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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not a bad choice for an intro to logic,
By Alistair Robinson (Edinburgh, Scotland)  See all my reviews
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
I've been working through this book independently, including all of its exercises, and I'm most of the way through. While it might not be perfect, I would definitely recommend it.
It covers many of the basics of modern logic, and serves as a good introduction for anyone, student or layman. I believe it was used for many years, and until very recently, as the set text for Oxford's first year logic course for philosophy students; so it's very reliable. One cannot really learn logic without doing exercises, so this book has a small set of exercises for every topic; if you're looking for something more discursive and readable, this might be the wrong choice. Working alone I have not found it overly difficult  in fact it's good fun  but it must be approached as a course of study rather than the way you might approach a popular science book. You won't be reading ABOUT logic  you'll be DOING logic. There are a few things to bear in mind: It tries to be two things at once  a layman's introduction and a textbook  and in some ways fails at both. For those studying independently there are some sticking points: just where one would hope to find much more discussion and easing in  such as the sections on formalization  you find impenetrable proofs written out in English. Minimizing the mathematics here only succeeds in confusing the reader (though maybe it was just me). And as a textbook it is also somewhat lacking, in that its small paperback format makes it difficult to work with: you'll struggle to keep it open while you've got a pencil in your other hand, and it necessitates constant flicking back and forth. I would have preferred a large format text with extensive glossary, appendices, lists of symbols and rules, all easily accessible at the back. Also, to properly learn logic you'll need more exercises than are in here. The book uses the tableau method rather than natural deduction. I'm not experienced enough to know which is best, but in my dealings with students and philosophers it seems that the latter is favoured, especially in the context of philosophy; and it might also be worth noting that at Oxford they are moving to natural deduction for their introductory course. The book doesn't make much of an effort to place logic in the context of philosophy, and it seems to have been written from the perspective of an overly efficient logicianmathematician rather than a philosopher. Of course, this is not an important criticism if it is used as a textbook, but if you want some background and context you'll need to supplement it with something else. If you're looking for an introduction to critical thinking, informal logic, logical fallacies, and techniques for debate, this is not the right book. It is specifically aimed as an introduction to modern symbolic logic as it is taught academically today. The sections on formalization can be skipped, it says, but I chose not to. I found that these sections were very hurried, and the procedures made little sense; I kept thinking "but you should explain WHY you're doing this". Despite all this, it does achieve a balance that probably few other books achieve, between approachability for the inexperienced or those working alone, and actual utility for learning. I have stuck with it and have found it to be a good introduction to the subject.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A new realm of beauty,
By
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
I had begun to read Grayling's An Introduction to Philosophical Logic, but it soon became apparent that I would need more than the hazy logic I had picked up over my years in software development to make genuine headway. It would thus seem a detour into formal logic was in order. Hodges' book had been sitting on my shelf for some years, since an earlier fraternisation with the subject that had petered out. This time I persisted, managing to read the thing in about half a dozen sittings.
The book is divided into many short chapters, each on a distinct topic, which are bought together at two key points, the first to introduce propositional logic, and finally, at the end, first order predicate calculus. There are exercises throughout each chapter, and since to learn logic one has to do it, it is necessary to engage with these exercises if genuine comprehension is to be acquired. Most of the chapters are trivially easy, and Hodges' friendly and informal style makes them a pleasure to read. There are a handful of places where an idea is introduced, and one would really like to be able to clarify one's understanding with the author, or where, despite immediate understanding, it has implications later on which do not seem obvious. Nonetheless, it is possible to go with these questions and still get to the end having comprehended the broad structure and most of the detail of the subject. The exercises vary from trivially easy to rather opaque. Indeed, there are a few places where one is grateful that comprehensive answers to the exercises are given, so that rather than doing the exercises, one is able to follow the working out of the answers as an amplification or clarification of the main text. I estimate that by the end of the book I had an 80% understanding of what was going on. Which is to say that, in the final critical chapter where everything comes together, while I didn't feel confident to do most of the exercise questions, I was able to follow their answers and understand most of what was happening. Furthermore, I was able to precisely identify the points where my understanding broke down, leaving me with a succinct list of wouldbe questions rather than a general sense of bafflement. So, is that my fault or Hodges'? I'm pretty confident that I could read the book a second time around and come out with 9095% comprehension. As it happens though, I probably won't be doing that, because I have since got going with Smith's excellent An Introduction to Formal Logic, which largely covers the same ground but with different emphases, and with which I am proceeding very comfortably. I can't really know how difficult I would have found Smith if I had not read Hodges first. What I can say though is that, having read Hodges first, I am completely at home with the core material in Smith, and am thus able to concentrate more directly on the more subtle aspects of the subject that Smith attempts to introduce. Thus, if asked, I would say read Hodges, but don't get hung up on any details that don't at first seem clear, then read Smith. I undertook this 'detour' into formal logic to enable me to make progress with philosophical logic, and I am gratified to find that I am now able to read Grayling with far more ready comprehension. But what I did not anticipate was that I would come to a revelatory appreciation of formal logic in its own right. There is an aesthetic dimension to the subject that I was quite unprepared for, and I feel I have been given a glimpse into an abstract world of beauty that I wish to form a deeper acquaintance with. I realise that I am probably a long way from being the first of Mr Hodges' many readers to have been granted this dawning awareness, and find myself harbouring a deep sense of gratitude towards him. Thank you Mr Hodges.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
As a beginner...,
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This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
...I had to start somewhere. There are plenty of examples throughout and exercises to do. More importantly the majority of the answers are in the back of the book for those of us who are more perplexed.
Admittingly some of the methods seem perhaps a bit dated but this is still a good book to have to start you off. Just enough to raise your game but easy enough for beginners to get a grasp of. Of course if you do get into logic properly though this only really scratches the surface.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent introduction,
By
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
Wilfrid Hodges' book is a comprehensive introduction to its subject, it's attractive presentation making the complexities and abstract qualities of his themes far more accessible. The book conveys something of the history of the subject through references to key names (e.g. Carnap and Russell) and suggests the relevance of logical thought to everyday activities. An excellent introduction to the Philosophy of Logic which invites the reader though clear explanations, rather than leaving them at a distance through what might otherwise be the daunting, mathematicalstyle appearance of numbers and symbols.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good grounding, but be prepared to work at it,
By
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This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
A good solid introduction to logic (in the philosophical sense), with sensible exercises to work through to test your understanding along the way.
And that's the thing  personally I think this book is best worked through with a buddy who is equally interested in the topic, or a tutor who knows something about the subject, or at the very least someone who can check the answers through with you. Sometimes that can be a good way of telling whether you're really grasped it  explaining it to someone who has never encountered the ideas presented here before formally and seeing if they understand you! I'd suggest pairing this up with something lighter alongside, and breaking up your progress into manageable pieces, because there is a lot to wrap your head around here, before you even start contemplating other logics... Overall, as I say, a really nice solid, readable introduction  but be prepared to work at it to really get it!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Logical Choice,
By
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
Logic can be a funny and confusing subject, but this is the introduction I used for the first year of my degree course. There are different Logic systems out there, and if you're being taught you'll have to consult your syllabus  obviously this is only any good if doing Hodges' Logic, not, for example, NewtonSmith's.
I found this a good clear introduction for someone with no background in philosophy. Obviously not the most advanced text, but a simple introduction for beginners with definitions and plenty of question sets for you to try (answers in the back).
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good introduction to elementary logic,
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
I bought this book to help me with the Oxford University online course on logic, which I can thoroughly recomend, especially as it is free. I was about half way through the Oxford course and was stuck on some of the more advanced tableaux, especially those involving universal and existential quantifiers.
Professor Hodges has more content on logical analysis than the Oxford course, which moves quite rapidly to propositional calculus. I found that helpful to get a firm grounding in the subject. His explanations are generally clear and lead on from simple to more complex concepts. However he does occasionally jump a step which can be confusing. For example I still cannot work out what the horizontal lines shown at 22.3 on page 98 represent. It would also be very helpful to have a glossary of terms as, in common with many other technical subjects, about half of the knowledge comprises understanding the jargon. I am still struggling with advanced tableaux but have come to the conclusion that it is just a difficult subject that needs to be worked at. I doubt if anyone could make this fascinating field of study clearer or easier than Professor Hodges does in this book.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent introduction to formal logic.,
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
Presuming no prior knowledge neither of philosophy nor logic, Hodges' book is an excellent, non technical, introduction to the subject. Although some sections of the book are mathematical, these are clearly indicated by the author and may be skipped if the reader wishes, without detriment to the rest of the book. This book presents the classical system of formal logic, introducing the reader to both propositonal and first order predicate calculi. Unlike most introductory texts, this book uses the semantic tree tableau method of deduction which some students find easier to understand than N.D.. Although I find this method a little cumbersome, it has the advantage of translating truth tables to deduction. Hodges the reader through some elementary metatheory up to the interpolation theorem. The book concludes with a brief outline of some nonclasical logics such as modle logic and tense logic. I would recommend this book to anybody.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must have...,
By
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
... A must have, as a very good introduction to predicate logic & firstorder logic.
Also, Hodges does a excellent job on Tableaux... As a complement : "Elementary logic" by Quine.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
One for the devoted fans and hardworking students of logic,
This review is from: Logic (Paperback)
This oldfashioned book is a more formal look at Logic, and its transcription into symbols and constituents in order to evaluate the truth and validity of paragraphs. Things get pretty messy towards the end, so avoid this if you're going for a lateral thinking type approach to the area.
This is a book to inform and educate, and does so very clearly, with simple excercises to do throughout (answers in the back), and plenty of info is given in each chapter  there's no dull waffle, all vital stuff for the next chapters. Good luck with this taxing but effective look into the study of Logic. 
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Logic by Wilfrid Hodges (Paperback  29 Nov. 2001)
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