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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2000
If you've never studied any formal Logic before then this book is ideal. It's clear and concise; the chapters are quite short and they follow well from each other. The book introduces a number of Philosophical Problems like the "Thunderplow", and exposes the fundamental flaws in ideas by using methods developed in the book, e.g. The Cosmological Argument. Don't be scared by the formal notation that Priest introduces into the book; I can never understand why people shy away from anything that looks slightly Mathematical. The notation adds clarity and is very easy to follow (and a good way to impress friends). Other good features include a summary at the end of each chapter; exercises on each chapter with answers on the Internet; and a quick-reference glossary of terms. Indeed, this book is such a good introduction to Logic I should give it Five Stars. The reason I didn't is that it is a bit too short; you feel it lacks a certain something. One final thing, it is really nicely presented, right down to the glossy paper and clever outer cover (buy it and you'll see!).
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2002
..this book is a very good introduction to logic, a fundamental aspect of philosohpy and mathematics. For example, logical propositions are constructed as a so called fraction with the premiss as the "numerator" and the conclusion as the "denominator", and this is explained clearly on page 7 out of 109.
The book condenses a wide range of loigcal topics into 109 pages very well, and as it says on the back cover 'it does not attempt to be a text-book' but rather provides a basic introduction to logic.
Any one with a difficulty, perhaps, to mathemtics and symbols might find this book slighlty challenging, but even then the symbols are explained so well it should be no problem. Besides, one cannot hope to be introduced to a technical subject, similar but not the same as mathematics, without the use of symbols.
The whole text is very thought provoking and mentally stimulating, and further questions for consideration are provided a the back, as well as a further reading list.
So, this book is a good introduction for anyone interested in formal logic, mathematics, computers etc., irrespective of previous knowledge.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2009
I was fairly pleased after reading this book, with an acquaintance of some basic formal logic, and a fresh outlook on reasoning.

The book deals with some fascinating issues such as arguments for and against God's existence (and how they are flawed), and some strange concepts on time.
I certainly left the book realising how much logic has to do with real life, and Graham Priest lays out the book well: there is logic notation which is easy to grasp; questions at the end that can check your knowledge; main ideas are summarised at the end of each chapter; and the short chapters present key individual ideas which vary the book to keep you interested.

Why then in the light of the above reasons did I give it four stars? I found that after a while Priest's power of explanation declined when you most needed it in the harder topics, and I had to re-read a few sections.

This was my first book on logic and I for one can say that it was not an ideal introduction, it was interesting but some bits were hard to grasp. I recommend this book, but if you have not studied logic before or read about it, then you may encounter some problems.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Graham Priest is author of several books on logic, including 'An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic' and 'Towards Non-Being: The Logic And Metaphysics Of Intentionality'. He has experience as a professor of logic at the University of Queensland in helping to determine the needs of those who are in need of logic help. This book, part of the Very Short Introductions series of Oxford University, is both an introduction and a refresher for those who have had logic before. Because of its brevity, it might be a bit too condensed for those looking for a logic course; however, used together with a larger text (Copi's logic book is the one I used in my early logic days), this VSI book provides good supplemental information and helps clarify key points.
This book provides an introduction both to symbolic logic as well as linguistic logic. Issues such as probability, truth and fact statements, conditional statements, decision theory and validity are all presented in clear, concise ways. There are fourteen chapters (a lot of chapters for book with barely over 100 pages of text), and each chapter deals with a few key points summarised in a pull-quote box at the end of each chapter. There are diagrams, sentences and equations to illustrate the points in visual as well as language terms.
The final chapter, 'A Little History and Some Further Reading', is a good short review of key figures and historical issues that underpin the material presented in the previous chapters. There is a helpful glossary of terms, and Priest also provides a page of logic puzzles and problems to be worked by the students, keyed to an Oxford University Press website that has the solutions to the questions.
This is a good book for review of logic prior to taking tests (such as the LSAT) or graduate courses that require understanding of logical thought processes (systematic theology or philosophy). As some reviewers have noted, this is not a lock-step presentation of standard analytic logic (indeed, many of Priest's other writings have a more non-standard approach), but does provide some good insights in the overall way in which logic is structured and done.
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on 20 April 2014
As far as I know this book is unique.

There are many excellent introductions to mathematical logic allowing the reader to learn the skills and methods of modern symbolic logic. Usually, these introductions go quite deep in one narrow topic, typically, they would provide the details of completeness of first-order logic and incompleteness of arithmetic. But studying these topics, one easily looses sight of what logic is really about and what a wide variety of interesting topics can be tackled using these mathematical methods.

This very short introduction manages to introduce a wide variety of interesting topics outside this standard curriculum and carefully explains the original problems motivating these topics. This is done completely avoiding, or at least almost completely avoiding, technical jargon. The list of topics include: modalities, time, self-reference, conditionals, vagueness, many-valued logics, probability, decision theory.

I would think the book to be most valuable to students who aquired a degree of formal training in mathematical logic and are keen to employ it in areas further away from the mainstream of classical logic. But also a reader not interested in the mathematical aspects of logics will be able to follow the discussion. Further, many of the non-classical logics touched upon in the book are highly relevant to ongoing developments in computer science. Finally, any teacher of logic will find inspiration for her or his classes.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This book is really not an introductory text.
It does delve too deep for someone not acquainted with formal logic.
The Icon Series Introducig Logic is a much easier read and gives a more comprehensive overview of the subject.
This book is probably better read by someone who has a background in the subject.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2010
This book is so much fun for those who want a rigorous introduction to Logic but want to read this before going to bed...
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2001
As a computer programmer I thought a discussion of formal logic would be interesting, and it probably will be when I can find the time to sit down and study this book.
Don't be fooled by the 'very short introduction' subtitle into thinking this is light reading! The book dives fairly quickly into an algebraic notation which is obscure and not fully explained. Why are logic problems written as fractions? The book doesn't explain.
Perhaps formal logic doesn't lend itself to this kind of concise summary, or the author just hasn't got the knack of explaining things clearly to the non mathematician. I certainly didn't find the examples he used particularly clear.
If you are coming to formal logic fresh - as I was, you may find this book hard work.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2013
One of the many things that makes books better than chocolate is that once consumed you can consume all over again. The second time all becomes clearer than the first. Perhaps I will read it a third time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2013
Masterpiece of compression and with a very light touch. Gives the bare bones of a dozen areas of logic and even has space to discuss contentious issues in each.
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