I would like to learn logic as an introductory subject. I am an undergraduate student and would appreciate any suggestions for books/articles where I can start from, also any books/articles about logical fallacies (indications regarding the level of difficulty would be helpful.)

  1. My [Peter Smith's] Introduction to Formal Logic (CUP 2003, corrected reprint 2009: for more details see http://www.logicmatters.net/ifl/). This is intended for beginners, and was the first year text in Cambridge for a decade. It was written as an accessible teach-yourself book, covering propositional and predicate logic `by trees'. But it gets as far as a completeness proof for predicate logic.
  2. Paul Teller's A Modern Formal Logic Primer (Prentice Hall 1989) predates my book, is now out of print, but is freely available online at http://tellerprimer.ucdavis.edu, which makes it unbeatable value! It is quite excellent, and had I known about it at the time (or listened to Paul's good advice, when I got to know him, about how long it takes to write an intro book), I'm not sure that I'd have written my own book. As well as introducing trees, Teller also covers a version of natural deduction (I didn't have the page allowance to do this, regrettably). Like me, he also gets as far as a completeness proof. Notably user-friendly.

Of course, those are just two possibilities from very many. I have not latterly kept up with the seemingly never-ending ow of introductory books, some of which are no doubt excellent too (though there are also some poor books out there). But I will mention here just one recent publication:

  1. Nicholas Smith's Logic: The Laws of Truth (Princeton UP 2012) looks to have many virtues. The first two parts of the book overlap very largely with mine (it too introduces logic by trees). But the third part ranges wider, including natural deduction. It seems particularly readable.

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(Click on the cover for more information.)

"Readership: Students taking or considering taking undergraduate-level logic or mathematics courses; general readers curious about what logic is, and how it relates to the rest of philosophy. Also of interest to students of computer science, cognitive science, and linguistics."


Colin Howson 'Logic with Trees' was the essential read for LSE's first year Logic module, convened by... Colin himself. Hmm, I suspect that Howson's bias in having his own book an essential read for what may be construed as a strategy in boosting his publication royalties eschew all credibility on his part and thus this suggested textbook, but I personally found it very well organised and thorough. His classes were also very humorous!

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