The 2017 Spring Meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic will be held jointly with the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association, April 12-15, 2017, in Seattle. The members of the Program Committee are Wesley Holliday, Audrey Yap, and Richard Zach (Chair). There will be three Special Sessions: Modality and … Continue reading ASL Spring Meeting at the APA Pacific, Seattle, April 2017
The Fall 2016 edition of the OLP remix Sets, Logic, Computation is ready. As before, it includes the OLP part on sets, relations, and functions; the part on first-order logic (with natural deduction chosen as the proof system); and the part on Turing computability including the unsolvability of the halting and decision problems. The methods chapter on induction and biographies of Cantor, Church, Gentzen, Gödel, Noether, Russell, Tarski, Turing, and Zermelo appear as appendices. At students’ request, problems are now listed at the end of each chapter. Many typos and errors have been corrected, a number of examples and problems have been added, and several proofs rewritten for clarity. I’ve also added chapter summaries and a glossary. There are also a few added sections, notably introduction sections to Chapters 5 and 7, as well as discussion of Russell’s Paradox in both Chapter 1 and 6. You can order a printed copy on Lulu, or download the PDF from the builds page. SLC F16
You’ve probably seen some of the line art portraits of logicians we’ve commissioned. They were done by Calgary illustrator and graphic designer Matthew Leadbeater. We’re pleased to release them all now under a Creative Commons BY-NC license: anyone is free to use them in their own work, to create derivative works from them, and to share them, provided (a) credit to Matt Leadbeater is properly given and (see license terms!) (b) they are not used for any commercial purposes. They each come in two versions, one with a line below, and one with the portrait in a circle. You can download the original Adobe Illustrator files. For PNG and PDF formats, we have set up a GitHub repository. Commissioning these illustrations was made possible by a grant from the Alberta OER initiative. We gratefully acknowledge the support. [Bonus: an image file with all of them that tiles nicely, for your desktop background.]
In the Winter term 2016, I taught the University of Calgary’s second logic course from a textbook remixed from the Open Logic Project. Traditionally, Logic II has used Boolos, Burgess & Jeffrey’s Computability and Logic, and it was taught in Fall 2015 using that book as the required text by my colleague Ali Kazmi, and before that by him, Nicole, and me twice a year from that same book. One aim Nicole and I had specifically for the OLP was that it should provide a better text for Logic II, since neither we nor our students seemed to be very happy with “BBJ”. In order to ascertain that the OLP-derived text fares better with students, we did something radical: we asked them what they thought of it. Ali graciously gave permission to run the same textbook survey in his class, so we have something of a baseline. A direct comparison of the two books as textbooks for the course is not easily made, since Ali and I used the books differently: I stuck closer to my text than he did to BBJ; I assigned homework problems from the text; and we assessed students differently, so it’s difficult to control for or compare teaching outcomes. With small samples like ours the results are probably also not statistically significant. But the results are nevertheless interesting, I think, and also gratifying. We obtained clearance from the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board for the study. All students in each section of Logic II in F15 and W16 were sent links to an electronic survey. As an incentive to participate, one respondent from each group was selected to receive a $100 gift certificate to the University of Calgary bookstore. The surveys were started in the last week of classes and remained open for 3 weeks each. Response rates were comparable (23/43 in F15, 23/42 in W16). The survey was anonymous and administered by staff from the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning; results were not given to us until past the grade appeal deadline in W16. We asked 23 questions. The first three regarded how students accessed and used the textbooks. In the F15 section, the textbook was not made available electronically, but students were expected to buy their own copy (about $40). Most respondents did that, although almost a quarter apparently pirated electronic copies. In W16, the OLP-derived text was available for free in PDF and students had the option to buy a print copy at $10. Over half the respondents still opted to buy a copy. We asked students how they used the texts in hardcopy and electronic form. Textbook Assessment and Usage Scale” by Regan Gurung and Ryan Martin. On all but one of these questions, the OLP-derived text scored positive (4 or 5 on a 5-point Likert scale) from over half the respondents. The discrepancy to students’ opinions of BBJ is starkest in the overall evaluations:
We also asked demographic data. Respondents from both sections were similar: almost all men in each (the course is mainly taken by Computer Science and Philosophy majors), evenly divided among 2nd, 3rd, 4th year students plus a couple of grad students in each (Logic II is required for the Philosophy PhD program). Student in W16 expected higher grades than those in F15, but that may well be just an effect of differences in assessment and grading style rather than better student performance.
I added a few more logician’s photos: Carnap, Herbrand, Kalmar, Lewis, Kleene, Montague, Quine, Wang. See previous post on how to download/integrate them into your OLP directory.