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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 4, December 1994

Thomas J. McQuade
Pages 293-309

From Syllogism to Predicate Calculus

The purpose of this paper is to outline an alternative approach to introductory logic courses. Traditional logic courses usually focus on the method of natural deduction or introduce predicate calculus as a system. These approaches complicate the process of learning different techniques for dealing with categorical and hypothetical syllogisms such as alternate notations or alternate forms of analyzing syllogisms. The author's approach takes up observations made by Dijkstrata and assimilates them into a reasoning process based on modified notations. The author's model adopts a notation that addresses the essentials of a problem while remaining easily manipulated to serve other analytic frameworks. The author also discusses the pedagogical benefits of incorporating the model into introductory logic classes for topics ranging from syllogisms to predicate calculus. Since this method emphasizes the development of a clear and manipulable notation, students can worry less about issues of translation, can spend more energy solving problems in the terms in which they are expressed, and are better able to think in abstract terms.

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