Associate Professor of Philosophy Russell Marcus recently attended the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA) in San Diego, where he presented a talk and chaired a session.
The talk, “Making Formal Logic Meaningful,” was presented in a session on innovations in teaching logic. Marcus presented the core ideas behind his new logic textbook, Introduction to Formal Logic. The ideas were developed while teaching Philosophy 240: Symbolic Logic.
He said that traditional formal logic courses have been widely derided as irrelevant to most philosophy students and that for many years the standard response has been to teach a critical reasoning course instead.
Marcus developed an option that makes firm connections about why philosophers are interested in logic. He described Philosophy Fridays, part of Philosophy 240, during which formal “math-y” work is set aside and the class focuses on the connections between logic, philosophy, science, religion, and other disciplines.
Marcus also organized and chaired a session on “Teaching Core Texts: Descartes's Meditations and Related Texts.” Two presenters talked about teaching Descartes’ work letters and his work on medicine and health. Marcus also arranged for participants to discuss their successes and challenges in teaching Descartes’ work.