What is a good first textbook for self-learning logic?

I would like to begin studying logic on my own. The problem: with the quantity of books available, I have no idea on how to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones. Please suggest to me some good books.

• In case this question isn't removed/closed/etc.: check out Barwise & Etchemendy's Language, Proof, and Logic. It's written very clearly, it's interactive (it comes with three wonderful pieces of software), and in its third part it has brief introductions to important intermediate topics such as axiomatic set theory, the resolution principle, the limitative "metalogical" results, etc. I highly recommend it as a first textbook. – Hunan Rostomyan Aug 19 '13 at 20:47
• Logic is a very broad topic. Some people study it to aid their reasoning. Some study mathematical logic. I, myself, study it from the point of view of its application to language. I'm sure there are aspects of logic that I don't know about. In short, "logic" is a vast collection of topics. What exactly do you want to learn, and why? – prash Aug 19 '13 at 21:10
• I'm interested to it for the mathematical side! – copper Aug 19 '13 at 21:17
• I think the course, coursera.org/course/intrologic, is a very good way to begin with mathematical logic. – prash Aug 19 '13 at 21:32

3 Answers

Download the reading Guide on logic books from http://www.logicmatters.net/students/tyl/

§2.2 gives some recommendations for complete beginners.

The rest of the Guide gives extensive advice on further reading.

May I humbly suggest my free, math-oriented proof software and accompanying tutorial with worked examples, and exercises, each with hints and full solutions provided. Visit my website at for a video demo.

Except these books already reviewed here, I reproduce some suggestions from Reddit: search for 'book', search for 'textbook' as follows (but I omit blockquotes to ease reading):

Post of 2011/11/17:

Logic: An Introduction, by Greg Restall
[...] It's a great book, but riddled with errors. Thankfully most of them are on his website.

Logical Labyrinths by Raymond Smullyan would serve as a friendly introduction to the subject. Smullyan frequently deploys his famous logic puzzles throughout the text to teach a variety of lessons. And a word of warning: friendly doesn't mean easy! Smullyan will push your buttons and make you think deeply about tricky concepts. This one is very rewarding and comes highly recommended.

The Power of Logic by Howard-Snyder, Howard-Snyder and Wasserman [...]
By the way, here's an excellent online resource that you may find helpful.

Post submitted on 2012/9/6:

Read that (pdf) for references. Read C.L. Hamblin's "fallacies", and the stuff by Doug Walton.

Post submitted on 2014/6/5:

Virginia Klenk's Understanding symbolic logic

Post submitted on 2014/9/28:

Hausman's Logic and Philosophy

For a free book, with answers to the exercises online, try Paul Teller's A Modern Formal Logic Primer: http://tellerprimer.ucdavis.edu

For a recent book with similar coverage, and similar virtues of clarity, Logic: The Laws of Truth by Nicholas J. J. Smith (which has got answers to exercises online).

Shorter and even clearer, perhaps, is Peter Smith's An Introduction to Formal Logic (which has also got answers to exercises online). Particularly good on translation in and out of quantified notation which beginners can find a sticking point.

Logic, by Paul Tomassi

Post on 2015/7/11:

I started with logic first by understanding core philosophical concepts, so I would firstly recommend Grayling's Philosophical Logic. That's not a properly answer for your request but is rather a personal recomendation. But if you want to skip the philosophical phase, go and get a Benson Mate's Elementary Logic and than for covering the same issues you have the Smullyan's First Order Logic. Another book that I recommend is Introduction to a Logical-Theory by Peter Strawson, again not covering only formal logic but also philosophical questions that arouse naturally.

Post of 2015/10/6:

Essentials of Symbolic Logic by R.L. Simpson.

Post on 2015/12/3:

I took an Intro to Logic class at school, we used The Logic Book (6th ed.) by Bergmann, Moor, and Nelson. Most of the learning was done out of the textbook; lectures were mainly geared towards asking questions and working through the tougher practice problems. If I recall correctly, the text was fairly pricey but incredibly helpful. The solution manual is online, and I bet you could find the text itself online too with a bit of work. Highly recommend.

Try Nelson Lande's book, Classical Logic and its Rabbit Holes. It's very approachable, even funny. There are solutions to many of the problems online too.

An Introduction to Mathematical Logic (Dover Books on Mathematics) by Richard E. Hodel