Eminently reasonable thinking

A First Course in Logic
December 2, 2005

At the British Maths Colloquium 2004 in Belfast, I was contacted by Oxford University Press about a new book series called Oxford Texts in Logic. Unlike other commercial publishing houses, OUP is stocking up on its logic titles, understanding logic as a broad cultural enterprise that bridges humanities and sciences and imbues applied areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence with formal reasoning.

On the European level, this holistic approach to logic is positively reinforced by the grand-scale restructuring of the education system (the Bologna Process) with its generalistic three-year bachelors degrees and the more specialised two-year masters degrees that allows truly interdisciplinary fields such as logic to come out of the shadow of its big cousins.

There is an obvious intrinsic tension between the education goals of transdisciplinarity and specialisation: while students in broad masters programmes are more devoted and dedicated, they come from a rich variety of academic backgrounds. Their textbooks have to be written at a higher level than undergraduate textbooks without assuming too much background knowledge from the particular disciplines.

So far, few books of this kind exist, but the Oxford Texts in Logic plan to fill this gap by covering "core courses in logic and (being) aimed at mathematicians, computer scientists and philosophers".

Shawn Hedman's book is an adequate first volume in the series: it discusses almost all of the four traditional areas of mathematical logic, reaches out to some logical topics in computer science and constitutes a broad introduction to mathematical logic for students at the masters level with some mathematical maturity.

Benedikt Löwe is director of the MSc in logic, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

A First Course in Logic: An Introduction to Model Theory, Proof Theory, Computability, and Complexity. First edition

Author - Shawn Hedman
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Pages - 431
Price - £80.00 and £29.99
ISBN - 0 19 852980 5 and 852981 3

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