. If you have submitted your answers to the Grade Grinder using the “Just Me” option and you’re still stuck, don’t hesitate to contact me or August. Don’t expect that we will work the problems for you or just tell you how to do them. But we will help answer your questions and ask you questions that will help the pieces fall into place.

Note: If you show up to my Office Hours and see me talking logic with another student, just come on in and join us. The same goes for Aaron’s Tutoring Hours: We will be running logic hours as group meetings rather than individual appointments.

Course requirements

According to the University Catalog, IWU courses should involve a workload requiring 10–12 hours/week from the average student, including class meetings. This class is designed accordingly.

  1. Attendance, Participation, and In-Class Exercises

    You are expected to come to class regularly and to have done the assigned reading listed on calendar on the course web page. If you become convinced that this class is so easy or so hard that coming to class is just a waste of your time, please do not decide just to stop showing up. Please contact me, and we will talk about your situation.

    We will be taking advantage of our computer lab location by regularly getting “hands-on” experience working through problems, individually and in small groups. Although I will ask you to submit these exercises, they will not be graded. You are not expected to have mastered the material before we discuss it in class; the point is to use classroom work to help you master the material. So do not worry that any questions you ask or mistakes you might make will negatively affect your grade.

  2. Problems Sets (240 points—24% of your course grade)

    We are scheduled to have a total of 9 problem sets during the term, each worth 30 points. Your lowest problem set grade will be dropped out of the calculation. Unless otherwise indicated, problem sets must be submitted at or before the beginning of class on their due dates.

    Most problem sets will require that you submit your work over the internet to the ominously-named server that processes exercises: the “Grade Grinder” (“GG” for short). (For more information on GG and the program, see Handout #2.) Some problems (the ones with the little pencil next to their numbers in the book) might require that you write an answer out by hand. When these written portions are assigned, you may either (a) hand in the written out exercises in class that day or (b) type your answers into a computer file and e-mail it to Mark before the deadline.

  3. Exams (760 points—76% of your course grade)

    There will be three exams for this course. The first two will be worth 250 points (25% of your course grade), and the third one will be worth 260 (26% of your course grade). Those exams are scheduled for October 5, November 12, and our regularly scheduled finals week exam slot. (Go here to see that exam schedule.) None of these exams is cumulative, not even Exam 3; each only covers the material after what you were tested on at the last exam.

    Exams 1 and 2 will be a mixture of take-home and in-class problems. (The take-home portion will count for 75 points, and the in-class portion for 175 points.) You may use your own notes and textbook for the take-home portion, but the in-class portion will be closed-book and closed-note. The take home problems will be handed out two days before the exam and be due at the beginning of the exam period. No collaboration with any other person is allowed on any part of any exam, including the take-home portions.


We will aim to use the following standard grade scheme for this course:

87–90%: B+ 77–80%: C+
93–100%: A 83–87%: B 73–77%: C 60–70%: D < 60%: F
90–93%: A- 80–83%: B- 70–73%: C-

These ranges are subject to change, but only in a way that lowers the boundaries (and therefore raises grades). As you keep track of your grade, please remember that your lowest problem set doesn’t count toward your total. Grades will be recorded and updated throughout the semester and e-mailed to you. At the end of the semester, if your grade is very close to the next higher grade notch, considerations like class participation, attendance, in-class exercises, and the trend of your exam performances will help decide whether your course grade is rounded up.

Late Policy

Your first late problem set, up to one week late, will be accepted without penalty. After that free late pass, your problem sets will be penalized 20% if they are submitted within 24 hours after they are due, and 50% after that. Problem sets that are more than seven days late will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Late examinations will only be administered in the event of dramatic, documented illness or emergency. If you are unable to take an exam at the regular scheduled time, please let me know of the conflict as soon as possible.

Academic Integrity

I strongly encourage you to discuss course materials and problem set exercises with other students, both in and out of the classroom. You may share insights, hints, and strategies about particular assigned problems for the problem set, correct one another’s mistakes, etc. You may look at one another’s solutions, work through problems together on a whiteboard, etc.

If you get help or hints on a problem set from another source (the instructor, the tutor, another student, etc.), make sure that you credit that source by adding a text message to your submission, describing the help that you got. Indicating that you got such help or hints will not lower your grade.

However, the actual work of constructing the files and write-ups that constitute the problem sets must be completely your own. No joint submissions are allowed, and you are strictly forbidden to copy others’ work or files or to work together on a “shared” solution file, even at the earlier stages of your work.

To help enforce this requirement, GG checks for your files’ originality. If it discovers that a file that you have submitted has a common history with any other students’ solution files it has already received, your “Instructor Too” grade report will include a line like this one:

### Your file is similar to a previous submission by another student.

You do not want to receive one of these messages. If you do, the presumption will be that you will not receive any credit for the problem. Repeated infractions of this sort, across a number of problem sets after a warning, will be treated as an academic integrity violation, on par with cheating on an exam. The upshot is this:

Be extremely careful with your files. Do not co-create any files with any other students at any stage of the process. Do not copy any files from any other student. Do not leave your files where other students can take them, finish them, and submit them before you do!

Any collaboration or information-sharing with any other person concerning exams will be considered an academic integrity violation.

If you commit an academic integrity violation, you will fail the course. I will also file an academic dishonesty report on the incident with the Associate Provost’s office.


If you have a condition that is covered by §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, I will do whatever I can to accommodate your specific situation. Please contact Chandra Shipley, Director of Academic Advising, at to discuss the details. If you already have a note from her office, please let me know that as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements.