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Logic as a Tool for Modelling

Throughout the course we will encourage the participants to think about how logic can be applied to their fields of interest.

Course description

Logic is the study of different types of reasoning. Logic is also a tool for elegantly modelling diverse phenomena. The aim of the course is to introduce you to this tool and to explain how it can be used. The course is divided into 3 parts.

We will introduce Classical Logic and show how many different systems of reasoning (logics) arise as variations. We will study two fundamental ways of studying logic, via semantics and syntax. The latter is naturally suited to modelling and automated reasoning. We will also discuss applications in the social sciences focussing on agency and information flow. We will introduce logical formalisms that allow us to model situations in which truth is socially constructed and develop notions such as knowledge and group and common knowledge.

The overarching theme in the handling of applications is the notion of categories and categorisation. Categorisation is the activity of placing things such as objects or ideas into categories based on their similarities or common criteria.  We will formally introduce categorisation theory, starting from the classical theory of Aristotle right up to prototype and exemplar theory. We will formalise these notions and explain how the tools of  logics could be used to incorporate vagueness in this theory.

The third part of the course uses the foundational development from Part 1 and the modelling intuitions from Part 2. We will introduce the study of formal linguistics where words are classified in terms of the role they play in the sentence formation. A word can be categorised as a noun phrase, a transitive verb, etc. Syntactic categories are then combined, accordingly to rules of formation, to build complex expressions. We will see how a grammatically correct sentence can then be captured by a formal proof or a process of computation and how different readings correspond to different proofs.

Continue reading below for more information.

About this course

Course level

  • Master / Advanced

Course coordinator

  • Apostolos Tzimoulis


  • 3 ECTS

Contact hours

  • 45


  • English

Tuition fee

  • €735 - €1310

Additional course information

  • Learning objectives

    By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

    • Understand what is meant by the study of logic, and summarise how different systems of reasoning(logics) come about, and outline how they can be studied.
    • Explain the relationship of proof theory and logic.
    • List and compare a number of different logics, and illustrate how they differ from classical logic.
    • Show how logic can be used to model diverse phenomena.
    • Distinguish the dual role of logic as an idealised form of reasoning and a modelling tool.
    • Develop a maturity concerning abstract modelling and argumentation.
  • Course schedule

    *This information is from last summer and will be subject to change in July 2023.

    Classes will take place from Monday 4 July until Friday 15 July. In general classes will be during the week between 9am and 17pm (please take exceptions into account). Wednesday afternoons and weekends will be off for optional social activities or personal time. Good to be aware that self-study will be required in your private time (nights and weekends). Saturday 2 July and Saturday 16 July are arrival and departure days (in case you arrange accommodation via our housing service). More details will be shared in the course syllabus which will be shared with the participants in June. 

  • About the course coordinator

    Dr. Apostolos Tzimoulis is an assistant professor at the department of Ethics, Governance and Society. He holds a PhD in Applied Logic from the TU Delft (2018).

  • Preliminary syllabus

    Here you can download the preliminary syllabus for the summer course 2024. 

    *Please note: This syllabus may be subject to some minor changes closer to the beginning of the course.

Team VU Amsterdam Summer School

We are here to help!

Skype: by appointment via


  • Yota
  • Programme Coordinator
  • Celia
  • Summer and Winter School Officer
Celia VU Amsterdam Summer & Winter School
  • Esther
  • Summer and Winter School Officer