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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High Marks for Clarity, Good for Self-Tutorial - Offers Historical Perspective, September 17, 2005
This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
An Introduction to Symbolic Logic by Susanne K. Langer is quite useful for self-tutorial purposes. The author's informal, wordy, enthusiastic, narrative style is quite engaging, and should appeal to readers new to this topic. Her explanations are detailed and carefully constructed.

However, Langer's classic text is now rather dated; her first edition (1937) is credited with being the first introductory level text on symbolic logic. The second (1953) and third (1967) editions offer new prefaces, updated reading lists, and expanded appendices, but are not dramatically changed. The third edition (1967) is still available in an inexpensive Dover reprint.

Symbolic logic was a young discipline when Langer was writing her first edition. The classic work of Boole, De Morgan, Schroeder, Peano, and Frege had all occurred in previous seven decades. Not everyone agreed, but many logicians still viewed Whitehead and Russell's monumental Principia Mathematica (1910-1913) as the detailed reduction of all of mathematics to logic.

Susanne Langer's personal choice of some symbols now seems idiosyncratic, but to be fair it should be noted that even today's textbooks have yet to agree fully on a standard set of logic symbols. What really dates Langer's text is her effusive admiration for the "logistic masterpiece" of Whitehead and Russell. Not surprisingly, her text culminates, after much preparation, in two final chapters devoted to Principia Mathematica and logistics. Reading Langer is like reading history. (And I for one do enjoy reading classic mathematical texts, monographs, and papers.)

Langer's early chapters include the essentials of logical structures, generalization, classes, principal relations among classes, and the universe of classes. The latter half is more challenging with chapters titled The Deductive System of Classes, The Algebra of Logic, Abstraction and Interpretation, The Calculus of Propositions, and of course, The Assumptions of Principia Mathematica. Readers already familiar with the fundamentals of symbolic logic might skip the early chapters.

Langer made no mention of Godel's incompleteness theorem despite its direct reference to Russell and Whitehead's work. Godel's classic 1931 paper was titled "On formally undecidable propositions of Principia Mathematica and other related systems". Perhaps, Godel's work was judged too technical for an introductory text.

My review refers to the second edition of An Introduction to Symbolic Logic. My 1953 soft cover Dover edition, a library discard, is still in surprisingly good condition.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Langer triumphs, March 27, 2000
By 
Prof Bob Meyer (Canberra, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This is the book that introduced me to logic. It enthused me so much that I became a professional logician, a career that I have pursued for 35 years. Langer points out that, once one becomes acquainted with modern symbolic logic, one can go on to do groundbreaking research. This is true.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clear introduction to a difficult subject, May 3, 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Symbolic Logic can be a very daunting study, even to those already familiar with traditional Aristotelian logic. Langer's book, however, makes symbolic logic comprehensible to the average educated person, so that the array of logical symbols and mathematical formulae employed in symbolic logic seem not so intimidating after all. Clarity of presentation is this book's chief virtue. Admittedly, it is a bit dated, but for someone approaching the study of symbolic logic for the first time, it cannot be surpassed. It would make a suitable textbook for an introductory course in Logic, perhaps in combination with Mary Michael Spangler's "Logic: An Aristotelian Approach" (a good choice for traditional deductive logic).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic logic text, July 13, 2008
By 
Roger Bagula "Roger L. Bagula" (Lakeside, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
The text has a first edition that is pre-computer in 1953.
At the time this was written the notation "And", "Or",and "Xor"
wasn't in use: the author uses "X" for "And" and "+" for "Or".
So in some ways this approach is closer to the algebraic
approach than the modern symbolic version used to teach
logical circuit analysis in electronics.
Logic has gone through several changes:
1) the syllogistic age of Lewis (Charles Dodgeson) Carroll
2) the axiomatic of Russell
3) the symbolic calculus of Church and Turing in the 40's and 50's
4) the modern version for computers
This treatment appears to ignore the later British approach
to some extent, but does a very good job of explaining
most of the theory behind axiomatic logical structure.
The result is good readable introduction to logic for beginners
that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
I think it might do to edit this text with a "modernization'
translation section, so students will be less confused.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction, December 19, 1999
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This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
A truly wonderful introduction to symbolic logic. One of the best.
It covers boolean algebra, propositional calculus, and Russell and Whitehead's logistic.
A charming and delightful book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, December 1, 2012
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This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Good book, I have finish it and want to try another time. the quality of book is just so so. some pages are loosen,
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding introduction, September 5, 2001
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This review is from: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This is a great introduction. It progresses clearly so you can always understand the new stuff in terms of the previous stuff.
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An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition
An Introduction to Symbolic Logic, 3rd Edition by Susanne K. Langer (Paperback - 1967)
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