Preparing for Exams



Class Schedule

Course Description

Lecture Notes


Printouts You’ll Need

Supplementary Exercises


Philosophy 120A
Autumn 2007

Guidelines for Final Exam


  • The exam will cover chapters 9-14 of LPL (pp. 227-374), plus the handout on “Properties of Relations” (online).

  • The exam is on Monday, December 10, 2007, 8:30 - 10:20 am.

  • You must bring a (purple) Standard Answer Sheet (“bubble-sheet”) and #2 pencil. Do not use ink on the exam!

  • Please fill out your vital statistics (course name and number, your name, etc.) on the bubble sheet before the exam. Include your section number (AA, AB, etc.). If you need to look it up, be sure to do so. Fill in the bubbles carefully so that your results get correctly credited to you.

  • You may bring scratch paper, but no books or notes.


The format will be multiple choice. On each question there will be only one correct answer. On some questions, some answers may be partially correct; but a partially correct answer will not be given partial credit. It is never correct to fill in more than one “bubble” on the answer sheet. You will receive zero credit for any answer on which more than one bubble is filled in.

Topics to be covered are:

  1. Tarski Worlds: You will need to be able to determine the truth-value of a quantified FOL sentence in a particular world. (You will be looking at pictures of Tarski worlds.) Since you will not have the TW program running, you will have to figure this out on your own, without the benefit of playing the game with TW.

  2. Fitch proofs: Since you will not have Fitch running, you will not be required to construct any proofs. But you will have to recognize and explain the steps in an incomplete Fitch proof you will be shown. You will need to provide justifications (rule and line citations) if they are missing, or provide the steps (if they are missing) based on rule and line citations and on subsequent developments in the proof. In working these problems, you are strongly advised to try filling in the missing lines, etc., on the exam sheet before answering the questions. Try to understand the proof before making your choices.

  3. Informal proofs: You will be presented with some informal proofs and asked to evaluate them. You should recognize which strategies are being used (proof by cases, proof by contradiction, general conditional proof, universal generalization, existential instantiation). If the proof is correct, you should recognize it as such. If it contains a mistake, you should be able to identify the mistake.

  4. Translation: There will be a lot of emphasis on translations on this exam, including numerical quantification. You will be given English sentences and be asked to select the correct FOL translation, and vice versa. You will need to be aware of different equivalent ways of translating from English to FOL, and vice versa. Sometimes there is more than one correct answer, and sometimes not.

  5. Equivalence: You will need to be able to determine whether or not a pair of FOL sentences you are presented with are equivalent. This will come up in a context in which you are presented with a number of pairs of sentences and asked to pick out the equivalent pairs. For help in recognizing equivalent sentences, print out a copy of the file Some useful quantifier equivalences. (You can’t bring it with you to the exam, though!)

  6. Different kinds of necessity: You will be asked to place various sentences in an “Euler” diagram like the one on p. 272. So you should know the difference between tautologies, FO-validities, logical truths, and TW-necessities.

  7. Theory: Some questions will test your understanding of concepts such as the following: wffs vs. sentences, free vs. bound variables, the truth-functional form of a quantified FOL sentence, vacuously true generalized conditionals, soundness of system F, completeness of system F, properties of relations (symmetry, reflexivity, etc.), infinite domains, Russell’s theory of descriptions and Strawson’s criticism of it. Memorizing definitions will not be adequate — you will need to understand the concepts and how they are interrelated.

Now it’s time to put your study to work. Take the practice quiz on theory, equivalence, and translation. If you find that you can’t read all of the logical symbols on the quiz, you may need to add a font to your computer. To get the font you need, click here.


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