Fall 2015

Matt Waples, Photographic Paintings Using Light and Miscellaneous Liquids

Matt Waples, Photographic Paintings Using Light and Miscellaneous Liquids, 2014.


Course CodeLocation Times
PHIL-SHU 70-001 (19361)1555 Century Avenue, Room 304Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:45pm–3:00pm


NameEmailOfficeConsultation Times
Brad Weslakebrad.weslake@nyu.edu1555 Century Avenue, Room 1226Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00pm–4:00pm, or by appointment.


This course is an introduction to formal reasoning. In the first part of the course, we study a simple system of deductive logic. In the second part of the course, we study probability theory and explore some examples of reasoning with probability in philosophy and science. In the final week of the course we will have a discussion with Professor Jeff Erlich about reasoning with probability in neuroscience.


The aim of this course is for students to significantly improve their capacity to:



The final grade will be determined approximately as follows:

First Exam: 20%
Second Exam: 20%
First Paper: 20%
Second Paper: 30%
Attendance and participation: 10%

Assessment dates:

First Exam: Thursday 24 September
Second Exam: Tuesday 29 October
First Paper: Thursday 19 November[PDF]
Second Paper: Thursday 10 December[PDF]


Attendance and Lateness

Students are required to attend all classes on time. An explanation for every absence or late attendance must be submitted in writing to the instructor. Every failure to attend class on time will count against the component of the final grade awarded for attendance and participation, unless an explanation is received and approved at least one day prior to the class in question. Requests for exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis, and typically granted only when related to an illness or other unforeseeable change in life circumstance. Students who have been excessively absent will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and will be given a final grade of F.


It is a condition on passing this course that students read and adhere to the NYU Shanghai policy on academic integrity as described in the current NYU Shanghai Academic Bulletin.


Meeting 1: What is Logic? (Tuesday 1 September)

Section I: Deductive Logic

Meeting 2: Truth Functions (Friday 4 September)

Meeting 3: Compounds (Tuesday 8 September)

Meeting 4: Transcription (Thursday 10 September)

Meeting 5: Equivalence (Tuesday 15 September)

Meeting 6: Expressive Completeness (Thursday 17 September)

Meeting 7: Review (Tuesday 22 September)

Meeting 8: First Exam (Thursday 24 September)

Meeting 9: Validity and Conditionals I (Tuesday 6 October)

Meeting 10: Validity and Conditionals II (Thursday 8 October)

Meeting 11: Natural Deduction (Tuesday 13 October)

Section II: Probability Theory

Meeting 12: Basics (Thursday 15 October)

Meeting 13: Conditional Probability (Tuesday 20 October)

Meeting 14: Bayes' Theorem I (Thursday 22 October)

Meeting 15: Review (Tuesday 27 October)

Meeting 16: Second Exam (Thursday 29 October)

Meeting 17: Bayes' Theorem II (Tuesday 3 November)

Meeting 18: Kinds of Probability (Thursday 5 November)

Meeting 19: Bayesianism I: Credence (Tuesday 10 November)

Meeting 20: Bayesianism II: Coherence (Thursday 12 November)

Meeting 21: Bayesianism III: Conditionalisation (Sunday 15 November)

Meeting 22: Application: Probability in the Law I (Tuesday 17 November)

Meeting 23: Application: Probability in the Law II (Thursday 19 November)

Meeting 24: Frequency (Tuesday 24 November)

Meeting 25: Significance, Power and Confidence (Tuesday 1 December)

Meeting 26: Bayesianism, Frequentism, Likelihoodism (Thursday 3 December)

Meeting 27: Application: The Reproducibility Crisis I (Tuesday 8 December)

Meeting 28: Application: The Reproducibility Crisis II (Thursday 10 December)

Updated: 27 November 2015