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Logic: A Very Short Introduction

Graham Priest
Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 
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The Basic Library List Committee suggests that undergraduate mathematics libraries consider this book for acquisition.

[Reviewed by
Terry McDonald
, on

The basic principles of logic can be difficult to understand. This book, however, provides its readers with a very brief yet powerful introduction to logic. The author has produced a text that is fun and accessible to the reader without sacrificing content in elementary logic. The way the author chose to structure the subject matter of the book worked very well. I especially enjoyed the paradoxes that the author chose to highlight throughout the text. I found the chapters that dealt with the existence of God (or a god) to be very entertaining.

The topics discussed by the author in the last two chapters were thoughtful additions to the first edition. The chapter involving Alan Turing and computing was an effective tie to the previous chapters involving Leibniz. The last chapter on how Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems spoiled Hilbert’s attempt to prove that mathematics was consistent was an interesting way to introduce one of the most influential logicians of his time.

Terry McDonald is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Preface to Second Edition
Preface to First Edition
1. Validity: what follows from what?
2. Truth funtions - or not?
3. Names and quantifiers: is nothing something?
4. Descriptions and existence: did the Greeks worship Zeus?
5. Self-reference: What is this chapter about?
6. Necessity and possibility: what will be must be?
7. Conditionals: what's in an if?
8. The future and the past: is time real?
9. Identity and change: is anything ever the same?
10. Vagueness: how do you stop sliding down a slippery slope?
11. Probability: the strange case of the missing reference class
12. Inverse probability: you can't be indifferent about it!
13. Decision theory: great expectations
14. Halt! What goes there?
15. Maybe it is true - but you can't prove it!
A little history and some further reading
Problem solutions
General index