The most recent edition of Intermediate Logic has two new sections, Unit 4 and Unit 5. I’ve included these new units in the text because I wanted to answer the important question, “What are some practical applications of the tools that we are learning about, i.e. truth tables, formal proofs, and truth trees?” I believe that the applications of these tools in the new units will deepen and solidify student understanding of the concepts that, up to that point, have been largely theoretical.
Unit 4 (Lesson 28) gives logic students the opportunity to analyze chains of reasoning. The arguments to be analyzed are taken from Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy, the Apostle Paul’s argument proving the general resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians 15, and a section on angelic will from Augustine’s City of God. I work through this last one in full on the DVD.
An exercise not in the text that may be beneficial would be to have students write their own chains of reasoning, arguing for a conclusion of their choosing, in imitation of these authors. Their arguments must include at least one NOT, AND, and OR, and two IF/THENs. Tell them to include a truth-table or truth-tree analysis of their own chain of reasoning.
Unit 5 (Lessons 29-40) teaches students how to apply what they have learned to the fascinating topic of Digital Logic. Do not be intimidated by the 0’s, 1’s, and new symbols. It’s just the same old true, false, and logical operators that they have already learned about presented in a new way. Students often find this a fun application of what they have learned. It helps them to understand the electronic world around them, and it shows that the tools that they have learned apply not only to philosophy and theology, but to digital clocks and iPhones!