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The following list surveys major texts in logic and critical reasoning. Although not a complete guide (could there be sucha thing?) it should provide a good starting point. Although historical material is present, I have restricted selections to books published in this century.

  • Barker, Stephen F. The Elements of Logic Fifth Edition.McGraw-Hill, 1989.
    Barker is one of the heavyweight thinkers in formal logic and his book reads like it. For the rest of us, that means: dense and unenlightening. The book covers categorical syllogisms, truth functions, quantification, fallacies, and inductive reasoning.
  • Boolos, George., and Jeffrey, Richard. Computability and Logic. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 1980.
    A fascinating look at the overlap between computation and logic. Heavy going; it begins with Turing Machines, ponders undecidability, indefinability and incompleteness, and ends with Ramsey's theorems. People who like heavy symbolism will love this book. People who think it's all squiggles will hate it. Recommended.
  • Bergmann, Merrie, James Moor, and Jack Nelson. The Logic Book. Second Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1990.
    This is the introduction to formal logic. Covers syntax and semantics in propositional and predicate calculus. Introduces the concepts of completeness and decidability. The second edition was the first new edition in ten years, which speaks well for its stability. Recommended.
  • Cohen, Morris, and Nagel, Ernest. An Introduction to Logic. Harcourt, Brace and World, 1932, 1962.
    A traditional text, this book examines categorical syllogisms and touches on mathematical systems and probability. In other words, it's a (very) uneasy blend of classical logic and modern. Worth a look for its historical value.
  • Copi, Irving M. and Cohen, Carl. Introduction to Logic. Eighth Edition. Macmillan, 1990.
    For many years, Copi was the standard introductory text, and this edition continues the trend. Covers propositional logic, categorical syllogisms, and informal fallacies. A new edition appears every few years, which is hell on used book stores. Copi is the master of the circle-and-arrow argument diagrams (which never really worked, in my view). Better introductory texts have appeared in recent years.
  • Gianelli, A.P. Meaningful Logic. Bruce Publishing Company, 1962.
    This is a classical logic text with numbered paragraphs and a focus on the universal and the particular. All this sounds bad but the author is an engaging and ernest writer. This book is useless to somebody who wants to learn logic, but a treasure to someone who knows and loves the discipline.
  • Gilbart, Helen W. Reading With Confidence. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1988.
    This is the sort of stuff that is passing for 'critical thinking' in education these days. This very basic text begins by looking at 'controlling ideas', transitions, context, inference, bias and prejudice. It's a noble objective, but it's fuzzy and in some places just wrong. Not recommended.
  • Haack, Susan. Philosophy of Logics. Cambridge University Press, 1978.
    This book is serious reading and should not be attempted without a good grounding in the field. Covers theories of truth, paradoxes, classical and non-classical logics, problems in modal logic (including relevance logic), and many-valued logic. Fascinating.
  • Huff, Darrell. How to Lie With Statistics. W.W. Norton, 1954.
    I have the 38th printing, which should be an indication of this slim book's popularity. A classic in the field and a must read for anybody who reads newspapers or magazines. Although the examples are seriously dated, the material is not. For some reason, many of the tricks Huff discusses are not covered in more standard texts. Recommended.
  • Hughes, G.H., and Cresswell, M.J. An Introduction to Modal Logic. Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1968.
    For many years the standard introduction to modal logic, this book is a must read for anyone seriously interested in advanced topics. Covers both propositional and predicate modal logic. It was my Bible in 1987. Recommended.
  • Jason, Gary. Introduction to Logic. Jones and Bartlett, 1994.
    A standard introductory text, this book covers informal fallacies and propositional logic. Instead of describing categorical logic, it insteads treats the subject (more accurately, in my view) as a branch of set theory and the logic of properties and relations. Mill's Methods are relegated to an appendix; now that hurts! Jason uses squares and circles instead of the usual letters to stand for propositions in inference rules; this is a tactic which worked well in my own classes.
  • Jager, Ronald. Essays in Logic From Aristotle to Russell. Prentice-Hall, 1963.
    Contains selections from Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Lewis Carroll(!), John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Henry Veatch and Gilbert Ryle. This makes it eclectic, to say the least, but interesting reading.
  • Jeffrey, Richard. Formal Logic: Its Scope and Limits. McGraw-Hill, 1981, 1967.
    A beautiful book and an absolute must for any serious student of logic or computation. Can be used as an introductory text, but this use is not recommended. While it focuses entirely on deductive logic, its crisp definitions and theorems supplement a traditional (truth table) method of derivation along with truth trees. Jeffry is particularly strong on completeness and decidibility. Recommended.
  • Johnson, R.H., and Blair, J.A. Logical Self-Defense. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1983, 1977.
    This book focuses almost entirely on informal fallacies and is intended for an audience that wants to read newspapers more critically. A noble objective but its limited scope means that a study of logic is better served by other texts.
  • Kahane, Howard. Logic and Philosophy: A Modern Introduction. Wadsworth, 1990.
    A standard introductory text covering propositional and syllogistic logic, induction and fallacies. Part five is good: discussions of modal, deontic and epistemic logic along with an introduction to axiom systems.
  • Kelly, David. The Art of Reasoning. W.W. Norton, 1988.
    A very nice blend of formal and informal argument forms. Covers definition, propositional and predicate logic, and inductive reasoning. Incorporates a number of effective graphical aids, especially in the discussion of definition (which precedes the discussion of propositions, a welcome change from what has become standard form of late). Recommended as a good first logic text.
  • Mayfield, Marlys. Thinking for Yourself: Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through Writing. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1987.
    A very informal text which relies more on contemporary teaching strategies (such as 'discovery exercises' and memory maps). A strongly American political view of the world permeates this work. Not recommended.
  • Pospesel, Howard. Introduction to Logic: Propositional Logic. Second Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1984.
    An outstanding teaching book illustrated with contemporary (for 1984) cartoons and lively examples. Uses arrow to represent the conditional operator instead of the standard horseshoe. Recommended.
  • Purtill, Richard L. Logic for Philosophers. Harper and Row, 1971.
    The book is dedicated to Rudolf Carnap, an insignia which should alert the reader to expect staunch formalism throughout. Purtill doesn't disappoint. The book covers propositional, syllogistic, class, and modal logic.
  • Putnam, Hilary. Philosophy of Logic. Harper, 1971.
    Heady, engaging, and Putnam at his expository best, this book is required reading for those interested in some of the issues beneath the surface of logic, and especially the realism-nominalism debate. Not for beginners.
  • Quine, Willard Van Orman. Methods of Logic. Fourth Edition. Harvard University Press, 1950, 1959.
    An authoritative text. Quine focuses entirely on deductive forms: truth functional logic and quantification. Quine's unorthodox symbolism makes this book inappropriate for the novice. Essential for students for Quine's philosophy.
  • Rescher, Nicholas. Introduction to Logic. St. Martin's Press, 1964.
    Rescher's book forms the foundation for Copi's Introduction to Logic and hence covers syllogistic forms, informal fallacies, propositional logic and inductive logic. A useful text for the novice, but Copi is more up to date. Rescher himself is one of my favourite authors.
  • Salmon, Merrilee. Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984.
    Quickly covers deductive forms, but the bulk of the book is devoted to inductive argument, conditionals, confirmation of hypotheses, and arguments based on relations. Thus it has a lot of material not covered by other texts, but is not for the beginner.
  • Salmon, Wesley. Logic. Third Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1983.
    Part of the widely popular (and vastly overpriced) Foundations of Philosophy Series, this slim volume covers basic deduction, induction, and some issues in logic and language. This is not a teaching text, as there are no exercises. Actually, it's hard to say why it was written, except perhaps to round out the series. Wesley Salmon is authoritative; this book is not.
  • Schagrin, Morton L. The Language of Logic: A Programmed Text. Random House, 1968.
    This is a good idea which didn't really work.The reader works through a series of 'frames' and goes to different frames depending on how they answer questions. A lot like hypertext, only slower. The book should never have been printed in Helvetica.
  • Sellars, Roy Wood. The Essentials of Logic. Revised Edition. The Riverside Press, 1925.
    This transitional text resembles eighteenth century works but attempts to come to grips with the formal and mathematical nature of logic newly discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For students of the history of logic only.
  • Skyrms, Brian. Choice and Chance: An Introduction to Inductive Logic. Dickenson, 1966.
    A nice compact treatment of the major problems in inductive logic. Includes a lengthy (though dated) treatment of the traditional problem of induction along with and Goodman's new problem.
  • Stephens, William N. Hypotheses and Evidence. Thomas Y.. Crowell, 1968.
    As the title indicates, this text focuses on induction, causality, hypotheses, theories and evidence. Unfortunately, it came out before a lot of the recent and important work in the area and so is of historical interest only.
  • Thomason, Richmond. Symbolic Logic: An Introduction. Collier-Macmillan, 1970.
    Required reading for any student of philosophy, mathematics or the harder sciences. Reads more easily than The Logic Book and provides a thorough introduction to the semantics, in addition to the syntax, of standard argument forms. Additionally, Thomason covers identity, set theory and mathematical induction. Not for the beginner.
  • Weston, Anthony. A Rulebook for Arguments. Hackett, 1987.
    This slim volume (93 pages) serves as an excellent introduction for novices. The text surveys commonly used argument forms: arguments by example, arguments by analogy, etc. and shows the reader how to use proper argument form in essays. Recommended.
  • Yanal, Robert J. Basic Logic. West Publishing Company, 1988.
    Exactly as the title suggests. Uses a version of Copi's circle-and-arrow diagrams (but instead of using numbers, he uses phrases - a big improvement). Covers arguments, deductive logic and inductive logic. Ho hum.

Your logic book isn't on this list? And you want it to be? That's because I've never seen it. Send me a review copy and I'll add your treatise to the rest. No guarantee of a good review, though.

Stephen Downes
Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta
8303 112 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada  T6G 2T4