Introduction to Formal Logic

with Joelle Hodge

This course is a thorough introduction to formal logic and is designed to both acquaint you with the elements of formal logic and equip you to teach formal logic to upper school students. In our view, every classical educator should be familiar with the main elements of formal logic and how they apply to all learning. This course will provide that skill and also familiarize educators with this fundamental liberal art. In addition, you will learn from a veteran logic teacher and author of two logic books: Joelle Hodge.

This course carefully follows the book The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic. We highly recommend purchasing the text for reference throughout the course.

This course follows the organizational theme of the book The Discovery of DeductionCorresponding readings from this text are listed within each lesson, as well as supplementary, recommended readings from Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft. We also recommend The Art of Argument for those not yet familiar with the informal fallacies. You may also take a course on the logical fallacies (informal logic) right here on ClassicalU.

Here is the outline of the course:

  • Lesson 1 (Introduction): How to teach logic classically, balancing rigor with rest or scholé
  • Lesson 2: The role of logic as a core discipline or art. Why study logic?
  • Lesson 3: The relationship between formal and informal logic
  • Lesson 4: The classical origins and medieval recovery of formal logic. Helping students appreciate the history of formal logic.
  • Lesson 5: Formal logic and the three acts of the mind: simple apprehension, understanding, judgment
  • Lesson 6: How to translate propositions into categorical form
  • Lesson 7: Relationships of opposition, the square of opposition: contradiction, contrariety, subcontrariety, subimplication, superimplication
  • Lesson 8: Relationships of equivalence and logical equations
  • Lesson 9: Categorical syllogisms: validity, arrangement, enthymemes, moods, and figures
  • Lesson 10: Determining the validity of a syllogism
  • Lesson 11: Terms and definitions
  • Lesson 12: Developing the end-of-year project

Joelle Hodge holds a BA in history/political science from Messiah College in Pennsylvania. She began her career as a staffer to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) before finding her professional home in the world of classical education in 1999. She has more than eighteen years of logic-teaching experience—many of which were spent at a classical school in Harrisburg, PA. There she also developed much of their logic and rhetoric curricula. She has coauthored two logic books, The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies and The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic, both published by Classical Academic Press. Currently, Classical Academic Press hosts Joelle’s consultant offerings, where she engages with educators across the country, tailoring workshops for classical schools and co-ops that seek to train their teachers in the fundamentals of dialectic and rhetoric-stage pedagogy. Joelle is also a senior teacher for the online Scholé Academy.

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