Most non-professional philosophers are deterred from attending lectures and reading books by academics who use symbolic logic. Some even claim it is an elitist attempt to make presentations deliberately inaccessible to the uninitiated. In any case, I believe it is worth studying and needn’t be a scary as it at first looks. I hope this ‘child’s guide’ to modern philosophical formalism will provide a bridge between these two groups of philosophers.
The two most intimidating symbols are ‘∃’, standing for ‘one’ or ‘some’ or ‘somebody’, and ‘∀’, standing for ‘all’ or ‘every’ or ‘everybody’. They were designed by the Italian mathematician and logician Giuseppe Peano (1858-1912) and they are usually combined with another letter or letters which stand for the statement of our choice