Monday, October 16, 2017

Topics for Exam #1 (chapters 1 & 7) Fall Miniterm

Find the topics for review for quiz 1 here.

In addition, here is the Website to your textbook Doing Philosophy. It contains quizzes, flash cards, etc. Play with it and grade yourself.

Remember to bring your own scantron #888-P or #882-E 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

List of student assistants (so far)

MWF 10am
Rosangela Rizo
Humbert Torres
Roxy Ochoa

MWF 11am
Selena Bridges
Wilda Jean
Ryan Figueredo

TR 9:50am
Ana Esclusa
Daffodyle Saget

TR 11:15am
Ashley Leonard
Wilson Pena
Gary Zamora

Student Assistant Duties: Organizing reviews before the tests. This takes coordinating the review with me0, as I will post these reviews by sending email blasts to the class and posting review dates on our website. Being available for consultation.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Second assignment for the philosophy paper. First 4 paragraphs of your paper (due next week)

This assignment takes care of four paragraphs. The first two are the most important in your paper. These are the program you are going to follow: Your thesis and the counter. Each thesis and counter should contain three points, in red, yellow, blue. See that each point is explained. For example:

First, prohibition must be weighed against the loss of personal freedom (point). Our laws should respect individual free will and the right of self-determination (explanation of the point)


P 1 In this paper I argue against the prohibition of marijuana. First, prohibition must be weighed against the loss of personal freedom. Our laws should respect individual free will and the right of self-determination. In addition, the The War on Drugs has only served the immediate interests of politicians. By taking a moral stand against recreational drugs, or fighting the evils caused by the illegal drug trade they have only increased their popularity among constituents. Finally, prohibition does not stop consumers from consuming drugs, nor does it stop production and selling. It rather encourages it only by illegal means. Right now, under prohibition, there is a big drug industry that operates illegally.

P 2 Prohibitionists disagree. They believe that marijuana is addictive may help create new consumers rather than rescuing current ones. In addition, marijuana has been proved to lead to the use of other hard drugs and increase the possibility of committing crimes. Finally, marijuana may end up being consumed by young adults. Statistics echo high school students' report that it is easier to obtain illegal drugs than alcohol and tobacco.


Now, comes the discussion of these points. In P 3 you go back to your thesis, but now you're going to take the first point, only now you flesh it out. Bring outside experts and relevant data. The counter 
(P 4) is going to do the same. 

P 3 Abolitionists believe that prohibition must be weighed against our personal freedoms.
They argue that persons should be able to choose what they want with their bodies, including the recreational use of drugs, as long as they do not harm others. Such arguments often cite the harm principle of philosopher John Stuart Mill who urged that "the state had no right to intervene to prevent individuals from doing something that harmed them, if no harm was thereby done to the rest of society." (Mill, Liberty, 75).

P 4 Prohibitionists reject this idea. dependent on or abused illicit drugs. In 2007 one in every nine children under the age of 18 in the United States lived with at least one drug dependent or drug abusing parent. There is no point in having criminal laws unless those caught breaking them will at least face prosecution. Dr. John Samaras, professor of psychology at Penn Sate Univer5sity argues that "parental substance dependence and abuse can have profound effects on children, including child abuse and neglect, injuries and deaths related to motor vehicle accidents, and increased odds that the children will become substance dependent or abusers themselves (Samaras, Drug Addiction in America, 44).

Monday, October 2, 2017

welcome! pHI 2010 syllabus (Fall miniterm)

alfredo triff, ph.d.

room 3604-28 (Building #3)
tel. 305.237.7554
office hours: posted
text: Doing Philosophy: An Introduction through Thought Experiments, by Theodore Schick and Lewis Vaughn (Fifth Edition).

* become familiar with contemporary trends in philosophy.
* stimulate the philosophical spirit, i.e., learning how to problematize, hypothetical creativity, ethics of dialogue, philosophy for life.
* the previous point is also subsumed under critical thinking skills.

(keep reading here)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

paper proposal sample (due in a week)

This is your first paper assignment. This is a proposal, which has three components: 

1- Heading (in Times New Roman, point 12). On the left hand side, write your name (last name first), Philosophy Paper Proposal and the day and time of your class.
2- In the middle write the title (even in tentative) in bold letters. Avoid just rewriting the topic in your title. You may change your title, this is just forcing you think about a direction.
3- Two paragraphs, the first paragraph has your thesis, followed by a brief explanation supporting it. The second paragraph has the counterthesis with a brief explanation supporting it.  

Doe, John
Philosophy Paper Proposal
MWF, 10am Honors

Why animals should be protected against abuse: Factory Farming in America 

          In this paper, I will try to prove that animals being raised in factory farms in America deserve a better treatment. My main argument will show the public and environmental health risks associated with unregulated factory farming, while stressing that animal cruelty is ethically wrong. 

          I will argue against a counter defended by Factory Farm advocates, that our present regulations are necessary to offer a needed product at competitive market prices. 

topics for your philosophy paper

these are the topics for your philosophy paper. each theme has a link to a wikipedia article. once you pick your topic, read the whole wikipedia article. it's actually pretty good.

see that wikipedia presents a form. take a look at the content table to your left with 12 points ranging from "history," "on the go," "cuisine variants," to "advertising," "business," and finally "criticism" (where you find the counters to fast food advocates). etc. at the end of the article you find "references," "further reading" and "external links." the "reference section has 84 footnotes! this is your bread and butter. each wikipedia article is structured following the same form.

here are the topics: 

fast food 

(this important topic is at the intersection of public health, food production and public policy, i.e., the impact of globalization and cheap homogeneous food and the coming back of artisanal food, regional cuisine, farming, promoting taste as well as the organic food movement).

factory farms 

(generally little appreciated, this topic takes an ecological and human/animal dimension: the link between animal-processed foods, ecological degradation, all tied to the still obscure field of animal ethics).

police brutality

(a well-known & current socio-political problem, which brings forth issues such as proper police training, legitimizing excessive force, racial stereotyping, police's code of silence, lack of accountability, etc.)

same-sex marriage 

(one of the hottest social topics being discussed right now in America, at the intersection of personal vs. religious freedom, secularism, legislation, homosexuality, human rights, cultural consensus, etc).

government surveillance 

(a global problem intersecting, civil rights, policy, new technologies, power excess, international relations, corporate neutrality).

rule of law

(after Trump's inauguration and even with Obama's spate of executive orders, this point becomes relevant).

social media & culture 

(privacy issues, information overload, cyber bullying, fake news, etc).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

what do you gain with this class?

The GRE score data taken (via Leiter Report). See that philosophy is at the top of writing vs. verbal & writing vs. quantitative skills. in addition, it does pretty well under quant. vs. verbal.

So, philosophers are the best writers, the best speakers, and pretty good at quantitative thinking. Philosophers are the smartest humanists and command good quantitative skills (mathematicians and physicists are the best in this department).

If one is looking to hire someone with outstanding critical, verbal, and written ability – and someone with strong quantitative ability – they would hire a philosophy major!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

List of student assistants for Summer B class

Sofia Fascia
Selina Savage
Gersch Schiff
James Reyes

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Topics for Exam #3 (Chapter 4) Summer A

Topics for review for Exam #3 on Chapter 4 are here.

Here is the link to your textbook. Do the tests for chapter 4.

If you have any questions, post them in this post. I'll try to get to them ASAP.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On the distinction between number and quality when talking about ourselves (for Summer A class)

Because of our discussion yesterday and some of the comments put forward just before the class ended. We talked about how a white person is not qualified to talk for a black person (and viceversa), a man for a woman (and viceversa), a heterosexual for a homosexual (and viceversa), a non-transgender for a transgender and viceversa). At first, these qualifications may seem limiting, indeed overbearing. After all (as Roberto pointed out), even amongst blacks, a black person may say (referring to another black person) "this black person is not qualified to talk for me."

discussion continues here.

Student assistants for Summer A class

Athenais Acquaviva
Emily Mader
Julio Cesar Leyva

Thursday, June 15, 2017

biological naturalism (a better alternative to property dualism)

this is a theory defended by philosopher John Searle.  (The Rediscovery of the Mind)

For Searle, consciousness emerges at certain levels of anatomical organization. Certainly, the human brain, with its approximate 100billion neurons and 125trillion synapses (just in the cerebral cortex alone!) has the complexity to generate consciousness.

This is probably true of the brains of nonhuman primates, which also have lots of neurons and neural connections. It is also true for other non human animals. It may not be true of snails, because they may not have enough neurons and interconnections to support (much) consciousness. It's not true of paramecia, because they don't have any neurons at all. And it's certainly not true of thermostats.

Consciousness, Searle argues is a biological phenomenon, a property of the brain, but not a purely functional property. Instead, it is a systemic property. Systemic properties are very common in science, and some can seem quite unexpected just looking at the parts of the "system." For example, water is liquid, even though none of its parts, its molecules, are liquid. Liquidity is a systemic property. But we can explain why water is liquid in terms of its parts and their causal interactions. Another example is transparency – molecules aren't transparent; what makes glass transparent is the way the molecules are organized. In each of these cases, we can explain the "new" systemic property in terms of micro-level interactions.

Similarly, Searle argues, consciousness is a systemic property of the brain. It is the brain as a whole that is conscious, even though its individual parts – neurones – aren't. Consciousness is caused by micro-level brain processes, and if the brain and its causal powers and processes were reproduced, so would consciousness be. So, Searle says, there is nothing particularly mysterious about consciousness – it is part of the natural world, in particular, biology.

Consciousness cannot be eliminated from scientific discourse because objective, third-person descriptions of brain processes necessarily leave out the first-person subjectivity that lies at the core of phenomenal experience. First and foremost, consciousness entails first-person subjectivity. This cannot be reduced to brain-processes because any third-person description of brain-processes must necessarily leave out first-person subjectivity. For that reason, every attempt to reduce consciousness to something else must fail, because every reduction leaves out a defining property of the thing being reduced -- in this case, the first-person subjectivity of consciousness.

watson: the smartest machine ever built!

as part of our conversation about functionalism & AI (see the discussion about hypothesis and the talk about "corpus" around 4:00).

also, read this article, by ray kurzweil.

to proper understand what Watson does you should be proficient in these areas:

natural language processing, which includes

morphological linguistics,
lexical semantics (a promising subfield of the intersection between syntax and semantics)

machine translation,
natural language understanding (this is where the name AI comes from)
sentiment analysis (I love this, where the psychology intersects para-logical processes) 
discourse analysis,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Triff's office hours (Summer 12 week)

T, R, 8-9:40am

necessary and sufficient conditions

Necessary conditions:

X is a necessary condition for Y means, 

if we don't have X, then we don't have Y, or without X, you won't have Y

To say that X is a necessary condition for Y does not mean that X guarantees Y

Having gasoline in my car (I have a gasoline engine) is a necessary condition for my car to start. Without gasoline (x) my car (y) will not start. Of course, having gasoline in the car does not guarantee that my car will start. There are many other conditions needed for my car to start.

Having oxygen in the earth's atmosphere is a necessary condition for human life. However, having oxygen will not guarantee human life. There are many other conditions needed for human life other than oxygen in the atmosphere.

Being 18 years of age is a necessary condition for being able to buy cigarettes legally in North Carolina. Yet, being 18 years of age does not guarantee that a person will buy cigarettes. There are many other conditions that lead to a person buying cigarettes than being 18 years of age.

Sufficient conditions:

X is a sufficient condition for Y means,

if there is X, then Y happens (X guarantees Y)

Rain pouring from the sky is a sufficient condition for the ground to be wet.

Test yourself: 

*Is sunlight a necessary or sufficient condition for the flowers to bloom?

*Is earning a final grade of C a necessary or sufficient condition for passing the course?

*Is being a male a necessary or sufficient condition for being a father?

*Is having AIDS a necessary or sufficient condition for having the HIV virus?

*Is studying for a test a necessary or sufficient condition for passing a test?

*Is completing all the requirements of your degree program a necessary or sufficient condition for earning your degree?

Friday, May 12, 2017

regading homo "erectus"

the table above with the different "homo" developments.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Important guidelines for your final draft submission (HONORS classes) pay attention!!!

Guideline for final paper:

1- You're supposed to hand the final draft on the day of the final. 

2- The draft must be stapled, no binders, no cover page. 
3- At the top left the draft:

John Doe (your name)
MWF 10am class  

4- Your draft should be written in Times New Roman point 12
paginated on the top, right hand side.
5- Title in bold (centered). 
6- Your draft must be double spaced, with a minimum of 1,200 words.
7- MLS style of citations, (all same font, same size, including online sources). 
8- Please, properly spell check your drafts.

All of these details are worth points!! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Final Exams Schedule (all PHI 2010 classes)

Honors classes

MWF, 10am Honors  W April 26
MWF, 11am Honors   F April  28
MW,   1pm   Honors  W April 26

All other classes

T,R 8:25am     R, April 27
T,R 11:25am   R, April 27
M 5:40-8pm    M, April 24