Formal Logic (PHIL 205) Challenge Exam

For information about the Formal Logic Challenge Exam, please email Dr. Isabelle Peschard at peschard@sfsu.edu.

The Department of Philosophy provides students with the opportunity to achieve credit for the material covered in PHIL 205 (Formal Logic) by passing a Challenge Exam.

The examination for the Spring semester will be given on TBA in the Philosophy Lounge, HUM 392.

There are no fees for taking the exam itself. However, if you pass the exam, because you will then receive credit for the course, you will need to pay the university fees for the three units you will receive.

For further information, or to register for the examination, please email Dr. Peschard.

You will have two and a half hours to complete the examination. The examination will have two parts: on propositional logic and on predicate logic. Each part will have exercises both on symbolization and derivation. Below you will find the list of topics covered by the examination, two references of logic textbooks that should help you to review the material, and an example of Challenge Examination.

A. In order to pass this examination, you will need to be familiar with:

In propositional logic

  1. symbolization in propositional logic (translation from English sentences to Logic sentences and from Logic sentences to English sentences);
  2. use of truth tables to determine the validity vs. invalidity of an argument, equivalence vs. non-equivalence between sentences, consistency vs. inconsistency of a set of sentences, and whether or not a sentence is logically true;
  3. derivation of a sentence from a set of premises to prove the validity of an argument and derivation of a sentence from an empty set of premises to prove the logical truth of the sentence.

In predicate logic

  1. symbolization in predicate logic (translation from English sentences to Logic sentences and from Logic sentences to English sentences);
  2. derivation of a sentence from a set of premises to prove the validity of an argument and derivation of a sentence from a empty set of premises to prove the logical truth of the sentence.

B. Logic books that should help you to prepare the examination:

The Logic Book (4th edition)

By Merrie Bergmann, James Moor, Jack Nelson. McGraw-Hill Company.

You only need to review the following chapters: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 5, chapter 7, and chapter 10.

This book is very detailed, has lots of exercises and the solution for every other question is on CD-ROM normally available with the book (if you need it, email Professor Peschard, peschard@sfsu.edu)

A Modern Formal Logic Primer

By Paul Teller. Available online.

You only need to review the following chapters: Volume I: chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , Volume II: chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

This book is less detailed, has a student-friendly writing style, and has lots of exercises with the solutions included in the book (see Solutions Manual for Volume 1 and Solutions Manual for Volume II).

Practice Exam

View the practice exam (pdf).

FAQs

Several students have asked questions about the exam. Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions:

If you are taking the Symbolic Logic Challenge Exam, you do not need to sign up for Phil 205 beforehand.

Do not worry about saving a spot for yourself in the course. If you do not do well on the challenge exam and you still need to take Phil 205, then Professor Peschard will add you even if the course is full.

You may take the Challenge Exam if you fall into one of these categories:

  • If you took a course similar to Phil 205 here or elsewhere and received below a B, and you have since spent time studying the material.
  • If you have not taken a similar elsewhere, but you have spent time studying the material. (Note: if you are in this situation, it is not recommended that you learn logic in this manner. That said, you are still permitted to take the exam.)

But you are not allowed to take the exam...

If you have been enrolled in or audited this course at any accredited university nor received credit for it.

Information about the results of the exam will be available within a few days after the exam.

If you pass the exam, then:

If you had enrolled in Phil 205, YOU MUST DROP IT BY THE WITHDRAWAL DEADLINE. Credit for the exam will show up on your transcript (but this may not happen until the next semester).

If you did not pass the Symbolic Logic Challenge Exam, then:

Nothing about the challenge exam will show up on your transcript. You still need to satisfy the prerequisite. If you are enrolled in Phil 205, you should continue in the class.

Below is excerpted from the Bulletin:

To earn credit by examination, a student must obtain approval from the department chair and graduate coordinator. Grading options will be the same as that available for the course being challenged (letter grades, from A to F).