Spring 2020 - PHIL 315 D100

Formal Methods in Philosophy (3)

Class Number: 7786

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    WMC 3255, Burnaby

    We 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 3255, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 16, 2020
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 3150, 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.


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.


  • Students will practice skills both in class and through regular problem sets. Assessment will occur through two midterm exams, and either a final exam or term paper. Problems on the exams will be inspired by problems given in the problem sets.
  • Midterm 1 30%
  • Midterm 2 30%
  • Final or term paper 40%



All course materials will be available on Canvas.

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