Spring 2021 - PHIL 315 D100

Formal Methods (3)

Class Number: 2210

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2021
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    One of: PHIL 110, 210, 310, 314, MACM 101, BUEC 232 or STAT 270.



A survey of formal methods used in philosophy. Topics will include some of the following: propositional logic, predicate logic, formal syntax, formal semantics, the probability calculus, decision theory, game theory and formal causal modeling. Students with credit for COGS 315 cannot take this course for further credit.


[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with COGS 315.]

This course introduces important formal methods used in philosophy and neighboring fields, including methods from logic, probability, and decision theory. In the first part of the course, students will acquire familiarity with classical first-order logic, as well as selected extensions and deviations. The second part of the course covers the logic of decision, including an introduction to probability theory and principles of rational decision-making. Students will gain not only technical competence, but an appreciation of related philosophical issues.


  • 3 Take-Home Exams (33.33% each) 100%


Course delivery: remote, synchronous. Online presence is required during scheduled lecture time.

Students will practice skills both in class and through regular problem sets. Assessment will occur through three exams. Problems on the exams will be inspired by problems given in the problem sets. All exams are take-home.



Students must have access to internet and a computer/other device that permits streaming video, word processing and teleconferencing with Zoom.


Ted Sider, Logic for Philosophy
ISBN-13: 9780199575589

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).