Course Outline

Introductory Logic




   Teaching Staff    Course  Description    Schedule    Tutorials
   Text    Assessment    Advice    Interactive




Name:                     Dr Stephen Watson

Room:                     E335

Phone:                    33652620              



Note: please enter the subject heading ‘PHIL1020’ in all email correspondence.


Consultation Hours: By arrangement on Tuesday or Thursday.





This course in formal logic is intended as an introduction to the formal aspects of modern logic for students of philosophy, mathematics or computer science, or indeed anyone interested in logic. We assume that students have no previous background in logic.

It begins with some discussion as to what logic is and what its role in philosophy might be. It will then move on to more formal aspects. Beginning with the notion of a formal language into which sentences and arguments are to be translated, we shall develop the syntax and semantics for a language of sentences or propositions — classical propositional logic. Arguments can then be formalized and discussed with reference to the central notion of validity. The primitive language of classical propositional logic is then extended to accommodate the theory of quantifiers, which is formalisable in classical predicate logic, and the notion of validity is generalized to this extended language.

By introducing you to formal logic I hope to not only deepen your knowledge of the area but also, through improved analytic skills, further develop attributes of critical judgement, independence and creativity of thought, and effective communication - especially clarity of expression.





There are no lectures in this online course: you are expected to work your way through the textbook (q.v.) There is, however, a schedule that you are expected to keep to.





This function will not be used in this course.





There is are optional  'tutorial' periods. During these one hour periods I will briefly review the material that you are supposed to be studying and working through up to that point. Then we'll see if there were any difficulties with the problems that were set on material that you were supposed to have covered. See the tutorial page for the problems for these sessions. The tutorial times and dates are accessible via MySI-net





We shall work through the following text during the course:

  • R. Girle, Introduction to Logic, Prentice-Hall (2002).

Since the exams and exercises are based on material from this text, it is essential that you purchase a copy. It is available from the UQ Bookshop and QU Books. 

Additional Reading


The following books may be of additional assistance:

  • C. Howson, Logic With Trees, Routledge (1997).

  • M.K. Rennie & R.A. Girle, Logic: Theory and Practice, University of Queensland Press (1973).

They are available from the Social Sciences and Humanities Library in the High Use Area.

Library Contact


If you have any questions or problems accessing material in the Social Sciences and Humanities Library you should contact:

Birgit Culloty
Phone - 336 52160





You will be required to complete the following assessments:

  • Assignment 1 (20% of overall mark)

  • Assignment 2 (40% of overall mark)

Assignments may be submitted either in electronic form or as a paper. The instructions for each method are on the assignment question page.

  • Final Exam (40% of overall mark)

    This exam will be a formal exam during the Exam Period.



Extensions on Assignments, or the taking of Tests at a date other than that set down, is only permitted if you have a legitimate reason (e.g. illness, etc.). If you cannot submit an Assignment by the due date or cannot take the Test on the day it is set, you should consult the course coordinator immediately concerning the possibility of an extension or a rescheduling of the Test. Evidence of your illness etc. will be required. (Note that this is a huge inconvenience so you must have a compelling reason and unforeseeable circumstances.)



Plagiarism is an academic offence and will be penalized. Please refer to the School's Manual of Style, and to the School's web-site for further clarification.


The University accepts the following definition of plagiarism:


"Plagiarism is the action or practice of taking and using as one's own the thoughts or writings of another, without acknowledgment."


The following practices constitute acts of plagiarism and are a major infringement of the University's academic values:


  • Where paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence are copied directly, and are not enclosed in quotation marks and appropriately footnoted;

  • Where direct quotations are not used, but are paraphrased or summarised, and the source of the material is not acknowledged either by footnoting or other simple reference within the text of the paper; and

  • Where an idea which appears elsewhere in printed, electronic or audio-visual material is used or developed without reference being made to the author or the source of that material."

Plagiarism carries strict penalties which could result in a student's being expelled from University.


Occurrences of plagiarism in this course will result in a formal complaint being lodged by the lecturer with the University against the student.


Assessments are marked according to the University’s seven point system:




Mark Percentage
7 85-100
6 75-84
5 65-74
4 50-64
3 45-49
2 25-44
1 0-24





Students are advised to read the material set down for the course, do a lot of exercises, and participate actively in tutorials. If you apply yourselves to the task on a week-by-week basis (avoiding cramming) then you are most likely to do well and enjoy the course more.


Lewis Carroll (also known as the Reverend Charles Dodgson) wrote on Mathematics and Logic and taught Logic to children. His Alice in Wonderland books contain many delightful logic puzzles. His advice to readers of his own logic book applies equally well here.

The learner, who wishes to try the question fairly, whether this little book does, or does not, supply the materials for a most interesting mental recreation, is earnestly advised to adopt the following Rules:

1. Begin at the beginning, and do not allow yourself to gratify a mere idle curiosity by dipping into the book, here and there. This would very likely lead to your throwing it aside, with the remark 'This is much too hard for me!', and thus losing the chance of adding a very large item to your stock of mental delights ...

2. Don't begin any fresh Chapter, or Section, until you are certain that you thoroughly understand the whole book up to that point, and that you have worked, correctly, most if not all of the examples which have been set ... Otherwise you will find your state of puzzlement get worse and worse as you proceed, till you give up the whole thing in utter disgust.

3. When you come to a passage you don't understand, read it again: if you still don't understand it, read it again; if you fail, even after three readings, very likely your brain is getting a little tired. In that case, put the book away, and take to other occupations, and the next day, when you come to it afresh, you will very likely find that it is quite easy.

4. If possible, find some genial friend, who will read the book along with you, and will talk over the difficulties with you. Talking is a wonderful smoother-over of difficulties. When I come upon anything—in Logic or in any other hard subject—that entirely puzzles me, I find it a capital plan to talk it over, aloud, even when I am all alone. One can explain things so clearly to one's self! And then, you know, one is so patient with one's self: one never gets irritated at one's own stupidity!

If, dear Reader, you will faithfully observe these Rules, and so give my little book a really fair trial, I promise you, most confidently, that you will find Symbolic Logic to be one of the most, if not the most, fascinating of mental recreations! ...

Mental recreation is a thing that we all of us need for our mental health. Symbolic Logic will give you clearness of thought—the ability to see your way through a puzzle—the habit of arranging your ideas in an orderly and get-at-able form—and, more valuable than all, the power to detect fallacies, and to tear to pieces the flimsy illogical arguments, which you will continually encounter. ... Try it. That is all I ask of you!

[Lewis Carroll, The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll, Nonesuch Press (1939), pp. 1116-19.]

If you are having problems with the course then you should send me an email message. I am here to help you learn. In an emergency I am even prepared to speak to you in person. Appointments can be made by phoning or emailing me. (Contact information can be found under Teaching Staff above.) 





There is an on-campus service available to all students who may require assistance with more general problems relating to their academic work, e.g. essay writing skills, returning to study after a long break, preparing assignments or seminars, stress, etc. This supplementary assistance is available through the Learning Assistance Unit — a part of Student Support Services — in the Relaxation Block, Student Union Complex. Telephone 336 51704.


Any student who for whatever reason (not just physical disabilities) may require alternative academic arrangements is encouraged to seek advice at the commencement of the semester from a Disability Advisor at Student Support Services (Telephone 336 51704).