Friday, September 25, 2015

result of (automated) elections for our philosophy club!

Rashila Sanduli (President)
Max Isambert (Vicepresident)
Stanley Othello (Treasurer)
Susana Martinez (Secretary)

we had 4 rounds out of 7 members : for president, then for vice, for treasurer and lastly for secretary. if you have an issue with your actual position let me know ASAP.

now you have to meet and discuss the next move: recruiting!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

are you interested in being part of the philosophy club?

the philosophy club (PHICLUB from hereon) at wolfson campus & it's ready for business.

if you're interested in becoming a president, vice, secretary, treasurer and eliciting philosophical discussions with the support of your professor and student union, etc, come to me, first-come, first-served.

PHICLUB points.

1- the responsibility of the PHICLUB: elect a president, secretary, treasurer, etc.

2- to stimulate a democratic environment,  the president conducts issues to be treated and assigns issues to be discussed in future meetings. based on suggestions and/or criticisms, he/she stipulates what to do next.

3- it's advisable to have an agenda that the president will provide. at least, the agenda must be announced at the beginning of the meeting.

4- since much of philosophy is about arguments, all disagreements be treated in a civilized manner. there should be a box for suggestions to be examined by the president and the secretary & suggestions should be aired and confronted.

5- the PHICLUB should meet weekly, preferable inside a classroom (accommodations are possible & the president could arrange it).

6- it's good to keep minutes of each meeting. they are the club's proof of direction.

7- the PHICLUB should try to expand and reach out to other students.

8- it's advisable to come up with some kind of calendar for the rest of the term served by the president.

9- events should include presentations, debates, field trips and others.

are you ready? send me an email!! election is next week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

philosophy club members up for election (so far)

Max Isambert

Gabriella Becerril

Stanley Othello

Susana Martinez

Juan Jimenez

Rashila Sanduli

Martina Korganoff

R.J. Hatfield

Thursday, September 10, 2015

neledi: a new member of the human family tree discovered in south africa

the neledi are a handsome hominid ancestor type, if you ask me

find the article here.
The creature, which evidently walked upright, represents a mix of traits. For example, the hands and feet look like Homo, but the shoulders and the small brain recall Homo's more ape-like ancestors, the researchers said. Lee Berger, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg who led the work, said naledi's anatomy suggest that it arose at or near the root of the Homo group, which would make the species some 2.5 million to 2.8 million years old. The discovered bones themselves may be younger, said Berger, an American.
 ordered neledi bones

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

need a math tutor? i have one for you

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Chapter 5 Topics for Review

Ethics is the study of moral values.

Moral values are behaviors of fundamental consequence for human welfare.

Moral Judgements = Moral standards + Factual beliefs.

Ethics can be broadly divided into objectivism and subjectivism. Objectivism is the view that right and wrong are independent from peoples' beliefs. Subjectivism is the view that right and wrong are dependent of peoples' beliefs.

4. Cultural relativism: The doctrine that what makes an action right is that it's approved by that culture. Counterarguments: 1- Logical contradiction (see above), impossibility for moral disagreements and 2- The fact that cultures are not that different at a deeper level. One can point to differences between "deep" values (moral values, i.e., human behavior of fundamental consequence for human welfare) and "superficial" values (domestic habits, etiquette, fashion, etc) other cultural values to the effect that most cultures seem to share the same deep moral values. 

5. Logical Structure of Moral Arguments: Moral standards + factual beliefs = Moral judgments(this is not a formula, just an approximation). What is a factual belief? A belief held by factual evidence (i.e., child abuse is wrong because of the facts we know about psychology, human rights, child development, etc,). 6. Are there universal moral principles? YES! 1- Principle of mercy (Unnecessary suffering is wrong) and 2- Principle of justice (Treat equals equally).

 Section 5.2 Consequentialism

1. Difference between consequentialist theories and formalist theories. Consequentialism is the theory that judges the rightness or wrongness of an action in terms of its consequences. Formalism is the theory that judges the rightness or wrongness of an action in terms of the action's form (i.e., "killing is wrong": the formalist believes that moral actions are objective).
2. Intrinsic (value for its own sake; personhood is an essential value: a-reason, b-autonomy, c-sentience, d-freedom) and instrumental values (value for the sake of something else).
3. Ethical egoism: What makes an action right is that it promotes one's best interest in the long run = PRUDENCE. Counterarguments: Egoism may condone acts that are obviously wrong as right (you walk into the forest and see your rival who has been attacked by a wild animal. If it is in your best interest to eliminate him without getting caught then you are morally obligated to finish him off. In addition, you would not vote for an egoist in office. 
4. Act Utilitarianism: What makes an action right is that it maximizes happiness everyone considered (which means, "bringing happiness for the greatest majority of people"). Counterarguments: (a) McCloskey’s informant (b) Brandt’s Heir, (c) Ross' unhappy promise, (d) Goodwin's Fire Rescue, (e) Ewing's Utilitarian torture. In each one of these cases one has violated principles of justice, duty and equality. 
5. Rule Utilitarianism: What makes an action right is that it falls under a rule that if generally followed would maximize happiness everyone considered. RU is a better theory than AU. Why? Because if applied, it can solve the problems posed by the previous counterarguments.

 Section 5.3 Kantian Ethics

1. Kant’s Categorical Imperative: What makes an action right is that everyone can act on it (which yields universalizability), and you'd have everyone acting on it (which yields reversibility: Golden Rule).
2. Perfect duty: A duty that must always be performed no matter what. And imperfect duties. 
3. Kant's Second Formulation: TREAT PEOPLE AS ENDS, NEVER AS MEANS TO AN END. Problems with the second formulation? Problem of exceptions to the rule. Sometimes we have to treat people as means to ends. Example: Broad's Typhoid Man. What to do then?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

why induction is not foolproof

an example of inductive reasoning: 

a, b, c & d are observed to be true therefore a may be true.

(a is a reasonable explanation for b, c, & d being true).


p1: A large enough asteroid impact would create a very large crater and cause a severe impact winter that could drive the non-avian dinosaurs to extinction.
p2: We observe that there is a very large crater in the gulf of Mexico dating to very near the time of the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs
c: Therefore it is possible that this impact could explain why the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct.

note: see that c is not necessarily the case, other events also coincide with the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

remember: inductive reasoning is inherently uncertain. it only deals in degrees to which, given the premises, the conclusion is credible according to some theory of evidence.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tiktaalik, the transitional 375-million-year-old fish

check this article in the NYTimes:
... on closer examination, scientists found telling anatomical traits of a transitional creature, a fish that is still a fish but exhibiting changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals — a predecessor thus of amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs, mammals and eventually humans. The scientists described evidence in the forward fins of limbs in the making. There are the beginnings of digits, proto-wrists, elbows and shoulders. The fish also had a flat skull resembling a crocodile's, a neck, ribs and other parts that were similar to four-legged land animals known as tetrapods.
this is proof for evolution. why? transitionality,
... scientists have concluded that Tiktaalik is an intermediate between the fish Panderichthys, which lived 385 million years ago, and early tetrapods. The known early tetrapods are Acanthostega and Ichthyostega, about 365 million years ago.

why do you need physics? because physics is the study of reality!

check out this wonderful site (those of you who haven't taken physics).

click on the particular subjects, whether light, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, sun, black holes, condensed matter, etc.