• University of York

Logic: The Language of Truth

Learn how to use logic to evaluate arguments and discover more about philosophical concepts like truth-tables and logical form.

3,813 enrolled on this course

Logic: The Language of Truth
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Understand and evaluate arguments using philosophical theory

If you believe Mickey is a big mouse and Dumbo is a small elephant, then you must also believe that Mickey is a mouse and Dumbo is an elephant.

But, do you believe that Mickey is bigger than Dumbo?

On this course, you’ll consider the logic behind this argument and explore the concept that when something is true, other things have to be true too.

You’ll discover logical reasoning theory and explore the vital role words like and, or, not, and if play in making good or bad arguments.

You’ll also learn how philosophers use a formal language to assess arguments and look closely at how our everyday language and thinking works.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds We all have an interest in working out what to believe. We are often faced with people trying to make a case for a particular conclusion. They lay out some claims that are meant to support that conclusion; suggesting, in effect, that if you think those claims are true, then that gives you a reason to believe that their conclusion is true.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 seconds And frequently you’ll want to do that aswell: make a case for something you think is true by making

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds an argument: laying out starting claims – your premises – which are meant to support your conclusion. A quick survey of heated debates shows that there is disagreement not only on the truth of the premises, but also on whether they support the conclusion or not. It matters, then, whether the truth of some premises really is connected in a positive way with the truth of a conclusion. It matters in politics, the law, science, computing in probing deep fundamental questions, and in everyday life. Logic is the study of those connections, giving us the tools to find out where the connections really hold.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds This course will introduce you to a special kind of language - a formal logical language - in which all the words and expressions are precisely defined. We’ll explore with you how this language can be used as a tool to clarify and evaluate arguments expressed in everyday languages. And we’ll encounter some deep and interesting questions about truth, reasoning, meaning, and language. Join us here at the University of York on the next step

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds in exploring Logic: the Language of Truth.

What topics will you cover?

  • How to use formal logic as a tool to clarify and evaluate arguments
  • Identifying the premises and conclusions of arguments;
  • Applying the philosophical concepts of ‘truth-value’, ‘validity’, ‘logical form’, ‘sentence connective’ and ‘truth-function’;
  • Using truth-tables to work out the truth-values of compound sentences
  • Using truth-tables to test arguments for validity;
  • Exploring the relationship between formal logical language and natural language

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Evaluate arguments (chains of reasoning) using a formal language as a tool
  • Apply an understanding of the concept of validity in evaluating arguments
  • Explore the relationships between formal languages and everyday or ‘natural’ languages
  • Apply an understanding of the idea of a formal language — a specially created language with key vocabulary having carefully specified precise meanings — in analysing and understanding claims expressed in everyday language

Who is the course for?

The course is primarily designed for those studying philosophy, maths, or science at A-level or university.

The course will also be of interest to anyone who’d like to learn more about these subjects and the systematic study of good and bad reasoning

Learners require a basic understanding of formal logic and a keen interest to learn.

What software or tools do you need?

There is no need for any specialist tools beyond a pen and paper!

Who will you learn with?

I am Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of York. You can read about why I think logic is important and interesting here: https://fivebooks.com/best-books/logic-tom-stoneham/

I'm a senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York. I teach logic, philosophy of language, and some bits of metaphysics, including the philosophy of time.

I am Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at the University of York. My research and teaching focusses mostly on logic and metaphysics.

Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.

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