## Class Profile: Symbolic Logic

#### Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2015 by Austin Gerth

This is our textbook: Beginning Logic, by E.J. Lemmon. “When life gives you Lemmons, try using reductio ad absurdum.” (Logic joke)

I’m taking a class called Symbolic Logic right now that I’ve been having a really hard time explaining to people in a way that anyone other than my roommate Connor understands. It’s like math, except I’m good at it and it’s not very much like math.

We do problems that look like this:

(P & Q) –> (P v Q) v R |- R –> (P & Q)*

That translates to something like “If P and Q are true, then necessarily either P or Q is true, or R is true. Therefore, if R is the case, then P & Q must also necessarily be the case.” Duh. In theory, if you replace the letters with actual, non-abstract logical propositions, you could model real arguments to determine their validity and/or soundness (I think).

Above I said I was good at Symbolic Logic, but frankly I was underselling it a little. I’m really good at it and I have no idea why. I’ve got the knack. And I refuse to count that as bragging because I’m legitimately surprised/excited/confused by the whole situation. There’s no precedent for me to be good at something like this. It defies logic.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a class that’s a total gas, take Symbolic Logic. Lewis Carroll was a logician, and he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; therefore, if you take a logic course, you’ll probably do something just as cool.

* The “–>” is a crude approximation of an arrow, and  “|-” is an even cruder approximation of an assertion sign. I tried. Also, don’t attempt to prove this problem because I made it up randomly and I’m pretty sure it’s not solvable.

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