Note: Beginning Mathematical Logic, Part I is currently being updated — you can see draft revised chapters being posted on the blog!
A Study Guide (and other Book Notes)
- Beginning Mathematical Logic: A Study Guide (Part I, version of 3.xi.2021)
- Beginning Mathematical Logic: A Study Guide (Parts II and III, unrevised from mid 2020)
- Appendix: Some Big Books on Mathematical Logic (pdf)
- Book Notes (links to 38 book-by-book webpages, the content overlapping with the Appendix)
About the Study Guide
Most philosophy departments, and many maths departments too, teach little or no serious logic, despite the centrality of the subject. Many students will therefore need to teach themselves, either solo or by organizing study groups. But what to read? Students need annotated reading lists for self-study, giving advice about the available texts. In 2012, I started the Teach Yourself Logic Study Guide, which aimed to provide the needed advice by suggesting some stand-out books on various areas of mathematical logic. NB: it covered mathematical logic — so we are working a step up from what’s rudely called “baby logic” (that philosophers may encounter in their first year courses).
The Guide went through a lot of iterations over the years, ending up in a somewhat untidy and uneven state. It’s time for an end-to-end rewrite. So I’m working on the (re-titled) Beginning Mathematical Logic: A Study Guide. Chapters 1 to 9, forming Part I of the Guide, are newly (re)written, and are in one PDF. The remaining chapters are as yet unrevised, taken from the mid-2020 version of TYL, form a separate PDF. (I’m leaving these later parts online with some reluctance, as they very much need improving). As the weeks and months go by, the first PDF should slowly grow as more new chapters are added, and the second PDF will correspondingly shrink. Or at least, that’s the plan!
Mathematical logic is indeed a big subject, and different people have different backgrounds/requirements. So you’ll want detailed advice from which you can work out which books on which areas might be suitable for you. That’s why TYL was so long: its replacement is even longer as I’m adding some sections giving a quick overview or checklist of topics in various areas.
About the Appendix and Book Notes
Most of the recommendations are in the Guide are for books which focus on particular areas. But I have added an Appendix reviewing some of the big multi-area textbooks on mathematical logic. The same reviews can also be found in the suite of Book Notes, which also comment on various other books on logic and the philosophy of mathematics.
It goes without saying, of course, that all constructive comments and suggestions continue to be most warmly welcomed. Many thanks, in particular, to all those who have earlier sent comments which are now deleted because I’ve taken up (or plan to take up) the suggestions in newer versions of the Guide.