Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.
A while ago, I posted a bunch of readings about philosophy. I was surprised over the next few days to see how many people clicked on the link that said “Teach yourself logic!” (which linked to a list of texts for doing so. I thought then that I’d have to find some good resources for doing that. These are those.
First up is a website devoted to critical thinking skills called Critical Thinking Web–with over 100 modules devoted to everything from basic argument analysis to quantifiers to decision theory, that are brief with only three to five parts each and have a set of exercises (with answers) for comprehension checks. My favorite thing on the site? This list of 101 philosophical questions. Find your favorite (I like #6 a lot) and the next time you feel the urge to ask someone what they do for a living, ask them a philosophical question instead. Everyone wins.
But maybe you don’t like the look of that first one. Maybe it’s too busy, or too orange or whatever. Maybe you want more text, more explanation. Then The Many Worlds of Logic is the place you want to go. This site won’t get you as far, but it will get you through most of the concepts that students work on in a first logic course (fundamental concepts, formalization and truth-functions, truth tables, and the first eight inference rules for proofs). That’s a lot. As a bonus, you can learn about some of the “classic arguments” and see the role of logic in arguments about the existence of God, free will, and the mind/body problem.
In other words, using one or the other (or both!) you really could teach yourself logic.
And if you don’t want to teach yourself, you could take the free Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative course and work your way through while exploring an example of the world of MOOCs.
Have fun with it! And let us know if you get lost!