I have been very unsatisfied with the quality of the free, open-source textbooks in logic I have found so far. Some, like P. D. Magnus's
forall x and the wikibooks Formal Logic text seem overly mathematical and too fast paced. Others, like Velleman's
blogic, don't seem to be available in book form. There are plenty of nice introductory books in logic, like Barwise & Etchemendy, Hurley, Copi & Cohen, etc. But those are all prohibitively expensive. What I am proposing to do is to write a such a textbook and release it for free in pdf and latex source code with a creative commons license (CC-BY-NC-SA probably). I want to cover basically the same information as Barwise & Etchemendy, and at about the same pace. The class I am envisioning is a standard 1 semester class in first order logic through identity.
What I want to know is which features the community here think make for an excellent introductory textbook? Here are some specific things I'd like feedback on:
- What kind of problem sets do you find most helpful? Do you like having a complete answer key, or are selected solutions in the back of the book sufficient?
- Do you think it is useful to include informal topics, i.e. fallacies?
- What about a short unit or two on inductive logic?
- Is it worth even talking about Venn Diagrams, or should we just jump right into the mechanics of contemporary quantification theory?
- Do you ever use the index or glossary of a textbook?
- How about short little bios of famous logicians like Ruth Barcan Marcus in a sidebar?
My ultimate goal here would be to create the text and then start a kickstarter to crowd-fund the development of a set of software packages for the student and instructor. If there were enough funding, I might even consider doing the Khan Academy thing and creating a series of videos teaching through the book. What do people think about that? What kind of software would be useful to you, as a student or instructor? Are there any logic teachers here interested in the "flipped classroom" approach that think these tools would be helpful to them?