Friday, October 30, 2015

Final Exam Topics


The Four Noble Truths: 1- The truth of misery, 2- the truth that misery originates from the craving for pleasure, 3- the truth that this craving for pleasure can be eliminated (controlled), 4- the truth that this elimination is the result of a method that must be followed:

Eightfold Path: 1- The right views, 2- right aspirations, 3- right speech, 4- right conduct, 5- right livelihood, 6- right effort, 7- right mindfulness, and 8- right meditational attainment.

Dharma: cosmic law, duty, also the teaching of Buddha.  

Karma: The principle of causality,

Nirvana: same as moksha: liberation.


1- T’ien (or heaven) is purposive, the master of all things. T'ien is immanent: “Heaven sees through the eyes of the people, Heavens listens through the ears of the people.” Not necessarily anthropomorphic but anthropogenic, T'ien is embodied in the people and exemplified by the people. Heaven is a principle and that relates to human as that of part/whole relationship. 

2- Jen (also pronounced as “ren” means indistinctly, altruism, humanity and fairness and appears more than 100 times in the Analects. Jen requires compassion. 

Zhong-Yong: the Doctrine of the Mean = centrality = not to be “one-sided.” It doesn't mean just being in the middle regardless of context. The idea is to stay between two vices, not between excellence and vice. “Excess is as bad as deficiency.” (A, 20:1). Confucius defines it as: “Do not impose to others what you don't want,” the negative form of the Golden Rule. “If you want to establish yourself, establish others. If you want to promote yourself, promote others.” To be able to apply the golden rule one has to follow Shu

4- Shu, means to be empathetic, i.e., to be able to understand the circumstances. Shu needs... 

5- Xue or learning. It means a stronger sense of affecting oneself by improving one’s sensitivity, understanding or ability. With xue one appropriates what’s learned, a process of becoming transforming.

6- Si, means reflecting. “Learning without Si, one will be perplexed, thinking (Si) without learning, one will be in peril.” (A, 2:15). 

7- Li which is the idea of ritual. Li can be seen as the embodiment of refinement that rules one’s life. If jen is the internal quality that makes a person an authentic person, then li is the body of external behavior that allows jen to be manifested and applied publicly. When li is properly performed, it becomes "yi,” a word that can be translated as righteousness. Li provides the fabric of social order. It’s the proper social behavior of a person embedded in a community of equals. Li is also a vital constituent of education: Humans are like raw materials, they need to be carved, chiseled, grounded and polished to become authentic individuals. By doing li one learns and instills oneself in the practice of li


1- Tao (the Way) is the ONE. Natural, eternal, spontaneous, nameless and indescribable

Lao Tzu assumes the YING YANG principle. Yang is the cosmic energy of Heaven, male, aggression, firmness and brightness. Ying is the cosmic energy of earth, a female element that is receptive, yielding and dark. Harmony in nature is achieved through these two cosmic energies. They are both equally important. 

2- Being/Non-being, meaning the dialectic aspect of the universe. It's duck-rabbit. The second part of the dichotomy is referred to as Wuji (limitless, infinite)It's the ultimate nothingness. 
Know whiteness, Maintain blackness, and be a model for all under heaven. By being a model for all under heaven, Eternal integrity will not err. If eternal integrity does not err, You will return to infinity. 
3- Cycles: Tao moves in cycles. But the life cycle is an unchanging truth. While everything in nature and all sentient beings follow their respective cycles, so do worldly events. The main lesson here is that there is no rule by which one can foresee the future. Beware of Black Swans!

4- If a person shows Tao, he/she has applied Te (virtue). The ideal life for the individual and the ideal order for society and government are based on and guided by it. Te = harmony with your milieu, thus the universe.   

One who understand the the dominating character of the male yet keeps to the passive nature of the female, behaves properly

Te "produces but does not possess, cares but does not control; it leads but does not subjugate." 

5- Tao has a 5-point method: 

a- Simplicity: "less is more"
"less" here is not deficient, or lacking, or reduced. It's the best possible less: the just less that makes it happen.   

b- Spontaneity or tzu-yan: "blaze the trail not often followed" 
Even at the verge of erring, err honestly.  

c- Tranquility: "moon illumines the crystal blue water" 
The quiet horizon amidst the noise. Levelheadedness in crisis.  

d- Flexibility: "be a blade of grass" 
Dare let the weather lead.  

e- Non-action or wu-weiBecause of its importance, I intend to explain wu-wei in more detail in my next post.


1- Talking silence (Dogen):

"Avoid unnecessary words.
Speak with your mind.
Read people’s minds."

2- Being a fool (Master Ikkyu):

"How to reach out?"
Listen… ask.
"How can I obtain wisdom?"
Be a fool.

"What is Zen?
Nothing special."

A monk asked Ummon: "What is Buddha?" Ummon answered him: "Dried shit."
3- Gentle Face (Shin-Hiu)

"Gentle face means a happy spirit,
Let people know it.
Let people see it.
What if they resent it?
Since they need it, they will come to love it."

4- Compelling mind (Ryokan)

"The compelling mind is peaceful."

"How can I feel my mind?
Look at the mountain…"

"Read minds and look at the mountains.".....

"Beathe with your mind and think with your heart!"

5- Cultivate Poetry (the koan as a device for enlightenment)*

Language is evoked by the present occasion itself; it is not merely a mapping of the present in terms of learned structures. thus, language has more of a poetic than a discursive dimension. poetry proper is never merely a higher mode of everyday language. it's rather the reverse: everyday language is a forgotten and therefore used-up poem, from which there hardly resounds a call any longer.

6- Doing Nothing

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water."

"When you seek it, you cannot find it."

"After enlightenment, the laundry."

what does a black female philosopher look like?

professor sybol cook anderson, @ st. mary's college maryland

professor angela davis, educated in brandeis and frankfurt (germany)

professor kathryn t. gines, @ penn state university

professor desiree melton, @ notre dame university

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

philosophy club's first meeting next tuesday november 3 @ 2:30pm

the philosophy club is on! 

first meeting is tuesday november 3, room #3327 at 2:30pm.

trending topic: NSA and government surveillance!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bodhidharma and the great hall of mirrors

Illustration by Clay Hickson, via Juxtapoz

MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls,’ the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.

Without moving, without effort, they (we all) enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four practices:

Suffering injustice,
adapting to conditions,
seeking nothing, and
practicing the Dharma.

First, suffering injustice. When those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves: "In Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions.

Second, adapting to conditions. I say, be a blade of grass.

Third, seeking nothing. People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking. The wise wake up. They choose reason over custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons. All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring. Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity!

To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house. To have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body has peace? The more reason to have it! Those who understand this detach themselves from all they have and stop imagining or seeking. The sutras say, To seek is to suffer.

The Way:

The Way is wordless. Words are illusions. They’re no different from things that appear in your dreams at night, be they palaces or carriages, forested parks or lakeside ‘lions. Don’t conceive any delight for such things. Don’t cling to appearances, and you’ll break through all barriers.

Your real body is pure and impervious. But you’re unaware of it. And because of this you suffer karma in vain. Wherever you find delight, you find bondage. Feel it. But once you awaken to your original body and mind," you’re no longer bound by attachments.

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to took for reality is awareness.

Freeing oneself from words is liberation. No appearance of the mind is the other shore.


When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake tip, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores.

Delusion means mortality. Awareness means Buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different.

When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

Limit of paradox:

If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality.

If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both.

Those who don’t understand don’t understand understanding. And those who understand, understand not understanding.

People capable of true vision know that the mind is empty. They transcend both understanding and not understanding. The absence of both understanding and not understanding is true understanding

When you don’t understand, your wrong. When you understand, you re not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist.

The sutras say, Nothing has a nature of its own.


Don’t question. When you question, you’re wrong. Wrong is the result of questioning.

take a look at five good search engines for your paper

1. infotopia from google

2. academic info

3. base

4. citeyoulike

5. google scholar

how to connect paragraphs (the secret of transitional phrases)

1. transitions of similarity: (use these when moving from thesis to a second thesis paragraph)

in the same way, 
(just as ... so too), 

2. transitions of contrast: (use this when moving from thesis to counter)

 in spite of, 
on the one hand ... on the other hand, 
in contrast, 
on the contrary, 
despite the previous argument...

3. transitions of example: (use this when you want to show something, in the same sentence or in the next, or the next paragraph)

for example, 
for instance, 
in fact, 
of course, 

4.  transitions of cause and effect: (this looks like a conclusion of a previous argument) 


5. transitions of evidence: (you use this transitions to further show more evidence)

as well, 
equally important,
in addition, 

6. transitions of summary or conclusion: (any time you want to announce a conclusive point)

 in a word, 
in brief, 
in conclusion, 
in the end, 
in the final analysis, 
on the whole, 
to conclude, 
to summarize, 
in sum, 
to sum up, 
in summary

if you move from a Thesis -Counter or Counter-Thesis you need transitions of contrast.  

if you are giving more reasons for Thesis or Counter in the following paragraph you need transitions of evidence.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

We have a Philosophy Club!

Good news. Our Phi 2010 philosophy club is on!

The president of the club is Fritz Charles. Cristopher Labora is the vice-president.

If you are interested in joining, please leave your name and a way for Fritz to contact you here.

you are what you present, you are what you show. what else is there?

non-content problems

1- loose sheets, unstapled.
2- the written assignment presented front-and-back (as if you'll save the planet with this assignment).
3- list of work cited in the same page of the discussion (as if one more page is a sin).
4- MLA conventions not followed with in-text citations and at the end of the draft (remember, no URLs allowed!)
5- ink marks (on the presented assignment),
6- no time of class (i.e., "MWF 10am"),
7- drafts without titles.

content problems (definitely more important)

1- too much copy-and-paste (I call it C/P ratio, people call it plagiarism).
2- syntax problems (broken sentences, hanging phrases, rambling sentences).
3- colloquialisms left and right,  
4- hyperbole (when you exaggerate a point)
5- ad hominem, circularity (remember fallacies?)
6- Paragraphs without the proper thesis or counter identification (as  in "same-sex marriage advocates" vs. "same-sex marriage critics"),
7- coherence problems: broken threads, disconnected points in a same paragraph, etc (the problem here is lack f research and excessive copy-and-paste  without revision)

once finished, read your discussions to point to structural deficiencies in your arguments.

follow these suggestions:

1- prioritize your args. hone them, make them better. read your sentences. make them good with explanatory power.  
2- read your drafts out loud! 
3- redink your own weak points and fix them. build the best possible paragraphs you can build.
4- talk from your heart. digest your appropriated content (so it doesn't look carelessly plagiarized).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

downward causation and emergence (only deeper)

for those of you interested in a deeper discussion about downward causation and emergence, click here. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

the robots are coming!

In his new book, Rise of the Robots, Martin Ford considers the social and economic disruption that is likely to result when educated workers can no longer find employment.
But what we're seeing now in robotics is that finally the machines are ... being driven by advances in areas like visual perception. You now have got robots that can see in three-dimension and that's getting much better and also becoming much less expensive. So you're beginning to see machines that are starting to have the kind of perception and dexterity that begins to approach what human beings can do. A lot more jobs are becoming susceptible to this and that's something that's going to continue to accelerate, and more and more of those jobs are going to disappear and factories are just going to relentlessly approach full-automation where there really aren't going to be many people at all.
for example, machines can now fully produce very, very high quality hamburgers ... about 350 to 400 per hour; they come out fully configured on a conveyor belt ready to serve to the customer. ... it's all fresh vegetables and freshly ground meat and so forth; it's not frozen patties like you might find at a fast food joint. These are actually much higher quality hamburgers than you'd find at a typical fast food restaurant.

wine tasting aesthetics

let's do a little wine axiology here. take this advice from How to Taste Wine?
Look: Look at the shade of color and opacity. How does it compare to other wines of the same varietal? Is it darker? More intense? Harder to see through? Take a mental snapshot for later, these hints will show how bold, rich and viscous the wine is.
Smell: Time to pay attention. Identifying smells beforehand makes tasting flavors in wine easier. Start by swirling the glass to aerate the wine and release its aromas. To swirl a glass, place it flat on a table and move your hand as though you are drawing tiny circles with the base. Now stick your nose in there and take a big sniff. What do you smell?
Taste: Who doesn’t love this step? Take a mouthwash size sip and briefly swish it around your mouth to make sure it coats your entire tongue before you swallow. Think about the flavors, textures and body of the wine. Is it sharp? Does it make your tongue feel dry? Do the flavors match the smells from earlier? Can you name a fruit, mineral or spice? Does it have an alcohol burn?
Swallow/Spit: Oh my. Have you ever rationalized swallowing because you’d hate to waste wine? There are some good reasons to spit. Maybe the wine doesn’t suit your taste or you want to save yourself for better wine. Maybe you need to drive. Or better yet, maybe you want to be sober enough to actually taste all the wines at a tasting. As long as you’re safe, we won’t judge you either way.
Think: Too many guides focus on the superficial nuances of wine tasting. Wine tasting is a head game. Confidence and bold assertion can often make someone look like a pro who actually knows nothing. Don’t be afraid to pipe up and offer your suggestions! There are no wrong answers. Although, if every wine smells like burnt toast you might want to see a doctor.
scroll down and check the video of the young female somm discussing primitivo. she is really cool. we've discussed this in class, basically the more you discriminate taste the better you're able to taste.

Friday, October 9, 2015

our philosophy club has a blog!

philosophers, the philosophy club is alive, it breathes the spirit of enlightenment, free exchange of idea in the , pursuit of truth. thus, they have called it,

the voltaire society!

rashila fernando (president)
max imbert (vice-president)
stanley othello (organizer)
susana martinez (secretary)

i quote from their manifesto:
Regardless, even if you are a student completely unfamiliar with Philosophical concepts, there is nothing that can prevent the evolution of a thought or the blooming of a brilliant idea. And the beauty of it lies in the fact that it can happen anywhere, anytime.
don't wait any longer to join this group of intrepid thinkers! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

key to abbreviations in grading your discussion assignment

P: proper prefacing the paragraph. remember transitional phrases.

+Arg: The paragraph needs a better or more substantive argument. In general what is written could be said better.

Sx: syntax issues: run-on sentences, sentence fragments, rambling sentences

Relevance: Relevance, some sort of problem with what has been said that needs correction.

Usage: ways in which words are used needs attention

Grammar:  whether sentence construction, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, misplaced modifiers/split Infinitives, mixed construction.

C/D: too many citations and sources, very little discussion, a red flag for plagiarism.

Coll: Too colloquial a style.  

Red.: Redundant sentence, the point is too repetitive.  

Coherence: there is a problem with the internal thread, sentences are disparate, tackling too much in too little space, the argument doesn't follow, etc.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

list of student assistants for all phi 2010 classes

m,w,f, 9am

Daymara Roque
Jorge Marrero
Adriana Olmos

m,w,f, 11am

Lauren Parson
Spencer Daphnis
Erick Briones
Mariaelisa Carbonell

t,r 9:50am

Cecilia Castillo
Alexander Jimenez
Patrick Robinson
David Gomez
Susana Martinez

t,r 11:15am

Jenny Guerrier
Brandon Milian
Alexandra Vazquez
Stephanie Desouza

t 5:40pm

Mariana Murillo
Nile Lofters
Shena Othello