Info
Logo Bocconi

Course 2019-2020 a.y.

30454 - LOGIC AND METHODOLOGY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

BESS-CLES
Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 13

BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  M-FIL/02)
Course Director:
HYKEL HOSNI

Classes: 13 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 13: HYKEL HOSNI


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The contribution of this course is two-fold. First, it answers the intellectually ambitious student’s demand for a set of core conceptual and analytic tools which allow them to play an active role in society at large. Fluency with logic and reasoning are unquestionable preconditions for the full and free exercise of individual citizenship. Second, it provides students with highly transferable skills, which allow them to put material covered in other mathematically oriented courses in a broader perspective. In addition this course is designed to make students explicitly aware of a set of pervasive methodological questions related to mathematical modelling in economics and the social sciences. The mindset acquired through this course act as a recognisable step-stone for further academic work and eventually for the student’s professional career.

CONTENT SUMMARY

The course is composed of two modules:

  1. Mathematical Reasoning: provides students with the nuts and bolts of mathematical logic, covering some key methods of proof.
  2. Reasoning about mathematical models: investigates, through examples, the virtues and limitations of axiomatizing social scientific concepts.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand the idea of formal languages, formal proofs and logical consequence
  • Undersand the notion of algorithmic procedure
  • Grasp the logical distinction between “truth” and “rational opinion”.
  • Recognise fallacies in logical and elementary probabilistic reasoning.
  • Identify the critical elements in the mathematical modelling of informal concepts.
  • Develop strong analytic skills
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Formalise expressions in natural language.
  • Decide algorithmically the validity/invalidity of suitable natural language arguments.
  • Assess critically the meaning of axiomatisation in economics and the social sciences.
  • Read original research in the methodology of the social sciences.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Individual assignments
DETAILS

The learning experience in this course includes, in addition to lectures and class discussions, exercises and individual assignments:

  • For each topic covered in class, students are given an exercise set which (i) helps them consolidate their understading (ii) trains them to solve exam problems.  Exercises are discussed in class, if needed in dedicated sessions.
  • On a selection of particularly important and cross-disciplinary topics, projects are assigned to individuals who have an interest in broading their knowledge and "joining the dots". Projects are given on a voluntary basis (they are not assessed formally) and allow particularly motivated students to acquire some degree of indepencence in the pursuit of their academic interests.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    We run two partial exams (50% each of the final grade), one in the mid-term break to assess students on Part I of the course content, and a final exam to assess students on Part II of the course content (see section 2.b) Students scoring less than 17/30 to the first partial will not be admitted to the second partial, and will be required to sit the general final exam.

    In order to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes, the assessment of attending students comprises two partial examinations using a mix of open-ended and multiple-choice questions.  Closed-ended questions are used to test the basic knowledge acquired of the course material. Open-ended questions are used to assess the ability to recognise fallacies in logical and elementary probabilistic reasoning and to identify the critical elements in the mathematical modelling of informal concepts.  Finally, open-ended questions are used to test the analytic skills acquired through the course.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    General final exam (100% of the final grade) In order to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes, the assessment of attending students comprises two partial examinations using a mix of open-ended and multiple-choice questions.  Closed-ended questions are used to test the basic knowledge acquired of the course material. Open-ended questions are used to assess the ability to recognise fallacies in logical and elementary probabilistic reasoning and to identify the critical elements in the mathematical modelling of informal concepts.  Finally, open-ended questions are used to test the analytic skills acquired through the course.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    A full set of lecture notes with exercises are provided for this course. Reference for further readings are also included.

    Last change 01/06/2019 09:02