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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Modal Logics MSc (PHIL11164)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is a follow-on course to Logic 1 focusing predominantly on modal extensions of classical propositional and first-order logic. Modal logic is standardly known as the logic of necessity and possibility, but this course will also focus on so-called deontic logic (the logic of obligations and permissions), epistemic logic (the logic of knowledge), and possibly temporal logic (the logic of time).

Shared with undergraduate course Logic 2: Modal Logics PHIL10162

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description The aim of the course is to cover a range of so-called modal extensions of classical propositional and first-order logic. Modal logic is traditionally characterized as the logic of necessity and possibility both of which are crucial notions in philosophy in general. However, the modal systems originally developed to provide rigorous explications of necessity and possibility (and contingency, impossibility, etc.) were later used to characterize a wide array of other central notions in philosophy, e.g. knowledge, belief, obligation, permission, time, and change.

In the first part of this course, we will focus on the standard Kripke semantics for normal modal logics covering systems such as K, T, B, S4, and S5 (including fragments of modal predicate logic). We will then briefly consider a range of so-called non-normal modal logics and then proceed to a discussion of natural deduction and axiomatic proof systems. In addition, various meta-theoretical results may be discussed.

In the second part of the course, we will focus on extensions of modal logic, mainly deontic and epistemic logic (but also potentially temporal and dynamic logic). We will explore how notions such as obligation/permission and knowledge/belief can be explicated in formal terms and how the resulting logics can be used to shed light on core philosophical problems. For example, we will use deontic logic to characterise (and solve) some apparent puzzles about obligations and permissions, and we will use epistemic logic to provide precise characterisations of important closure principles in epistemology and various paradoxes (e.g. Moore's paradox and Fitch's paradox of knowability).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand syntax and semantics of standard modal logics.
  2. Understand how proof methods such as natural deduction and axiomatic systems work with respect to proofs involving modalized sentences
  3. Understand the important relation between deontic, epistemic, and temporal logic
  4. Become acquainted with various standard modal systems
  5. Engage with philosophical analyses that rely on modal notions and modal logic.
Reading List

Rod Girle: Modal Logics and Philosophy
James Garson: Modal Logic for Philosophers
Fitting & Mendelsohn: First Order Modal Logic
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Writing skills, interpreting texts, evaluating arguments and theories
Course organiserDr Anders Schoubye
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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