Tuesday, November 21, 2017

All regular classes: I reviewed your drafts already

If you still need to fix draft issues don't resend them to me via email. 

See me in my office. It will likely take 12 minutes. 

Here are my office hours (again)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Topics for Exam #3 (Chapter 4) MINITERM

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.

Getting your first draft ready (MINITERM class)

the paper above is from a HONORS student (name withheld) in my spring 2016.

analysis (above): the thesis paragraph is the most important paragraph in your paper, this is the argument program you will follow. see how her draft has a short clear thesis divided into three points, six sentences. 1st point, explanation, second point, explanation, third point, explanation.

next, comes the counter paragraph. you do the same thing, only with a counterargument. the paragraph starts with "prohibitionists disagree," so the reader clearly understand "who is talking." same strategy. 1st point, explanation. second point, explanation. third point, explanation. 

third paragraph is the thesis first point (medicinal marijuana to treat diseases such as glaucoma, anxiety, seizures, etc.). the difference is that the thesis is expanding and going in detail, with outside sources (in text citations, referring to the bibliography in the last page of the draft).

the fourth paragraph is the counter paragraph taking its first point. see that it begins with the right attributiion "prohibitionists disagree," which informs the reader of "who's talking."

the subsequent paragraphs just follow the same dynamic until all the 6 points have been addressed.
then the thesis comes back with a conclusive paragraph wrapping up the discussion.

Here you have 3 different conclusion samples, taken from recent philosophy papers. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

now that your drafts are peer-reviewed, input your peer's suggestions and send your revised drafts to


in the subject of your email please, write down:

Elizabeth Doe, First Draft Revision, MWF 10am class (whichever your class and name happens to be)


First draft in-class peer-review: What to look for,

Formal issues

* left hand side:name, First Draft Philosophy Paper, class time,
* title: middle, bold,
* Times New Roman p. 12,
* double spaced,
* indented paragraphs,
* spelled check and grammar checked (very important!)
* 9 paragraphs (at least)
* minimum 1000 words,
* no front-and-back printing of draft,

Paragraph format issues

* first two paragraphs: Thesis and Counter, 3 points per paragraph.
* total of 6 sentences per paragraph. first sentence presents, the following sentence explains
* each paragraphs properly prefaced: either GS "advocates" or GS "critics" or SSM "advocates" or SSM "critics," etc. don't mind the repetition.
* 4th parag. should be Thesis 1st point, 5th parag. Counter 1st point and so on, alternating until the conclusion.
* Bibliography in separate page, at least 4 different sources,
* Only reputable sources to be cited, NO URLs, consult this for MLA conventions of citability  of digital references,

Content issues

* avoid unnecessary wordiness. the more wordy the more indication of poor research, 
* look for argument/citation ratio, 70% for argument,  30% for citation. if there is more, this is a red flag for plagiarism,
* proper introduction of each quote, "who talks" (Dr. John Doe, professor of Biology), "provenance," (at Penn State University),
* if a website, find the writer's name, her position, etc. google her name that if necessary,
* look for fat thesis paragraphs vs. thin counter paragraphs. this is a sign of poor research or bias, which is worse. your paper is as good as your counter's presentation,
* look for RELEVANCE, i.e., what is presented is properly explained and justified. 
* look for COHERENCE, i.e, the presented points in the draft successfully justify your thesis and counter's introductory paragraphs. 

it's time to tell your friend the following 

* this draft needs more research
* this draft has dubious sources
* your draft is too biased towards your thesis
* the points are not presented in a coherent manner
* the points presented are not relevant,
* the sources presented are not relevant,

If you have an intuition, call it, you're probably right!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

next week, get ready for your first draft and our in-class peer-review

Dear classes: Next week we are having our in-class first-draft peer-review. Basically you'll exchange drafts with the person next to you. Pen in hand, you will mindfully & carefully critique your peer's draft. 

Here are the things to keep in mind:  1- Get your first draft ready. Here is an actual paper, first 4 paragraphs + 3 conclusion samples.

2- And here are the actual guidelines.

Basically, you just have to finish what you already started. You did four paragraphs, tackling the first point of the thesis and the first point of the counter. Do the same with the remaining points.  Add the conclusion paragraph to wrap it up,

Good luck.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Triff's Office Hours

M-F 8-9:40 
M 3:30-5:30pm
T 3:30-5:30pm

Final exam schedule (Fall 2017)

Many of you have approached me about final exam dates.

Here is the Fall 2017 Exam schedule.

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

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
email: atriff@mdc.edu
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!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

List of student assistants for Summer B class

Sofia Fascia
Selina Savage
Gersch Schiff
James Reyes

Sunday, July 2, 2017

draft revisions (glossary of my symbols)

here are the symbols I use in the revision of your drafts:
C/P: Fix copy and paste ratio, this is a red rflag for plagiarism. Fix it by paraphrasing in your own words the whole paragraph.

FixSent: Fix the sentence, it reads awkwardly.

FdbetAr: Find a better argument. Generally it means the argument is not relevant. Find a new one.

InsuffRsrch: Insufficient research.

?? : Don't get it, "what do you mean," vague, etc.

Hypb: Hyperbolic. Fix the tone of your sentence. Hyperbolic language is a sign of poor research.  

TooW: Too wordy, cut, trim, less is more.

Need+W: The draft is short on words. 1,000 words minimum,

WT: Who talks? Proper prefacing, i.e., Same-marriage critics, or Same-marriage activists, never mind the cacophony, what we need is clarity.

Mss1Pt, missing first point, Mss2Pt, missing second point, Mss3Pt, missing third point,

Insffexpl: Insufficient explanation,

Insffinfo: Insufficient information,

ITC: Missing in-text-citation,

OS: The paragraph needs outside source,

Prefproprly: Preface the paragraph properly with either _____ advocate or ______ critic,