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PHIL 50S: Truth, Proof and Probability: An Introduction To Philosophical and Logical Reasoning

Under what conditions does a set of true claims guarantee or make probable a particular conclusion? In this course we study rigorous tools and techniques supporting good reasoning, covering topics of particular significance to modern philosophy and logic. Contemporary philosophy continues a traditional focus on foundational problems related to value, inquiry, mind and reality, but with modern subject matter (often engaging natural, social and mathematical science) and rigorous methods, including set theory, probability theory and formal logic. This course introduces such methods, with a focus on core conceptual distinctions, motivations and debates, and basic practical skills. The presentation will be rigorous, but overly technical topics are avoided. Topics: propositional logic; valid argument forms; truth tables; Russell¿s paradox; infinite sets; kinds of truth; possibility and necessity; basic probability theory; subjective versus objective probability; Bayes¿ rule; correlation and causation. No previous philosophical or mathematical training pre-supposed. Appreciation of precise thinking an advantage. Useful preparation for relevant topics in mathematics, computer science, linguistics, economics and statistics.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Summer 2015 | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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