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PY1012   Reasoning

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 20

ECTS credits : 10

Level : SCQF level 7

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: 5.00 pm - 6.00 pm Mon, Tue, Thu

This module introduces the essential concepts and techniques of critical reasoning, formal propositional logic, and basic predicate logic. Among the central questions are these: what distinguishes an argument from a mere rhetorical ploy? What makes an argument a good one? How can we formally prove that a conclusion follows from some premises? In addressing these questions, we will also cover topics such as argumentative fallacies, ambiguity, argument forms and analyses, induction versus deduction, counterexamples, truth-tables, truth-trees (tableaux), natural deduction, and quantification.

Relationship to other modules

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take PY1802

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures and 1 tutorial.

Scheduled learning hours: 43

Guided independent study hours: 157

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 50% Coursework; 50% exam

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator: Professor G A Restall
Module teaching staff: Team taught

Intended learning outcomes

  • Understand and evaluate the different roles that informal and formal reasoning can play, for an individual or for a group, and gain experience in constructing arguments, evaluating arguments, and responding to them.
  • Evaluate informal arguments, to understand and avoid argumentative fallacies, to identify the forms of arguments, and break down a longer argument into steps that can be checked.
  • Construct counterexamples to invalid arguments, and to evaluate different options for responding to counterexamples.
  • Reconstruct simple arguments in sentential logic and predicate logic and prove whether they are valid or invalid.
  • Use the tools of elementary formal logic, including the proof theory and semantics of propositional and first order logic.