In a general description from the UCF Undergraduate Catalog, Formal Logic I is “A study of sentence and predicate logics, with introduction to modal, epistemic, deontic, multi-valued, and indeterminant logics.” That’s a lot to digest all at once, isn’t it? What does this mean? Well, let’s see.
Sentence Logic is the kind of logic with which you are familiar in which arguments such as “If P implies Q and Q implies R, then P implies R” are the subject-matter. It might sound a bit less than fully fascinating when put like this, but it’s very useful stuff and, once you are accustomed to the symbol system and can manipulate symbols with some facility, it’s even fun (most of the time). Predicate logic is a much more powerful system of logical reasoning that encompasses, in a broad way of speaking, the insights of both sentence logic and traditional, Aristotelian Logic. Aristotle’s logic is a rather closed and limited system of argumentation, having the capacity to create and test only 256 different forms of argument. But his is the logic of classes or categories and their relationships, and even though it has to some extent been overshadowed by modern and more contemporary versions of logic, it is still useful and interesting in its own right, and it has applications even today for a variety of purposes.
I am not teaching formal logic I in the fall term 2011. I miss it already. …
Updated 050915: It’s been a long time since I taught formal logic. Being in administration does that. There’s only time for about 1 class a year. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about logic a lot. It was always fun to teach and the students liked it a lot, too.