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Symbolic Reasoning (FSSR)

As a field of study, symbolic reasoning is distinguished by its attention to internal logical consistency and by its wide external applicability. This field of study emphasizes symbolic problem solving, a process that includes translating problems into terms that are amenable to treatment within a symbolic system, understanding consistent rules by which the information relevant to the problem may be processed in order to obtain a solution, recognizing important underlying principles that govern the application of these rules, and judging both the appropriateness of known solution methods to a particular problem and the quality or reasonableness of the solution obtained.

Courses in this field of study aim to develop in students the skills to obtain valid solutions using one or more symbolic systems, the ingenuity to translate new problems into appropriate terms for such systems, and the persistence to carry a solution method through to completion. The focus of a symbolic reasoning course should be on understanding the symbolic system and how it can be used to develop problem-solving tools rather than on the tools themselves. Applications of these tools, while a welcome addition, should not be the primary objective of the course.

Symbolic Reasoning Learning Objectives

  1. Students will learn to translate problems for treatment within a symbolic system.
  2. Students will learn to recognize the rules that govern a symbolic system and to apply those rules to obtain valid solutions.
  3. Students will learn to judge the reasonableness of solutions obtained within a symbolic system.