PHIL 107: Logic and Reasoning

Instructor: Lars Enden

Objectives and Content

In this course, we will ask the difficult question “What is good reasoning?” We all use reasoning at almost every moment in our waking lives, but some of us are better at it than others. So what does it take to be good at reasoning? This course will be dedicated to discovering and practicing the principles of good reasoning so we can be as good at reasoning as we can. The course will be divided into two main parts. The first part of the course will be devoted to what is known as semantics, which focuses on the relationship between reasoning and the meanings of linguistic expressions. The second part of the course will be devoted to what is known as syntax, which is more abstract and focuses on the underlying structure of language and thought. The main goal of the course will be to improve our reasoning skills, but along the way we will encounter questions about the applicability of logic and reasoning to basically every field of inquiry, including mathematics, linguistics, music, art, natural science, social science, computer science, cognitive science, and of course philosophy.

Required Resources

Tip: Do not use Google Chrome with MindTap. It works better with other browsers. I recommend Firefox.

Textbook: A Concise Introduction to Logic, 13th edition, by Patrick J. Hurley and Lori Watson.
Note: There is an electronic version of the book on MindTap. Therefore, you are not required to purchase a copy of the book.

Reading Schedule

All required reading should be completed before class on the day the reading is due. Check the schedule below every day to be sure you are keeping up on your reading. It is also a good idea to reread a section after we have talked about it. This helps to increase your understanding dramatically.

Graded Work

There are four kinds of graded work in this course: Participation, Classwork, Homework, and Exams.

  • Participation: (showing up) 10% of final grade: Logic involves skills that require continual practice. Therefore, classroom attendance and engagement is required every day from all students. I recommend you do not miss this class unless you absolutely have no choice.
  • Classwork: (low stakes) 20% of final grade: During each class (except on exam or review days) there will be at least one in-class activity. Sometimes they will be individual activities, and sometimes they will be group activities.
  • Homework: (medium stakes) 30% of final grade: All homework will be done in the Aplia app on the MindTap website and is due before the next class (except the day after an exam or review). Check MindTap every day to be sure you are keeping up with your assignments.
  • Exams: (high stakes) 40% of final grade: There are two exams. The first will be administered during class time on February 13th, and the last one will be administered during our final exam period. The exams are not cumulative and are weighted equally for final grades.

Grading Procedures

  • Participation (showing up) 10% of final grade: You have the opportunity to receive two points every day for participation. One point is for attendance, and the other is for engagement. To receive the attendance point, come to class on time and stay until the end. To receive the engagement point, be an active member of the class. Every student has a responsibility to contribute to the learning environment. So, stay on task with the rest of the class in all of our activities.

IMPORTANT: Philosophy department policy also requires any student who misses more than three (3) days of class will lose a full letter grade from their final grade

  • Classwork (low stakes) 20% of final grade: Classwork is graded very liberally because it is the first stage of the learning process. Many of these assignments are simply graded as Pass/Fail.
  • Homework (medium stakes) 30% of final grade: Homework is done on the MindTap website, which automatically grades it and provides instant feedback. For most homework problems, if you get it wrong, you may retry the problem up to two more times. The average of all of your attempts will be your score for that problem. Some problems are randomized so different students see different problems.
  • Exams (high stakes) 40% of final grade: The exams will be hand-written, and they are graded more strictly than homework assignments because you will have achieved a higher level of mastery over the material by exam time.

Classroom Policies

  • Electronic devices are distracting to everyone in a classroom. So, all electronic devices are prohibited during class. This includes laptops and cell phones. All electronic devices must be silenced and stored away out of sight before class begins. Violations of this rule will result in an automatic loss of engagement point for the day.
  • If you are not in class (no matter what the reason might be) then you lose all participation points for the day and you cannot do the classwork for the day. However, there is a way to make up the missed classwork and to get your engagement point back. (Note: There is no way to get an attendance point back.) To make up for a missed class, you must do two things: first, you must inform me before class begins that you will miss the class; second, you must meet with me in office hours no more than a week after the missed class. In my office, I will review what you missed, and I will give you the opportunity to do the classwork you missed.
  • Studying and doing homework in pairs or in groups is an excellent idea. However, any work you turn in for a grade must be your own. All students who work in a group have a responsibility to contribute to the group effort. Simply copying the work of others is cheating. In any case, if you do not learn to do this work on your own, you will probably fail the exams.


If you believe an accommodation may be appropriate for you, please contact the Student Development office. They will evaluate your specific accessibility needs and will provide you with a letter detailing the accommodations appropriate for you.

General Advice

  • Expect to make mistakes. Try to learn from them. That is why we are here.
  • You will find that the course tends to increase in difficulty as we proceed. So, try not to get discouraged if you do not understand something right away. Just keep going and keep asking questions.
  • Nearly every student struggles at some point in this course. Expect it will happen to you, too. Remember we are on your side, and we are here to help. You may be surprised how much just a few minutes one-on-one with me or with your TA can do to improve your understanding and confidence with this material. The sooner you talk with us about your particular struggles, the easier they will be for us to handle. Do not just assume you will “catch on” later. More than likely you will just become more and more confused until you seek out help. So, come and talk with us the moment you feel yourself becoming confused.

Class Calendar

The following calendar indicates the section in the textbook we will cover each day. Therefore, be sure to read the section before class on the day indicated.

Week One:
(M) Syllabus & Section 1.1
(W) Section 1.2
(F) Sections 1.3 & 1.4

Week Two:
(M) Sections 3.1 & 3.2
(W) Section 3.3
(F) Section 3.4

Week Three:
(M) MLK Day, No classes
(W) Section 3.5
(F) Chapters 9.1 & 9.2

Week Four:
(M) Chapters 13.1-13.3
(W) Section 6.1
(F) Chapters 6.2 & 6.3

Week Five:
(M) Section 6.4
(W) Section 6.5
(F) Midterm Break Day

Week Six:
(M) Review
(W) Exam 1
(F) Section 7.1

Week Seven:
(M) Section 7.2
(W) Section 7.3
(F) Section 7.4

Week Eight:
(M) Section 7.5
(W) Section 7.6
(F) Section 8.1

Week Nine:
(M) Section 8.2
(W) Section 8.2 continued
(F) Section 8.3

Week Ten:
(M) Section 8.4
(W) Section 8.4 continued
(F) Review