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Unit 1 Introduction to Logic and Language

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should:

  • know more about your teacher, classmates and course
  • be able to explain three types of truth
  • understand how to assign truth value
  • know the difference between true, valid and sound
  • have a basic understanding of 14 logical concepts
Rubik

Introductions

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, interaction will be primarily online. You are encouraged to form student groups and discuss this course using your preferred SNS.

Activity 1 Your tutor

Listen to this introduction to find out a little about your teacher and how to contact him.

your tutor

Activity 2 Your course

Read the official university course syllabus to find out the grade percentages awarded to participation, quizzes and final assessment.

Active participation is defined (by me) as submitting assignments or completing assigned tasks via the learning management system ( ELMS ). Each assignment or task is awarded either zero or 100%. This emoticon is used to remind you of these. Quizzes are conducted either online or live. There are quizzes on arguments and fallacies. The final assessment comprises a timed quiz and critical analysis of a text.

Activity 3 Your classmates

Introduce yourself to your classmates. State your preferred name, something you are proficient at (programming, gaming, maths?), and share the reason why you selected this course. If your course is fully online, use the Forum on ELMS.

Logical thinking

The aim of this section is to help you create a framework for what we will study and assign initial meanings to some of the key words. Over the course, we will clarify these meanings.

Activity 4 Thinking

Consider your answers to these questions. If possible, discuss your answers with a classmate, friend or even a stranger!

  1. What does logical thinking mean?
  2. Can you identify when something is logical or illogical?
  3. How do you know?
  4. Is it logical to say 1 + 1 = 2?
  5. If your GPA is inversely proportional to the time spent playing online games, is it logical to continue playing?
  6. Why (not)?

Activity 5 Watching

Watch and listen to an introductory non-technical lecture on logic and language. Try to understand the following concepts:

  • premise
  • conclusion
  • reasoning
  • argument
  • truth
  • validity
  • soundness

Create your own vocabulary list. The final quiz contains 108 technical terms. Start learning them now!

Activity 6 Watching (Optional)

Watch this video (6 min 28 sec) to gain a fuller understanding of Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

Activity 7 Thinking

There are seven colours in a rainbow.

Critically examine the statement above. Is it true? What is the evidence? How confident are you?

Listen to the opinion of these students from the 2020 cohort on the topic of colours of a rainbow

rainbow

Knowledge and application

Knowledge and application activities are designed to help you activate the key terminology and apply the concepts covered in the course so far. Try to use the terminology and concepts accurately and appropriately.

Activity 8 Audio recording

Submit an audio recording of between 45 and 90 seconds via ELMS critically discussing one of the topics listed below. The recording can be in English or Japanese. This audio file may be uploaded for other students to listen to so do not state your name or personal information!

  • Boiling point for water
  • Time travel
  • Abenomics
  • Happiness

Activity 9 Writing

The purpose of this task is to evaluate your current level of logical and critical analysis.

Critically evaluate the passage below. Each sentence is numbered for ease of reference. Submit your work through ELMS. Spend no longer than 30 minutes on this task.

Professor X

  1. Professor X is an efficient and effective teacher.
  2. All his students enjoy his classes according to the feedback given on the student feedback questionnaires.
  3. Every student who attended the course in full received a grade A which is testimony of his expertise in teaching.
  4. The professor not only holds a doctorate in physics but is also a polyglot and a polymath.
  5. His course is always popular with students.
  6. Every course offered in the previous two years has seen enrolments meeting or exceeding the minimum number of students.
  7. To ensure he has enough energy, he always brings a cup of coffee to the classroom.
  8. This is yet more evidence of his dedication to his students.
  9. Finally, on the Facebook page of Professor X has received thousands of "likes", a clear indication of votes of confidence in his teaching.
crime scene

Review

Make sure you can explain the following 14 concepts in simple English:

  1. declarative statement, true, false, truth value
  2. correspondence, coherence and pragmatic theories of truth
  3. Plato's allegory of the cave
  4. premise, conclusion, reasoning, argument
  5. valid argument, sound conclusion

Running count: 14 of 108 logical concepts covered so far.