Logic for Artificial Intelligence

Semester 1, 2016

What COSC410 is all about

This paper does not assume you know anything about logic. It does assume you have some basic mathematical knowledge (what a function is, what a relation is).

The definition of logic we'll be using is due to the philosopher John Pollock: Psychology is about thinking, both when it goes wrong and when it goes right. Logic is about what it is for thinking to go right.

Most of our time will be devoted to propositional logic (also called Boolean logic), although we will meet it in two different forms. We will start with classical propositional logic, which is the sort of thing taught in every logic course. Then we will look at a very modern form of propositional logic called nonmonotonic logic. This is a kind of logic developed during the past 25 years in order to represent ordinary everyday reasoning. It is different from classical logic in interesting ways and allows one to make plausible assumptions.

We won't be doing any actual artificial intelligence, but our goal is to provide the basic concepts needed to understand modern logic-based AI. For example, after COSC410 you should be able to pick up and make sense of a classic like

Davis (1990): Representations of commonsense knowledge, Morgan Kaufmann.

Even if you are not interested in artificial intelligence, you will still find plenty of logic to hold your attention.

There is a simple recipe for doing well in this paper -- attend all the lectures and do the exercises every week. Handouts will be made available on the web. These will include complete notes, so that you will not need a textbook. You are nevertheless expected to attend lectures, because that is where we will work through examples together.

Lecture Times

Thursday 11:00-12:50 in Owheo Room G34.


Willem Labuschagne and Richard O'Keefe.


Please ensure that you have read the notes for 400-level students carefully, especially the section on E-mail.


Assignments = 30%, final exam = 70%.