Matthias Jenny, who recently received his PhD in philosophy from MIT, has started working in the tech industry. He wrote to share with Daily Nous readers a game he created to help people develop basic logical fluency.
The game, Andor, has players drag and drop parts of a statement so to arrange them into a true statement. It can be played here or downloaded for iOS here, for Android here, and for Amazon Kindle Fire here.
Dr. Jenny explains why he thinks the game is useful, and provides a further description of it:
One thing that sets people experienced with logic apart from novices is fluency. A fluent speaker of a natural language doesn’t have to think twice about how to use simple words. Likewise, people experienced with logic don’t stumble over simple facts such as that logical disjunction is inclusive. Andor is a free mobile game that aims to teach fluency in the use of the Boolean connectives and introduce the formalism of sentential logic along the way. It is intended to be played by people without any formal training in logic or be used alongside a formal introductory logic curriculum.
Andor contains three hundred levels; the first thirty-one comprise a tutorial that introduces players to the truth-conditions of the Boolean connectives, the use of parentheses, and formal notation. A significant portion of the tutorial pays special attention to scope ambiguities that can be resolved with parentheses.
Each level consists of a number of atomic sentences, connectives, and parentheses. The goal is to rearrange these pieces to construct a true sentence. Upon completing the tutorial, players will encounter levels that increasingly demand greater fluency in the use of the Boolean connectives. But the levels increase in difficulty slowly enough to ensure steady improvements in fluency.
Dr. Jenny says that he welcomes feedback on any aspects of the game. You can email him or comment here. He adds: “I would especially be curious to hear from logic teachers who decide to use the game in the classroom.”
Here’s a video showing how the game is played (note, this video was updated on 3/17/2018):