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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Topics for Exam #1 (chapters 1 & 7) Summer B

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 

Monday, June 19, 2017

welcome! pHI 2010 syllabus (Summer B)

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)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Topics for Phi 2010 Midterm Exam

Click here for the topics for the Midterm Exam.

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.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

what do you gain with this class?

The GRE score data taken from Discover Magazine (via Leiter Report). See that philosophy is at the top of writing vs. verbal skills. Philosophers are the smartest humanists, but they are pretty good when it comes to quantitative skills (mathematicians and physicists are the best in this department). Accountants are at the bottom of both writing and quantitative combined!

If you are looking to hire someone with outstanding critical, verbal, and written ability – and someone with strong quantitative ability – hire a philosophy major!

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

making death "optional"

News on aging and staying young this week. NASA, leaning in to a new treatment that could keep astronauts from aging out on the long trip to Mars. Space travel accelerates aging. On Earth, we're talking about "super-longevity," even immortality. Silicon Valley billionaires want it all, and are investing big brains and bucks to get it. Listen how the drive to make death "optional."
the podcast here. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

who's that lovely young black woman sitting behind judge gorsuch? (for you female political science majors!)

here is the answer!
A graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, she began interning in the Senate in July 2006. She worked for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and was an assistant in the Senate Republican Cloakroom, where politicians often make deals outside official meetings.