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Logic for Philosophy

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199575596
ISBN-10: 0199575592
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About the Author

Theodore Sider is Professor of Philosophy at New York University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199575592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199575596
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Pi on December 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I took Ted Sider's class at NYU, for which we used this book as the text. It is really an excellent intro to logic -- accessible without scrimping on technical details. It is also very comprehensive for a single-volume logic intro, covering many of the varieties of logic that are found in contemporary analytic philosophy.

Some caveats: firstly, this book is indeed an "intro" to some less-than-standard logics, but it is not an "intro" generally, and it really falls more squarely in the category of "intermediate" difficulty (filling a rather gaping hole in the available literature, between bare introduction and technical jungle). Readers looking for a purely beginning introduction to formal logic should look elsewhere (there is an abundance of good material at that level). Secondly, the purpose of the book is quite clearly to provide the technical equipment required for a working knowledge of certain logic-heavy areas of philosophy, and this book is not aimed particularly toward, say, mathematicians. That said, as an overview aimed at providing a solid groundwork for understanding the many flavors of logic one encounters in philosophical writing, it is probably the best book you can get, in my humble opinion. A solid second-place goes to that two-volume series by LTF Gamut, which is also quite widely available, and shares many of the same merits as this.
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Format: Paperback
First let me say that the writing in this book is terrifically clear. The presentation of logical material is really good and the author hits all the right notes in the philosophical asides that show up now and again. Depending on your background this book could be a worthwhile read. So why only three stars? My complaint is that this book is superfluous. Let me explain. The aim of this book is to provide an introduction to more advanced topics in logic, especially those that are of interest to philosophers. As such the book covers a tremendous amount of material including some basic metalogic for propositional and predicate logic, modal propositional logic, quantified modal logic, tense logic, deontic logic, three valued-logic, intuitionistic logic... you get the picture. And it manages all this in a rather skimpy 280 pages. As a result the coverage of each of these topics is very cursory. This means that, to my mind, any student who wants to really understand any of these topics is going to have to read some more thoroughly presented material anyway. So why not just read the thorough material in the first place, rather than this book. The flip-side of this problem is that the book is not particularly introductory. That is to say, if you can read Sider's book and understand it, you can probably read and understand many of the other logic texts out there. So, though the book is supposed to be an introduction to advanced logic, it is neither sufficiently introductory to justify its brevity, nor sufficiently detailed to justify its advanced presentation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We used this text for our advanced logic class, and like all logic books there is a good, a bad, and an ugly. First the good. Sider is an awesome writer; every chapter begins with a wonderfully clear exposition of each topic in philosophical logic. I was especially impressed by his chapter on counterfactuals; every student of those strange conditionals should start here rather than with Lewis or Stalnaker (move on to those guys after reading this!). The bad: like most logicians, Sider assumes the notation he is using will be intuitive to the reader--it is not. I doubt I could have grasped the subtleties of his method, which he repeats in every chapter, without the aid of a professor. The ugly: there are some egregious typos, one which comes to mind is on page 61 where he is proving a major rule of inference (he leaves off a negation sign).

The great thing about this book is that it covers all the major topics of deductive logic one finds in technical analytic philosophy, and it is helpful to survey if one needs a refresher on whatever one is studying at the moment. While I continue to believe there is no such thing as a good logic text book, I do think Sider's is worth owning as it can be referenced easily whenever one has a question about this or that aspect of first and second order logic.
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