Mathematical Logic

University of South Alabama, Department of Philosophy, Spring 2013

Syllabus | Schedule | Professor

General Information


Professor Ted Poston
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(or by appointment)
Humanities Building124


M,W,F 1:25-2:15pm
Humanities Building 136
1/14/2013 - 5/3/2013



This is a course in mathematical logic that will introduce important aspects of the first-order predicate logic (and its extensions), set theory, and recursion. First-order predicate logic is the most powerful system of deductive inference that is provably complete. The extensions of first order logic include axiom systems formulated within it, such as the Peano Axioms for the natural numbers. A number of important facts have been proven about first-order logic and its extensions, and we will examine some of them. The primary goal of this course is to impart a familiarity with the basic concepts and methods of logic, set theory, and recursion. This course lays the foundation for more advanced studies in logic and mathematics.


The course does not required knowledge of mathematics beyond basic linear algebra. However, it will assume that you are comfortable with some standard methods of mathematical definition and proof, so previous college-level course works in mathematics (at least one course at the 300 level or higher) or logic (PHL 321) is required. In some special cases I will waive these requirements. If you do not meet these requirements and wish to take the course please speak with me.

Course Materials


Robert Causey, Logic, Sets, and Recursion, 2nd edition (Jones & Bartlett, 2006).



Course Homepage:

COURSE Requirements


(10% of final grade)

Attendance is required in this course. By not coming to class, students will be hurting their own final course grades in several ways. First, I will periodically take attendance to keep track of who is in class and actively, regularly participating. At the end of the course, I will give each student a percentage grade that will be worth 10% of his or her final course grade. Second, less directly, students who miss classes will thereby miss important course content; as a consequence, students who miss class will not do as well on tests, homework, or in class discussion.


(45% of final grade)

I will give weekly homework assignments designed to test your comprehension of the material. This homework assignments will be due in my mailbox by Thursday evening, each week. I will return the homework the following Monday. Occasionally, I will assign problems that students will complete and explain on the board in front of the entire class.


(3 exams, each worth 15% of final grade)

The first exam will be after we complete chapter 2. The second exam after chapter 3. The final exam will be cumulative.


Final letter grades will follow a standard 10-point scale: 90-100 A, 80-89 B, 70-79 C, 60-69 D, 0-59 F. I will not be using a curve when calculating your grades.

Policies, etc.


In general, I do not allow students to make up missing homework or missed exams. I also generally don't allow students to turn in late work. Some exceptions might be made in cases where students have a valid reason excusing them and evidence of that reason (e.g., sickness and a doctor’s note).


Please turn off your electronic devices during class. This very much includes your cell phones! If you absolutely feel like you have to have your tablet or laptop with you to take notes during class, please talk to me outside of class to argue your case.


Student Academic Conduct Policy (Adopted 1988; Revised 2004, 2007) “As a community of students and scholars, the University strives to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. All members of the community are expected to exhibit honesty and competence in academic work. This responsibility can be met only through earnest and continuing effort on the part of all students and faculty. Any dishonesty related to academic work or records constitutes academic misconduct including, but not limited to, activities such as giving or receiving unauthorized aid in tests and examinations, improperly obtaining a copy of an examination, plagiarism, misrepresentation of information, or altering transcripts or university records. Academic misconduct is incompatible with the standards of the academic community. Such acts are viewed as moral and intellectual offenses and are subject to investigation and disciplinary action through appropriate university procedures. Penalties may range from the loss of credit for a particular assignment to dismissal from the University. Note that dismissal from any University of South Alabama college or school for reasons of academic misconduct will also result in permanent dismissal from the University. Faculty, students, and staff are responsible for acquainting themselves with, adhering to, and promoting policies governing academic conduct.” From The Lowdown


The University of South Alabama seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please notify the instructors and provide certification from Disability Services (Office of Special Students Services). The Office of Special Students Services is directed by Ms. Andrea Agnew and is located in the Student Center, Room 270, Phone 460-7212.