Over my 25 years of teaching logic, I have often been asked this question:
“Intermediate Logic is a challenging course, especially trying to complete it all in one semester. Is each unit equally important, or can I skip something if I can’t fit it all in?”
The short answer is “You don’t have to do it all.” Unit 1 on Truth Tables is foundational to propositional logic, as is Unit 2 on Formal Proofs. Both of these are essential and must be completed by every student. Unit 3 teaches the Truth Tree method. A truth tree is another tool that does the same job as a truth table: determining consistency, equivalence, validity, etc. Some people like truth trees more than truth tables, since they are more visual. But Unit 3 could be considered an optional unit. Unit 4 covers Applying the Tools to Arguments. This is where the rubber meets the road for propositional logic, showing how to apply what has been learned up to this point to real-life reasoning. Consequently, Unit 4 should be completed by every student. Note that if you skip Unit 3, one question in Unit 4 will have to be skipped (namely, Exercise 28c #1). Unit 5 on Digital Logic – the logic of electronic devices – is entirely optional. Like Unit 4, this unit covers a real-life application of the tools of propositional logic, but one that is more scientific (though ubiquitous in this age of computers and smart phones). Though optional, many students find that they really enjoy digital logic.
As a teacher I have sometimes skipped either truth trees or digital logic. In fact, only with my best classes have I taught both Unit 3 and Unit 5. The Teacher Edition of the Intermediate Logic text includes two different schedules, one for completing every unit, and another for skipping Unit 5.
For answers to more FAQs, take a look HERE.