Gillian Russell

Philosophy Professor

Phil 4051 : Philosophy of Logic (Fall 2013)

Class Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11.30am-1pm,
Instructor: Prof Gillian Russell
Location: Life Sciences, 118
My office: 209 Wilson Hall
Office hours: Thursdays 1-2pm or by appointment
Email: grussell – at – artsci – dot – wustl – dot – edu
Ares (electronic reserves):
Course Website:

This course surveys some central issues in the philosophy of logic, including logic’s semantics, metaphysics and epistemology, the concept of logical consequence, some arguments for rivals to classical logic, logical pluralism, and a group of philosophical issues related to modal logic. We will finish up the semester by looking at three chapters of Timothy Williamson’s new book, Modal Logic as Metaphysics.

Many of the readings for this course are classics of contemporary analytic philosophy, and the subject is likely to be of especial interest to students who have interests in logic, and in the philosophy and foundations of mathematics and language.

Much of the course presupposes at least a basic acquaintance with formal logic. This is not itself a course in formal logic. Hence either Phil 100 or Phil 301 (or a similar course approved by the instructor) are prerequisites.

Readings and Topics

Williamson’s Modal Logic as Metaphysics is on 2-hour reserve at the library, but since we will be reading three chapters, you might like to buy a copy.

Week 1 – What is logic?

Tuesday 27th August: No pre-assigned reading, but we’ll look at some short excerpts from Aristotle, Kant, Frege, and Wittgenstein in class.
Thursday 29th August: “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” – Rudolf Carnap (on ares)

Week 2 – Analyticity

Tuesday 3rd September: “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” – W.V.O. Quine,

Thursday 5th September: Chapter 1 of “The Construction of Logical Space” – Agustin Rayo. (ares)

Week 3 – Justification

Tuesday 10th September: Sections 1-5 from chapter 1 of The Logic of Mathematical Discovery – Imre Lakatos (ares)
Thursday 12th September: “Language and the Ability to Evaluate Contradictions and Tautologies” – Daniel Osherson and Ellen Markman,

Week 4 – Normativity

Tues 17th September: Chapter 1 of Change in View by Gilbert Harman, MIT Press, (Cambridge, 1986) (chapters 1 and 2 are both on ares, but only the 1st chapter is required reading.)
Thurs 19th September: No class.

Week 5: Logical Consequence

Tuesday 24th September “On the Concept of Logical Consequence”, Alfred Tarski (on ares)
Thursday 26th September: Selections from The Concept of Logical Consequence, John Etchemendy, CLSI (Stanford, 1999).
(on ares)

Week 6: Heresies in Logic 1: Intuitionism

Tuesday 1st October: “The Justification of Deduction” – Michael Dummett, in The Logical Basis of Metaphysics (on ares).
Thursday 3rd October: “Dummett’s Justification of Deduction” in Deviant Logic, Fuzzy Logic, Susan Haack

Week 7: Heresies in Logic 2: Relevant Logic

Tuesday 8th October: The Material Conditional: sections 1-4 from chapter 1 of Entailment: The Logic of Relevance and Necessity, volume 1, Alan Ross Anderson and Nuel Belnap. (on ares)
Thursday 10th October: Pragmatic approaches to the material conditional. Reading: "Logic and Conversation" – H.P. Grice (on ares).

Week 8: Heresies in Logic 3: Dialetheism

Tuesday 15th October: In class midterm exam.
Thursday 17th October: Chapters 0 and 1 of In Contradiction – Graham Priest (on ares)

Week 9: Let a thousand flowers bloom: the birth of logical pluralism

Tuesday 22nd October: Carnap – excerpt from The Logical Syntax of Language (on ares) AND “Deviant Logics” in The Philosophy of Logic – W.V.O. Quine (also on ares)
Thursday 24th October: “Logical Pluralism” – JC Beall and Greg Restall

Week 10: More Logical Pluralism

Tuesday 29th October: “What are Beall and Restall pluralists about?” – Nicole Wyatt,
Thursday 31st October: Chapter 12, “Logical Pluralism” in Doubt Truth to be a Liar, Graham Priest (on ares)

Week 11: So what’s wrong with modal logic?

Tuesday 5th November: Chapter 3 of Philosophical Logic, John P. Burgess (on ares)
Thursday 7th November: “Three grades of modal involvement” – W.V.O. Quine (on ares)

Week 12: And what else is wrong with modal logic?

Tuesday 12th November: “A backward look at Quine’s Animadversions on Modalities” – Ruth Barcan Marcus
Thurs 14th November: "Quinus ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus", J. P. Burgess in Meaning and Reference, suppl. vol. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 25 1997. (on ares)

Week 13: Is deontic logic possible?

Tuesday 19th November: “Logical Constants” – John MacFarlane
Thursday 21st November: “Logic and the Autonomy of Ethics” – Charles Pidgen, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 67, 1989.

Week 14: Modal Logic as Metaphysics (I)

Tuesday 26th November: Chapter 1
Thursday 28th November: Thanksgiving break

Week 15: Modal logic as Metaphysics (II)

Tuesday 3rd December: Chapter 2
Thursday 5th December: Chapter 3


Assessment is by way of a 400 word expository paper due on Friday 13th September (20%) an in-class midterm exam on Tuesday 15th October (30%), one plan for a 2000 philosophy paper (1 side of bullet-points) (10%) due on Wednesday 6th November and a 2000 philosophy paper (40%) due on the last day of classes.

Date due % of grade
400 word expository paper Friday 13 September 20%
In-class midterm Tuesday 15th October 30%
Final Paper Plan Wednesday 6th November 10%
2000 word Final Paper Friday 6th December 40%

Alternative assessment for graduate students only: one 4000 word philosophy paper due on Friday 6th December (100%).

I am happy to look at drafts of papers, as long as I have it one week before the paper is due. This is to give me time to read your draft carefully and write comments on it, and you time to redraft in response to those comments before you turn the final version of your paper in. Drafts submitted later than this will not be looked at.

All papers should be turned in to the “turn in” filing cabinet in the philosophy department office on the 2nd floor of Wilson Hall by 3.30pm on the day they are due. (The office closes at 4pm, and the people who work there like to be on their way home at 4.05pm, not unlocking doors for students with a late paper.) Please use a single paper clip to hold the pages together. Pages should be numbered, with your name on the final page. Do not put your student number or social security number on your paper. Any well-known, consistent citation method is acceptable. Your paper should finish with a bibliography, listing the texts you read while pursuing research on the paper, including any texts cited.


Any cases of suspected plagiarism, or other problems with academic integrity, will be reported to the Dean in his role as head of the academic integrity committee.

Pass/Fail Option

Students taking the course pass/fail will need an overall grade of C- for a pass.

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