Logic Courseware?

Kit Fine asked me for suggestions of online logic materials that have some interactive component, i.e., ways for students to build truth-tables, evaluate arguments, translate sentences, build models, and do derivations; ideally it would not just provide feedback to the student but also grade problems and tests. There is of course Barwise & Etchemendy’s Language, Proof, and Logic, which comes with software to do these things very well and also has a grading service. But are there things that are free, preferably online, preferably open source?

  • First we have David Kaplan’s Logic 2010. It’s written in Java, runs on Windows and Mac, is free but not open source, and has a free online grading component. It goes with Terry Parson’s An Exposition of Symbolic Logic, which is also free. To use the software and grading service, you’d have to make arrangements with David. The text does propositional and first-order logic including models and Kalish-Montague derivations. I haven’t tried the software, but it’s used in a number of places.
    [Free software Free book Online ✗ Open source ✗]
  • UPDATE: Carnap is an open source framework for writing webapps for teaching logic written by Graham Leach-Krouse and Jake Ehrlich. It comes with a (free, but not openly licensed) online book, and currently can check truth tables, translations, and Kalish-Montague derivations (and they are working on first-order models). Students can have accounts and submit exercises. The software is written in Haskell and is open-source (see Github). It’s used at Kansas Sate and the University of Birmingham.
    [Free software Free book Online Open source ]
  • Kevin Klement is teaching logic from the (free) book by Hardegree, Symbolic Logic: A First Course. (There’s a newer version that doesn’t seem to be freely available.) He has an online component (exercises and practice exams) with multiple-choice questions, truth tables, translations, and Fitch-style derivations. I’m not sure if the backend code for all of this is available and could be adapted to your own needs. He has provided a version of the proof checker that works with the Cambridge and Calgary versions of forall x, and that code is open source, however. I’m not sure if it’s possible to add the functionality he has on the UMass site for saving student work. Neither the book nor the online exercises cover models for first-order logic.
    [Free software ✓ Free book ✓ Online ✓ Open source ?]
  • The Logic Daemon by Colin Allen and Chris Menzel accompanies Allen and Michael Hand’s Logic Primer. It can check truth-tables, models, and Suppes-Lemmon derivations, and generate quizzes. The interface is basic but the functionality is extensive. There doesn’t seem to be a grading option, however. Software seems to be written in Perl, I didn’t see the source code available.
    [Free software ✓ Free book ✗ Online ✓ Open source ✗]
  • Then there is Ray Jennings and Nicole Friedrich’s Project Ara, which includes Simon, a logic tutor, and Simon Says, a grading program. The textbook is Proof and Consequence, published by Broadview (ie, not free). It does truth-tables, translations, and Suppes-style derivations, and also no models. It requires installing software on your own computer, but it’s free and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The software is free but not open source. I haven’t tried it out. (That website though!)
    [Free software ✓ Free book ✗ Online ✗ Open source ✗]
  • Wilfried Sieg’s group has developed AProS, which includes proof and counterexample construction tools. I don’t think these are openly available, however. It’s used in Logic & Proofs, offered through CMU’s Open Learning Initiative. According to the description, it’s available both as a self-paced course and for other academic institutions to use for a self-paced format or for a traditional course with computer support. Not sure what the conditions are, whether it’s free or not, and have inspected neither the texts nor tried out the software.
    [Free software ? Free book ? Online ✗ Open source ✗]

Do you know of anything else that could be used to teach a course with an online or electronic component? Any experience with the options above?

3 thoughts on “Logic Courseware?

  1. From Brian Rabern:

    I have been developing a logic program called “əlogic” for use in teaching Logic 1 at Edinburgh—a large 400 student course that runs every year.

    Background: The idea behind əlogic was that all the extant programs are a bit clunky, and often have issues with downloading on university computers, etc. A cs student (Henri Maurer) who took my class is great with web-based applications and excels at user interface (and has interest in online teaching aids), so we teamed up with a small grant from the university to develop a better teaching tool. We rolled it out last year in my course. It went great for the most part but inevitably had various bugs and issues. We are currently doing a major overhaul for v2 with improvements and further features, which we will use Spring 2018.

    Students register and login, and the system keeps track of their progress. As of now its got a derivation interface, which checks derivations and gives helpful error messages for K&M style FOL. It also has a semantic component, in the form of a model checker, where students are instructed to enter a counter model for an invalid argument. The instructor privileges allow entry of new problems. We are working on lots of features such as “exercise sharing” between students, an extensive exercise library, and game-like features such as “unlocking” derived rules, stars for the “shortest proof”, etc.

    We are going to keep it under-wraps while we do the overhaul. The rights and permissions on this are a bit up in the air, though we are aiming for some kind of opensource set up. But we also need funding to develop and sustain it. We are currently looking at all options on this front.

    So stay tuned…

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