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 doing reductio ad absurdum." (Logic joke)

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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About Austin Gerth


Austin Gerth

Writing & Philosophy

Connect with Austin Gerth

Twitter: @Austin_Gerth

Hello everyone! I’m Austin Gerth, class of 2016, from scenic Princeton, Minnesota. My hobbies include listening to and playing music, reading, watching movies, and thinking about things. I’m majoring in Writing. After college, I hope to be either some sort of writer or some sort of homeless (or both). I chose to come to Concordia mostly for the food, though it has a lot of other good qualities as well. Since coming to Concordia I’ve been to dorm room eggnog parties and late-night viral video productions; I’ve listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake and blindly taken a yoga class with no prior experience; I’ve participated in a heroically unproductive religion study group and fallen asleep in the campus center. On top of these things, I’ve also received a superlative education. If you like wind and pizza, you’ll like Fargo-Moorhead, and if you like corn-oriented humor, semi-gourmet cafeteria food, or late-night intellectual behavior, you’ll like Concordia. If you like all of the above, you’re probably already here and we’re probably already friends.