Syllabus for Math 250 sec 1 (logic)
Monday - Wednesday - Friday in room SC-1432 from 1:10 to 2:00 pm

Instructor: Associate Professor Schechter (pronounced "dok-tur shek-tur"). Office: room 1529 in the top floor of the Math building. Scheduled walk-in office hours (no appointment needed): 12:10 to 1:00 pm MWF. I am also available at some other times by appointment. Feel free to communicate with me by email: Additional information about me can be found on this web page.

Text: Classical & Nonclassical Logics, by Schechter. We will probably cover around 2/3 of the book. The book is described at You can also download the first two chapters from that web page if you like, but they are only an overview of the course; they are not indicative of what the computations in the course are like. I will caution you that the course starts off fairly easy but gradually gets harder, and gets appreciably harder when we get to syntactics. So don't allocate your time based on how easy the course is at the beginning.

Grades in my classes will be based on

Four 20-minute quizzes, on Sep 8, Oct 1, Oct 31, Dec 1 each worth 5%, for a total of20%
Three 50-minute tests on Sep 22, Oct 17, Nov 12 each worth 15% for a total of45%
lots of homeworkworth a total of 20%
final exam, 3-5 pm Thurs Dec 11worth 15%

Grades will be posted on Blackboard/Oak. Other noteworthy dates:

Sept 1 Last day to change courses with no entry on your record.
Oct 20-21 Midterm break
Oct 24 Last day to drop a course
Nov 2 Set your clock back an hour
Nov 22-30 Thanksgiving break
Dec 9 Last day of classes

Homework: Assigned problems are to be individual work, not a team effort. Please do your work in blue or black, pen or pencil, not in red, but bring a red pen or pencil to class.

Calculators: I permit the use of calculators on all quizzes and tests, but I doubt they will be of any use in this course. At any rate, if you use a calculator, you are responsible for its use -- no assistance will be given if your battery runs out or your calculator gives results you don't understand.

Questions in class. I try to strongly encourage students to ask questions in class. There are no "stupid" questions except the ones that aren't asked. If there's something in the lecture that you haven't understood, then probably eight other people in the class have been befuddled by the same concept, and most of them understand it even less than you do, so that they aren't even able to formulate it as a question. Consider yourself to be their duly elected representative. You'd be doing us all a favor if you bring it to my attention. As an experienced teacher, I'm sometimes quite good at guessing what is confusing my students, but it's always a matter of guessing. Any question, even a poorly formulated one, tells me far more than confused-looking, silent students.

And occasionally I make a MISTAKE on the chalkboard, and generally it is not intentional. I would like to be alerted about my mistake as quickly as possible, because otherwise it will lead to an entire chain of erroneous consequences. And please, please, don't wait until after class to ask about it, so that all the other students leave the room with defective class notes. As soon as you suspect an error, shoot your hand right up, and if I don't see you because my back is turned, call out "Dr. Schechter?" loud enough for me to hear you. Probably you won't be certain that I've made a mistake (because I do know a great deal more math than you, and some of my correct techniques will surprise you), so feel free to formulate your correction as a question, e.g., "Dr. Schechter, is that third step correct?"

Attendance, lateness, absence: I generally do not take attendance in class. Most students will benefit from my lectures, but if you think you can learn adequately from the textbook, that's up to you. However, your presence will be required for quizzes and tests, and you will need to either turn in your homework at the beginning of class or have a reliable friend turn it in for you. If you enter class late, please have your homework already in your hand when you enter the room, to minimize the time during which I and the rest of the class are distracted by your entry.

If you have an isolated case of late homework or must miss a quiz or test due to illness, a note signed by yourself will suffice for my purposes; I can operate on the honor system. But multiple latenesses or absences will require a note from a doctor or a dean. I excuse without question any absence or lateness due to illness, job interview trips, and participation in official Vanderbilt sports events. I generally do NOT excuse Mardi Gras, your best friend's wedding, your family reunion, or other reasons, but feel free to ask me about it. (Tell your friend to get married on a day on which you do not have other commitments.)

Links to other web pages:

And here's a Venn diagram that I found amusing: