From beginner-friendly introductions to comprehensive textbooks on formal logic, this page features books to suit any learning style. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on formal logic. The best book for you will depend heavily on your preferred learning style and the amount of time/energy you’re willing to spend reading.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.
Here are the best books on formal logic in no particular order.
Logic: A Very Short Introduction – Graham Priest
Publisher description: Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy.
In this new edition Graham Priest expands his discussion to cover the subjects of algorithms and axioms, and proofs in mathematics.
A Concise Introduction to Logic – Patrick J. Hurley & Lori Watson
Publisher description: Over a million students have learned to be more discerning at constructing and evaluating arguments with the help of A CONCISE INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC, 13th Edition. The text’s clear, friendly, thorough presentation has made it the most widely used logic text in North America. The book shows you how the content connects to real-life problems and gives you everything you need to do well in your logic course. Doing well in logic improves your skills in ways that translate to other courses you take, your everyday life, and your future career. The accompanying technological resources offered through MindTap, a highly robust online platform, include self-grading interactive exercises, a new digital activity that allows you to apply the skills you learn to a real-world problem, and videos to reinforce what you learn in the book and hear in class.
Introduction to Logic – Irving M. Copi et al.
Publisher description: Introduction to Logic is a proven textbook that has been honed through the collaborative efforts of many scholars over the last five decades. Its scrupulous attention to detail and precision in exposition and explanation is matched by the greatest accuracy in all associated detail. In addition, it continues to capture student interest through its personalized human setting and current examples. The 14th Edition of Introduction to Logic, written by Copi, Cohen & McMahon, is dedicated to the many thousands of students and their teachers – at hundreds of universities in the United States and around the world – who have used its fundamental methods and techniques of correct reasoning in their everyday lives.
A Companion to Philosophical Logic – Dale Jacquette
This collection of newly commissioned essays by international contributors offers a representative overview of the most important developments in contemporary philosophical logic.
- Presents controversies in philosophical implications and applications of formal symbolic logic.
- Surveys major trends and offers original insights
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Introduction to Logic – PHIL 1110 | University of Adelaide
- Philosophy and Logic: A Self-Paced Course – University of Connecticut
- Introduction to Logic – PHIL 1320 | University of Manitoba
- Bibliography for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Classical Logic
- Bibliography for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Informal Logic
- What is a good book for an introduction to logic?
- What’s a good book to read about logic?
- Can anyone recommend an Intro to Logic book that’s not $50+ dollars?
You might also be interested in the following reading lists:
- The Best Introductory Philosophy Books
- The Best Books on the Philosophy of Mathematics
- The Best Books on Critical Thinking
- The Best Philosophy Books on Truth
The Daily Idea aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best philosophy resources from across the internet.
- Find the best philosophy books on a wide variety of topics with this collection of over 120 philosophy reading lists.
- Find free online philosophy articles, podcasts, and videos with this organised collection of 400+ free philosophy resources.
A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations – Lennox Johnson
Category: Reference | Length: 145 pages | Published: 2019
Publisher’s Description: A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is a collection of the greatest thoughts from history’s greatest thinkers. Featuring classic quotations by Aristotle, Epicurus, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and many more, A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is ideal for anyone looking to quickly understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped the modern world.