I read this and ask.metafilter.com, but desire to focus on improving comprehension of difficult writing. I never studied logic and prefer a textbook with practice problems with full detailed solutions. I encountered Schaum's Outline of Logic but this is a supplementary problem book. My research revealed only contentious books; so please feel free to recommend ones unlisted below:

A Concise Introduction to Logic, 2014, by Patrick J. Hurley

Date: 2009 Sep 16  |  Score: 2/5  |  7 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
I agree with Andrew T. Fyfe's review that CD is better than the book. The book is unclear and makes it more complicated than it needs to be. I found myself many times saying to myself it would be much easier if this part was written or explained in another way. [...]

Introduction to Logic, 2014, by Irving M. Copi, Carl Cohen

Date: 2013 Mar 21 |  Score: 3/5  | 16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
[...] This does not make it a good logic text. I would rate it as for the most part adequate, meaning by this that it does some things reasonably well, but is not outstanding in any area. [...] In sum, this isn't a bad logic book. But there are better. I've used Hurley's the past 20 years and, although there are a few places where I would have done things differently, for the most part it is an excellent text.

Date: 2012 Jan 23 |  Score: 2/5  | 9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
[...] As math is a rather exacting topic, you would expect the author to clearly work out examples starting from easy to difficult, and cover a variety of examples. Additionally, have the experience to cover more complex topics with insight. There are a few times where the author does an example and then just states, 'well the answer is obvious' without stating the final answer. Yes, it's clearly obvious for you, you wrote the book, would it be that much more effort to put that in. [...]
Also, the text is often overly confusing when describing a topic. It often feels like a 'wall of text' that needs a Rosetta stone to decipher. The hallmark of a good book/teacher is the ability to clearly articulate concepts without losing any of the meaning. [...]

Introduction to Logic, 2010, by Harry Gensler (Some more obloquy here)

Date: 2014 Feb 9 |  Score: 2/5  | 3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
[...] The worst thing about this book is that it just simply does not make logic fun. Explanations of ideas are always minimal; there is very little reflection on the meaning or significance of the material being discussed; everything is presented in black and white; there are few if any logic puzzles (I don't mean normal problem sets) for students to work through. [...]

Meaning and Argument: An Introduction to Logic Through Language, 2009, by Ernest Lepore
This lone Quora review extols this, against Hurley and Kopi above.

Logic with Trees: An Introduction to Symbolic Logic , 1997, by Colin Howson

Date: 1999 Nov 18 |  Score: 2/5  | 7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
[...] However it seems clear to me that it is intended primarily as a source to provide a theorethical understanding, rather than a tool to solve logic problems. [...]

  • Read Plato. And then read Aristotle.
    – Kyle
    Feb 23 '15 at 6:25
  • @Kyle I was hoping for more specificity towards my specific goal with language.
    – NNOX Apps
    Feb 23 '15 at 13:34
  • To get anything out of a book on logic, I would think that you would already have to have very good reading comprehension. You might have a look at wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Reading-Comprehension Feb 23 '15 at 15:48
  • I enjoyed the Copi. I wouldn't necessarily make too much of a bad review.
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jan 8 '16 at 3:06

Just to contribute a possible aside, it's not completely clear that what you want is actually about logic as such as much as it's about Critical Thinking. While it's undoubtedly clear that having a strong understanding of the practices of formal logic helps your ability to interpret arguments and discussions in a tractable conceptual modelling scheme, there is a certain degree to which leaping into logic texts before otherwise developing your reading skills might be using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

My university recommends Stella Cottrell's Critical Thinking Skills as a valuable introduction, and certainly students of almost any in-depth course of study would do very well to find a similar sort of book as the first textbook they read.


I'm partial to Meaning and Argument: An Introduction to Logic Through Language for a few reasons:

  1. I have it and it's great. One of my favorite introductory logic books.
  2. It's not as formal as the others. It's easy to get bogged down in symbolic formalisms and lose sight of what you're actually trying to accomplish.
  3. It primarily focuses on language, not logic (that is, modeling natural language as opposed to mathematical logic). To me, it seems that this is what your goal is. In other words, it's more like reading Frege than Gödel.
  4. Sam Cumming is brilliant, and I've taken four or five courses with him during my time at UCLA. He was by far my favorite professor.

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