PHL 1000: An Introduction to Logic

Department of Philosophy
Oakland University

John Halpin
750 MSC
248 370 2264

Better because voicemail often fails in my office:

Welcome to Oakland's PHL 102. This course meets Oakland University requirements for General Education in formal reasoning: We'll study reason and argument. The idea is to show how clarification of thinking through symbolic techniques can help ones logical intuitions and so improve reasoning skills.

Here are the most important matters:
  • This class is online accept for the two exams. The bulk of the work is on your own working throught the course textbook, doing homework, participating in online WebEx problem sessions, or online/over-the-phone office hours.
  • The textbook is online: This is called "The Logic Cafe" because it's based on JavaScript and related programming.  This is the most important work for learning logic.
  • We'll use Moodle to keep track of our work through the Cafe. Sign in at
  • Working on a Mac? You'll need to allow "Flash" in settings. (There are directions in Moodle for making Araucaria work too but it's probably not worth it. Draw by hand instead is my suggestion.)
  • Browser? Most any will do. Chrome is my favorite but has a few Cafe quirks. In all cases:
    • Turn off pop-up blockers or just allow the Cafe to have pop-ups.
    • Allow JavaScript and/or make a "Trusted" site.
    • Allow cookies.
    • Click here for directions if the above is not obvious.
      (If you discover a problem, let me know. New browsers, computer types, operating systems can all cause minor glitches.)
  • Most of your work will be in this Logic Cafe textbook. But we'll also have discussions/postings and quizzes in Moodle. The posting's are scheduled for each topic with an odd number (i.e., for topics one, three, etc.) and quizzes for even numbered topics. Moodle quizzes have real can't miss them!
  • We will have a required Online Lecture each topic. And frequent but optional WebEx problem sessions/discussions/virtual office hours scheduled at various days and times. If you aren't available for an WebEx session, you can watch a recording. These lecture/discussions are completely online using Oakland University's WebEx software.
  • Grade details are below. But mostly, you need to do the postings and quizzes weekly, the midterm and the final. Along the way there are a few points to earn working your way through the Logic Cafe and by viewing the Online Lectures.
       Homework is essential as a study tool for the exams (65% of the course grade!) though most of the homework is itself ungraded. The only graded part is found in the postings. Start a discussion thread of your own and also Reply to at least one other person about his or her posting. So called "Gold" material is optional and not a part of this class.


(See Moodle Topic-by-Topic for updates and details)

Important: Each topic is numbered below; we'll do one topic each week.

  1. Assignments with Roman numerals are for the Logic Cafe chapter numbers; each is followed by a range of numbers for tutorials.
  2. Your most important homework is doing the tutorials and all associated quizzes and exercises in the Cafe. These are ungraded but the exams (60% of your grade) come directly from them.
  3. Odd numbered topics (e.g., Topic 1) will have Moodle Postings due by its end.
  4. Even numbered topics each require a Moodle Quiz. The Moodle Quiz has a serious deadline...Sunday at 11:59pm for each even numbered topic! You can work on any Moodle Quiz as long as you'd like, even save your work and come back later. Still, you must "Submit" your answers before Sunday night and you may Submit only once. The first submission counts! (Moodle quizzes are completely different for the quizzes in the Logic Cafe online textbook. All work in the textbook is ungraded.)

So, Topic 1 is associated with chapter 1, tutorials 1 through 2. Do the homework exercises as you read through each tutorial. AND a posting is due: you'll need to post one argument "diagram". That posting is exercise 1.1c. Make sure you post a response to at least on person.

Posting is meant to be a no-stress matter. Do these to learn and (optionally) discuss with others. Credit is pretty easy so long as you do the posting. However, Topic 2 has a must-do-on-time Moodle Quiz.

AGAIN: DO ALL THE CAFE EXERCISES ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHAPTERS AND TUTORIALS ASSIGNED. For Topic 2, tutorial 5 of chapter 1 is in gold; the material in GOLD is completly optional.

Topic 1: I 1-2 (posting: 1.1c)
Topic 2: I 3-4 (Moodle quiz)
Topic 3: II 1-3 (posting: 2.1b)
Topic 4: II 4-5, IV 1 (Moodle quiz)
Topic 5: III 1, IV 2-3 (posting: 3.1b)
Topic 6: IV 4-5, V 1 (Moodle quiz)
Topic 7: III 2, V 2 (posting: 5.1a)

Midterm Exam (in the topic 7 period)

Topic 8: V 3-4 (Moodle quiz)
Topic 9: III 3, V 5 (posting: 3.2a)
Topic 10: V 6, 7, VI 1 (Moodle quiz) 
Topic 11: III 4, VI 2 (posting: 3.4b)
Topic 12: VI 3-5, VII 1, (Moodle quiz)
Topic 13: III 5, VII 2 (posting: 3.5c)
Topic 14: VII 3, (Moodle quiz)

Final Exam ( after the topic 14 period)

Grades with approximate percentage weights: 5% each for Moodle Postings, Posting commentaries, WebEx attendance, Online Lecture attendance, and cafe checks, 20% for weekly Moodle quizzes, 22.5% for the midterm, 32.5% for the final. The course grade will be based on a straight scale: 90% is the lowest A (3.6), 80% the lowest B (3.0), 70% the lowest C (2.0), and 60% the lowest passing grade (1.0).
   Homework is essential as a study tool for the exams (60% of the course grade!), but the postings are the only part of the homework that can be graded. Reply to at least one other person about his or her posting.

Some other matters:

  • Need a paper textbook? Try printing the Reference Manual. Also, tutorial "wrap-ups" are available to save or print. You may also buy a textbook from another author. An out of date Power of Logic (Layman) or A Concise Introduction to Logic (Hurley) is available cheaply from Internet vendors. But do remember that you will be responsible for the terminology and methods only of the Logic Cafe. A supplementary textbook is only that, supplementary.
  • Araucaria and postings: Each "odd" topic, Topic 1, Topic 3, Topic 5, etc., will include a posting. For this, you'll need a program to draw up the structure of reasoning. Araucaria is my choice because it's free and does everything we'll need. BUT about half my students like it and half hate it. If you're in the unhappy half, then we'll find an alternative drawing program! Don't sweat Araucaria! (You may want to use Paint instead and save as a .gif file. Or write things out by hand, scan, and post. We'll make this work for you.)
         Also, after you do your own posting, you are to reply to at least one other person about his or her posting.
         You may want to start now by downloading the Araucaria software. Hint: Download and install one of the the larger files meant for your computer type, the one "with VM".
        I think the program works well once you get used to it. However, if you end up hating Araucaria, you can use other programs like Paint to draw and annotate your arguments. (Sometimes students just hate Araucaria. Some like it. It's just one tool to help you think about drawing up the structure of reasoning.)
  • Computer/Hardware Help:
    Your tuition dollars are paying for this place even if you don't set foot on campus. It's a good place to get computer advice. But you can call even if you don't visit:

    Student Technology Center
    44 Oakland Center
    2200 N. Squirrel Road
    Rochester, MI 48309-4401
    (248) 370-4TEC (4832)
    Fall/Winter Hours:
    M-TH: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
    F: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Summer Hours:
    M-F: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Moodle Help: If you need assistance with the Moodle and using your computer, try e-Learning at OU, or 248-370-4566.


Cheating (including plagiarism) is a serious offense. I've seen students suspended lately by the Academic Conduct Committee. They are getting very tough! If you're not sure what counts as appropriate help to or from fellow students, just ask me. And see the OU catalog for details.

                                               General Education Boilerplate

4 Credits

Course Catalog Description:

We examine the relationship between conclusions and statements given in support of them. In addition to elementary deductive and inductive logic, topics may include analysis of ordinary arguments, arguments by analogy and informal fallacies.
This class satisfies the University General Education requirement in Formal Reasoning.

General Education Learning Outcomes:

1. The student will demonstrate knowledge of one or more formal reasoning systems of logic in evaluating arguments.
2. The student will demonstrate application of formal reasoning to read, understand, model
and solve problems across a variety of writing and argumentative applications.

Cross-Cutting Capacities:
This course serves the cross-cutting capacities of critical thinking and effective communication. Critical thinking is present in all parts of the course, in identifying premises and conclusions of arguments, in clarifying meanings of statements, in translating arguments into formal or symbolic form (in syllogistic logic or in propositional logic) and in assessing the strength of arguments. Effective communication is thereby also enhanced, particularly communication involved in presenting one’s own arguments and in effectively responding to the arguments of others (verbally or in writing).