Meaning and Argument: An Introduction to Logic Through Language / Edition 2

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Meaning and Argument is a popular introduction to philosophy of logic and philosophy of language.

  • Offers a distinctive philosophical, rather than mathematical, approach to logic
  • Concentrates on symbolization and works out all the technical logic with truth tables instead of derivations
  • New edition incorporates the insights of half a century’s work in philosophy and linguistics on anaphora by Peter Geach, Gareth Evans, Hans Kamp, and Irene Heim among others
  • Contains numerous exercises and a corresponding answer key
  • An extensive appendix allows readers to explore subjects that go beyond what is usually covered in an introductory logic course
  • Features an accompanying website at
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher


"Meaning and Argument is especially strong on the subtleties of translating natural language into formal language, as a necessary step in the clarification of expression and the evaluation of arguments. The range of natural language constructions surveyed is broader and richer than in any competing introductory logic text that I am aware of. As such, the book provides a solid and attractive introduction to logic not only for philosophy students, but for linguists as well."
Richard Larson, University Stony Brook

"I can thoroughly recommend Ernest Lepore’s Meaning and Argument, particularly for those seeking to teach or learn how to paraphrase into formal symbolism, a much neglected aspect of logic. It contains a wealth of examples and is informed throughout by a deep theoretical knowledge of contemporary linguistics and philosophy of language."
Alan Weir, Queen’s University Belfast

"Lepore’s book is unusual for a beginning logic text in that it contains no natural deduction proof system but rather concentrates on finding models and countermodels by means of a semantic tableaux method. It is also unusual in containing many translation examples that exemplify constructions that linguists have found interesting in the last decades. In both of these ways the book is well suited for use in educating philosophy students in the importance of logic even when these students do not intend to go further in the study of formal logic as a discipline."
Francis Jeffry Pelletier, University of Alberta

"Meaning and Argument is a beautiful display of both the power of first-order logic and the complexity of natural language. The book focuses on the use of logic to expose and remedy many difficulties with understanding a sentence’s exact meaning. Lepore’s user-friendly style makes the book enjoyable for beginning logic students, and his coverage of the details makes it useful for advanced students and professionals. There is no logic textbook that comes even remotely close to accomplishing what Meaning and Argument does."
Kent Johnson, University of California at Irvine

"Meaning and Argument is an excellent logic textbook that not only introduces students to the techniques of English symbolization and the truth-tree method, but it also to a fascinating array of topics in linguistic syntax and semantics, including logical form, anaphora, adverbial modification, descriptions, among others. My first-year logic students have enjoyed Lepore’s book immensely and have found it to be very helpful and accessible."
Ray Elugardo, University of Oklahoma

"Here is logic as it ought to be presented to philosophers, linguists, and anyone else who is interested in how language is organized. In Ernie Lepore’s hands grammar comes alive. I recommend this book to all who want to learn what logic is, how to use it, and what it is good for."
Donald Davidson, University of California at Berkeley

"With care, imagination, and infectious enthusiasm, Lepore develops a novel and effective general technique of formalization which complete beginners should be able to grasp and use to deal with virtually any example in a first logic course."
Bob Hale, University of Glasgow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405196734
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest Lepore is the Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University and is the author of numerous articles in philosophy of language. He is co-author (with Herman Cappelen) of Insensitive Semantics (Blackwell, 2004) and co-author (with Jerry Fodor) of Holism (Blackwell, 1991). He is editor of Truth and Interpretation (Blackwell, 1989), co-editor (with Zenon Pylyshyn) of What is Cognitive Science? (Blackwell, 1999), and general editor of the series Philosophers and Their Critics, published by Wiley-Blackwell.

Sam Cumming is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Preface to Second Edition.

Preface to Revised Edition.



1. A Brief Introduction to Key Terms.

1.1 Arguments.

1.2 Putting Arguments into a Standard Format.

1.3 Multiple Conclusions.

1.4 Deductive Validity.

1.5 Soundness.

1.6 Missing Premises and Conclusions.

2. Argument Forms and Propositional Logic.

2.1 Formal Validity.

2.2 Quotation Marks.

2.3 Metalinguistic Variables.

2.4 Non-formal Validity.

2.5 The Need for Propositional Logic.

2.6 The Type/Token Distinction.

3. Conjunction.

3.1 Logical Conjunction.

3.2 Distinguishing Deductive from Non-deductive Aspects of Conjunction.

3.3 Phrasal Logical Conjunctions.

3.4 Series Decompounding.

3.5 Using 'Respectively'.

3.6 Symbolizing Logical Conjunctions.

4. Negation.

4.1 Logical Negation.

4.2 Some Other Negative Expressions.

4.3 A Point about Methodology.

4.4 A Point on Ambiguity.

4.5 Symbolizing Logical Negations.

4.6 Ambiguity and the Need for Groupers.

4.7 Review of Symbols.

4.8 Using 'Without'.

4.9 Argument Forms Continued.

4.10 Symbolizing Logical Negations Continued.

5. Truth Tables.

5.1 Well-formed Formulas.

5.2 Scope.

5.3 Main Connective.

5.4 Truth Tables.

6. Disjunction.

6.1 Logical Disjunction.

6.2 Disjunction and Negation.

6.3 Iterations and Groupers.

6.4 Inclusive versus Exclusive 'Or'.

6.5 Symbolizing Logical Disjunctions Continued.

7. Conditionals.

7.1 Conditionals with Constituent Statements.

7.2 Conditionals without Constituent Statements.

7.3 Logical Conditionals.

7.4 Symbolizing Conditionals in PL.

7.5 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions.

7.6 Only If.

7.7 Unless.

7.8 Since, Because.

7.9 Conditionals and Groupers.

7.10 If and Only If.

7.11 A Revised Grammar for Well-formedness in PL.

7.12 Summarizing Truth Tables.

8. Truth Trees.

8.1 Reviewing Validity.

8.2 Tree Trunks and Compound and Atomic Statements.

8.3 Truth Tree Rules.

8.4 Strategies.

8.5 Truth Trees and Invalidity.

8.6 Propositional Logic and Counter-examples (Counter-models).

8.7 Logical Properties and Relations Revisited.

9. Property Predicate Logic.

9.1 Limits of Propositional Logic.

9.2 Singular Terms.

9.3 Property Predicates.

9.4 Quantifiers.

9.5 Complex Predicates.

9.6 Well-formedness in PPL.

9.7 Quantifiers Modifying General Terms.

10. Evaluating Arguments in Property Predicate Logic.

10.1 Quantifiers and Scope.

10.2 The Truth Tree Method Extended.

10.3 Super Strategy.

10.4 Property Predicate Logic and Counter-examples (Counter-models).

10.5 PPL Logical Equivalences and Non-equivalences.

10.6 Other Logical Properties and Relations.

11. Property Predicate Logic Refinements.

11.1 Literal Meaning.

11.2 ‘Any’ as an Existential.

11.3 Restrictive Relative Clauses.

11.4 Pronouns Revisited.

11.5 Only.

11.6 Restrictive Words in English.

11.7 Evaluating Symbolizations of English in Logical Notation.

12. Relational Predicate Logic.

12.1 Limits of Property Predicate Logic.

12.2 Convention 1: Number.

12.3 Convention 2: Order.

12.4 Convention 3: Active/Passive Voice.

12.5 Convention 4: Single Quantifiers.

12.6 Variables.

13. Relational Predicate Logic with Nested Quantifiers.

13.1 Multiply General Statements.

13.2 Universal Quantifier Procedure.

13.3 Existential Quantifier Procedure.

13.4 Double Binding Variables.

13.5 Systematic and Analytic Procedures.

13.6 A Grammar for Well-formedness in RPL.

13.7 Nested Quantifiers, Variables, and Scope.

13.8 Order and Scope Refinements.

13.9 Summary of the Overall Procedure for Symbolizing English Statements with Nested Quantifiers into RPL.

14. Extending the Truth Tree Method to RPL.

14.1 RPL Arguments without Quantifiers.

14.2 RPL Arguments without Nested Quantifiers.

14.3 RPL Arguments with Nested Quantifiers.

14.4 Choosing Singular Terms to Instantiate.

14.5 Infinite Truth Trees for RPL Arguments.

14.6 Summary of Truth Tree Strategies.

14.7 Relational Predicate Logic and Counter-Examples (Counter-Models).

15. Negation, Only, and Restrictive Relative Clauses.

15.1 Negation.

15.2 'Only' as a Quantifier.

15.3 Restrictive Relative Clauses.

15.4 Quantifiers and Anaphora.

15.5 Anaphora and Restrictive Relative Clauses.

15.6 Anaphora across sentences.

15.7 Quantification in English.

16. Relational Predicate Logic with Identity.

16.1 Limits of Relational Predicate Logic.

16.2 Extending the Truth Tree Method to RPL.

16.3 Sameness and Distinctness in English.

16.4 Numerical Adjectives.

16.5 Definite Descriptions.

17. Verbs and their Modifiers.

17.1 Prepositional Phrases.

17.2 The Event Approach.

17.3 Indirect Support of the Event Approach.

17.4 Adverbial Modification.

17.5 Problems with the Event Approach.


A1 Conjunction.

A2 Negation and Disjunction.

A3 Conditionals.

A4 Property Predicate Logic.

A5 Relational Predicate Logic.

A6 Relational Predicate Logic with Identity.

A7 Verbs and their Modifiers.

Answers for Selected Exercises.

Logical Symbols.


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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Another uninspired text book of logic

    For the potential buyer who is thinking in buying this text book, I will say that I used it for a semester in my teaching logic. I will not use it more. The good: plenty of examples to practice logic. The bad: no philosophical interest. Pedagogically is mediocre. The author does not understand the way students learn logic.
    This book is not different from the other hundreds of logic text books in our century. Nothing to offer from the original Copi, "introduction to logic", from where is an uninspired copy. And with similar mistakes than the original Copi, whose most annoying issues is the way they understand particulars, the existential quantifier, induction, classical logic, conditionals, etc.
    There are many other logic texts for beginners that are better written for students. However, I was, in some way, present when the author, Ernie, started to write this book (1998?) based on his personal teaching experience, at Rutgers University, and I have to say that the method of the book fits Ernie's style, but it does not work well for teachers who are very interactive with the student. The methodology of the book is very static, it does not move with fluidity, it is more a book for the teacher than for the student.
    "Meaning and Argument" is essentially practical (almost as a cook book) and it does not explain concepts very well, so it is more another technological book of logic than a philosophical book of logic. There is very little philosophical insight in what is an inference, conditional, etc., it tells you how to cook an argument (some of them are problematic in my opinion), but it does not teach you how to think logically, and it is not well written to think philosophically.
    The book is good in translating natural language into the artificial formal language of symbolic logic that is standard in the US, but unfortunately it continues the (cripple) tradition, from Russell, to translate universals into conditionals in a way I have doubts, existential quantifiers as real existence, etc., which conceal an uncritical metaphysics (a very naive metaphysics in my opinion).
    I noticed that this text book has good reviews from all the people in the same (parochial) circle, I doubt that outside of this narrow circle there is interest in a book that is supposed to reach everybody interested in logic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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