Gillian Russell

Philosophy Professor at UNC Chapel Hill

Phil 755 : Philosophy of Logic

Class times Wednesdays 4-6.30pm, Caldwell 213

Course Website:

Course Instructor:

  • Professor Gillian Russell
  • Office hours: Mondays 11am-noon, Wednesdays noon-1pm.
  • Office Location: Caldwell Hall, 203
  • Email: gillian UNDERSCORE russell AT unc DOT edu

This is a graduate-level research seminar in the philosophy of logic. We will look at recent controversies, as well as classic work and theories which inform those newer debates. Topics will include what logic is and how to understand logical consequence, logical constants, the epistemology of logic and the question of how to choose the correct logic, the question of whether there can be more than one correct logic, as well as questions about whether logic is a priori, analytic, necessary, or normative. The course will offer opportunities to develop skills in both writing and presenting philosophy.

We are fortunate to have two guest speakers who will be visiting our seminar (in person) this semester: JC Beall, from the logic group at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, will visit us to talk about First Degree Entailment and the one true logic on March 1st, and Mario Gómez-Torrente, from UNAM (the National Autonomous University of Mexico) will be asking what makes something a logical constant on March 8th.

When we have guest speakers, members of the seminar are invited to accompany the speaker for dinner afterward and you are strongly encouraged to attend.


The assigned readings for the course are listed in the syllabus below and most will be made available online (either with a link from this page or via our library course reserves site, which you can access through Sakai.)

January 11th

First class – no pre-assigned reading, but we will look at some excerpts from Frege and Kant. (e)

January 18th

Required reading:
J. Etchemendy – Chapters 1-4 of The Concept of Logical Consequence

Additional Recommended reading:
A. Tarski – “On the Concept of Logic Consequence”

25th January

J. Etchemendy – Chapters 5-9 of The Concept of Logical Consequence

1st February

M. Gómez-Torrente – “On a Fallacy Attributed to Tarski”
J. MacFarlane – “Logical Constants” in the SEP:

8th February

G. Sher – chapter 3 of The Bounds of Logic
G. Sagi (2015), “The Modal and Epistemic Arguments Against the Invariance Criterion for Logical Terms”, Journal of Philosophy 112, 159-167.

15th February

Required reading:
R. Carnap – Selections from The Logical Syntax of Language (e)
V.W. Quine – “Deviant Logic” from Philosophy of Logic (e)

Also recommended:
R. Carnap – “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology”
V.W. Quine – “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

22nd February

Chapters 14 and 15 (propositional only) of JC Beall – Logic: The Basics (on electronic reserve).

1st March – JC Beall’s Visit

JC’s paper (he will send this to us ahead of time)

8th March – Mario Gómez-Torrente’s visit

Mario’s paper (he will send this to us ahead of time)

15th March

No class – spring break.

22nd March

W.V. Quine – “Three Grades of Modal Involvement”
J.P. Burgess – “Quinus ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus”

Also recommended:
W.V. Quine – “Reference and Modality” (e)

29th March

T. Williamson – Selections from Modal Logic as Metaphysics (e)

5th April

P. Maddy – “A Naturalistic Look at Logic” (e)
T. Williamson – “Semantic Paradoxes and Abductive Methodology.” A draft of this paper is available here:

12th April

G. Priest and F. Berto – “Dialetheism” in the SEP:
G. Priest – “Logic and Revisability” from Doubt Truth to be a Liar, ” (e)

19th April

JC Beall and G. Restall – “Logical Pluralism” (e)
G. Priest – Chapter 12 of Doubt Truth to be a Liar (e)

26th April

O. Hjortland “Anti-Exceptionalism about Logic”


Assessment will be by way of a research paper on a topic of your choice, due on the last day of classes. (4000 concise and carefully chosen words would be reasonable, but your paper may be shorter or longer if the topic demands it.)

Each student will also be required to give one 15-minute in-class presentation during the semester. I will ask you to email me your top three choices for date/topic after the first class. I will then put together a schedule for the presentations.

Presentations should not try to summarise ALL the reading for that class. You should pick one or two points that you found interesting or which raise questions, and present these clearly in order to kick off discussion.

I recommend coming to see me during the week before your presentation, in order to talk over your plans.

It would also be a good idea to come and see me at least once during the semester to talk about your paper project.

The research paper is worth 80% of your grade. The presentation is worth 20%

Honor Code

All students must be familiar with and abide by the Honor Code, which covers issues such as plagiarism, falsification, unauthorized assistance or collaboration, cheating, and other grievous acts of academic dishonesty. Violations of the Honor Code will not be taken lightly.

The Center for Student Success and Academic Counselling

Located in the Student Academic Services Building, the CSSAC offers support to all students through units such as the Learning Center and the Writing Center.

Reasonable Accommodations Policy

Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should contact Disability Services as soon as possible to discuss accommodations.