On Keeping Logic in the Major

Teaching Philosophy 33 (2):133-142 (2010)

Jason Decker
Carleton College
A course in symbolic logic belongs as a requirement in the undergraduate philosophy major. In this paper, which started life as a letter to my departmental colleagues, I consider and respond to several reasons one might have for excluding Logic from the core requirements. I then give several arguments in favor of keeping Logic. The central—and most important—argument is that the lack of a proper background in logic makes it very difficult to approach many relatively straightforward philosophical arguments, let alone the more technical subliteratures of philosophy. In developing this argument, I consider a few core texts and arguments (e.g., Gettier’s classic paper on the analysis of knowledge) and bring out how a student with some background in formal logic would be able to approach the texts and arguments with much greater ease than a student who lacks such a background.
Keywords teaching logic
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DOI 10.5840/teachphil201134217
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