Friday, December 2, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

regarding your final papers

dear phi 2010 classes: final papers are to be handed the day of your respective final exam. 

however, you are not to do that unless you have my approval. I have told only a few students that they can go ahead and submit their final drafts, which means most of you need to see me during these two weeks we have left to finish this thing. 

if you don't you actually risk losing 20 pts. of your final grade.

so, please, see me. my room number is 3604-28 and my office hours are here.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


MWF 10am   Wednesday Dec 14

MWF 11am   Friday Dec 16

TR 9:50am    Tuesday Dec 13

T 5:40pm      Tuesday Dec 13

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

your draft's first two paragraphs and the conclusion

Dear class:

Your first two paragraphs are the most important in your draft. They contain all the arguments you will develop. No argument should appear in the draft's body that has not been already announced in the thesis' (or counter's) paragraph. In a sense, your thesis and counter paragraphs are your argument plan. They announce what you will do in the draft's body.

This is how your two paragraphs should look like.

Paragraph 1: Thesis
In this paper I argue in favor of increasing the minimum wage in America. Increasing the minimum wage can potentially lift people out of poverty, help low-income families make ends meet and narrow the gap between the rich and poor. This last point is underscored by the exorbitant salaries earned by CEOs and other corporate executives, which are the same people generally arguing against an increase in the minimum wage.
Analysis: The first sentence (in red) of your draft is the thesis statement. It's a short sentence stating your position (in favor or against). The following sentence (in blue) presents the actual arguments. See that the sentence states three points defending the thesis:
1- Increasing the minimum wage can potentially lift people out of poverty, 2- help low-income families make ends meet and 3- narrow the gap between the rich and poor.

I need a minimum of 2 points and no more than 3 points in your thesis.

Paragraph 2: Counterargument
Critics of increasing minimum wage disagree. They believe that increasing the minimum wage hurts our economy: it hurts small businesses by squeezing their profit margins, it encourages employers to downsize their staff increasing the cost of goods to consumers. 
The first sentence of the counter (in red) simply disagrees with the thesis. Then, the following sentence states 2 points:
1- increasing the minimum wage hurts our economy by hurting small businesses by squeezing their profit margins, 2- it encourages employers to downsize their staff increasing the cost of goods to consumers. 

The conclusion of your draft should read:

I hope I have shown that______________________________ (make it two sentences summarizing your results ).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to prioritize your points in your thesis and counter

In the construction of your thesis and counter, you need to be able to move from a general thesis point, say: "In this paper I argue against Fast Food (FF)," to actually provide reasons to support your thesis.

To do this I suggest we come up with three points. Which points?

Think about it. What's your angle? You want to discuss health issues linked to FF? If so, pick one say, 1- obesity, and then 2- Type II diabetes 

we have two points, we need one more. Move to a different FF issue, say
FF & advertising,  or
FF and factory farms, or
FF and low wages 

See that this is what we have:

When it comes to Same-sex marriage, Government surveillance or Police brutality:   

1- issues of justice,
2- issues of individuals rights,
3- economic aspects,

when it comes to Fast Food:

1- issues of health, or animal or ecological,
2- economic aspects,

Factory farms or animal welfare,

1- animal welfare (this is a moral issue),
2- ecological issues,
3- economic or social issues,

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

list of student assistants for phi 2010

MWF 10am

Patience Green
Vanessa Guillen
Andres Mendoza
 Noemi Nunez

MWF 11am

Johnathan Arce
Daniela Carballo
Gabriela Ocner
Dylan Rivers

TR 9:50am

Ashley Jean
Alejandra Herrera
Michael Dorsey
Sebastian Albisleiman

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Philosophy Paper 2nd assignment: How to argue a point

For this 2nd assignment you produce a 2-page discussion. 

Below, I've colored two different sides of the minimum wage discussion.
The red is my thesis,
The counter is blue.
In yellow you have the data supporting each view. 

Your paper will be as good as your supporting data. Each important point must be properly documented by experts & reliable sources. 

Please, use Times New Roman p.12, double spaced, at the end cite the works as you see in the example below. Do not color your discussion. 

Phi 2010 
Philosophy paper (Discussion)
John Doe 
T,R 9:50am class

Why we need to raise the minimum wage for Americans

My thesis is that increasing the minimum wage is a good economic policy. Tying the minimum wage to inflation would allow it to rise along with the cost of living. If enacted, the measure would boost the wages of about 15 million low-income workers. The $9 minimum wage would be the highest in more than three decades, accounting for inflation, but still lower than the peaks reached in the 1960s and 1970s. (Romer, Cristina).

Conservatives disagree.  They forecast that the 11% minimum wage increase scheduled for this summer will lead to the loss of an additional 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults. According to recent data from a study by Richard Burkhauser and Joseph Sabia, 34% of minimum-wage workers were in families with incomes exceeding three times the poverty line ($22,050 for a family of four) which is roughly the top half of the income distribution. Only 17% were in poor families. they believe that companies that hire low-wage workers — both small businesses and some large businesses — have a place in the economy. They argue that raising the minimum wage increases their cost of business. Conservative economists conclude that making employees more expensive for companies to hire is detrimental to an economy like ours, with high levels of unemployment (even after the recession has ended).(Numark, David).

In spite of this conservative counter, many centrist, labor and liberal groups have pushed for higher minimum wages. For example, Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement: “A higher minimum wage is key to getting the economy back on track for working people and the middle class. There is a growing consensus on the left and right that one of the best ways to get the economy going again is to put money in the pockets of people who work.” (Smith, Alice).

Advocates of increasing the minimum wage estimate that $1.75 increase in the minimum wage would be enough to offset roughly 10 to 20 percent of the increase in income inequality since 1980. According to data compiled by the economists Thomas Piketty, at the Paris School of Economics, and Emmanuel Saez, at the University of California, Berkeley, inequality has worsened considerably during that time, and many metrics show that wages have stagnated or declined for millions of working families. The income share of the top 1 percent of earners has doubled, to 20 percent in 2011 from 10 percent in 1980. Between 1980 and 2008, according to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the top 10 percent of earners captured 98 percent of all income gains. (Romer, Cristina). 

Conservatives debate this last point. They claim this ad hoc wage increase would cause a long-term detrimental effect for job creators. For conservatives, the principal source of an individual's higher earnings are experience accumulation and specialized skills in the labor market. Increasing the minimum wage burdens job creators, especially when the economy is weak. House Speaker John A. Boehner voted against a 2006 bill letting the minimum wage rise to its current level of $7.25 from $5.15. The legislation ultimately passed with bipartisan support in 2007, though many Republicans voted against it.

and so on....

Works cited (taken from the Internet)

Romer, Cristina, "The Business of Minimum Wage," New York Times, March 2, 2013.

Numark, David , "Delay the Minimum Wage,", July, 2009.

Smith, Alice, "Getting the Economy on Track,", March, 2012.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

what makes a "good" movie good? opinion? fact?

here is a unique wikipedia list of the best films,

see that many movies overlap different criteria, which goes to say that opinions tend to converge. could one say that the narrower the convergence, the more likely the opinion to come close to the facts?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

how to build good student behaviors

you want to be a good student. to be a good student you have to learn how to program yourself. these programs are called student behaviors.

you understand the idea of a program. there are good and bad programs.

a good program solves a problem, improves functionality, enhances self-defense. 
a bad program makes things worse by adding unnecessary problems to existing problems.

your life is now a program.

we all come "already programmed." this is what people call "baggage": DNA, behavioral dispositions, psychosomatic products and byproducts (parents, neighborhood, school peers, associations, physico-biological outcomes of previous dispositions and interactions with the environment, etc).

imagine each moment of your life as "inputs" of your overall life "program" being automatically realized into all the different social tasks you are engaged into as "subprograms" for instance, being a student, a worker, a father, a friend, a brother, etc.

let's talk now about bad programs. they:

1- overwhelm the host and the system,
2- reduce functionality, and therefore, 
3- worsen security, usability, maintainability, productivity, predictability, quality, etc

you don't want this.

running the best program is your most important goal. 

have you not felt some times so ridden with bad "subprograms" that your life was about to "crash"?

i have.

on the other hand, our lives necessarily run with many bad subprograms ("bad code" we come with, for example: genes, parents, social conditioning, etc.

at any moment, when one less expects it, a bug appears, making our overall life program miserable. this is a design problem we all come with. don't panic.


constantly debugging and testing our overall functionality. 

grade wise: moving from a C to a B

it means better functionality. it means better student behaviors and overall self-sufficiency. remember we don't have a programmer debugging our programs, we have to do it ourselves!

let's talk about a "good student" program.

this is the best program you can build for yourself. but you need patience and follow instructions.

let's translate this into class/behaviors for our PHI 2010 class:

1- punctuality, (in program: 9am means 8:50 am),
2- attendance, (in program: zero absences as goal),
3- hard work: homeworks and assignments, (in program: understanding homeworks, turning assignments on time, etc), 
4- participation (in program: being publicly proactive with your knowledge), 
5- leadership, (in program: helping not only yourself, but also your classmates succeed ), 
6- productivity (in program: studying conscientiously for your tests to achieve A's and B's).  
7- sustainability, (learn to detect your own "bug" on time and seek help). 

a "good student" subprogram can only help your "life program." isn't is obvious?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Philosophy Club Constitution

Wolfson Philosophy Club (WPC) Preamble:

We, the members of Miami Dade College from WPC, hereby associate ourselves to: Create an open environment in which thought-provoking philosophical debate can be held. Furthermore, we will organize talks with diverse guest speakers, as well as field trips and events. This will be done in order to promote the globalization of mind-sets and the love of knowledge.

Article I. Name of Organization: The name of the organization will be: (WPC: Wolfson Philosophy Club)

Article II. Objectives:
Section 1: The purpose of this club is to to stimulate philosophical conversation in a democratic fashion. Members will suggest issues to be addressed; based on suggestions and/or criticisms, the president will stipulate what to do next.
Section 2: Since much of philosophy is about arguments, all disagreements shall be treated in a civilized manner. There will be a forum (physical or virtual) for suggestions to be examined by the president and the secretary; suggestions should be aired and confronted.
Section 3: The club will host and organize presentations, meetings with guest speakers, field trips, and food related events in order to promote the mission as mentioned in the preamble.
Section 4: During meetings, members and officers will discuss and debate their beliefs of knowledge, ethics, sexuality, reality, religion, and etc. Topics will be very fluid. 

Article III. Membership:
Section 1: The membership of this organization will be open to anyone interested.
Section 2: A quorum of membership for voting purposes will be reached when 2/3 (66%) of regular members are present.
Section 3: To consciously believe that one is a member of WPC is to be a member.
Section 4: Nominations for leadership roles will take place the second week of each new semester. Section 5: Installation of new officers will take place the second week of each new semester.
Section 6: Votes will be counted by the faculty advisor, Professor Alfredo Triff.

Article IV. Removal of Officers:
Section 1: If an officer is becoming inactive in his/her assigned position, not attending meetings and reflecting lack of responsibility towards WPC, then that officer can be removed from his/her position. Section 2: Any member may bring charges against an officer or director by filing them in writing with the secretary of the association, together with a petition signed by twenty percent of the members, requesting the officer’s or director’s removal. The removal shall be voted upon at the next regular or special meeting of the association. By an affirmative vote of no less than two-thirds of the votes entitled to cast by members present in person, or by proxy and voting, the association may remove such officer or director. The director or officer against whom such charges have been brought shall be informed in writing of the charges prior to the meeting, and will have an opportunity at the meeting to be heard in person or by counsel, and to present witnesses; and, the person, or persons, bringing the charges will have the same opportunity.

 Article V. Faculty Advisor: WPC will have professor Alfredo Triff as the faculty advisor who may attend meetings and advise the organization.

 Article VI. Robert’s Rule of Order: Robert’s Rule of Order will be used as a guide for the officers in all situations not covered by provisions of the constitution.

Article VII. Officers:
Section 1: President. The President duties are generally as follows: Commence meetings at the time in which the assembly is to meet, to call order in the meetings, to conduct issues to be treated, and assign issues to be discussed in future meetings. The President should serve as a guide for thought-provoking conversations to flourish. The President must respect the right of all members to vote. Authenticate with his/her signature acts or agreements the club has. The President should supervise officers to make sure they are following their duties.
Section 2: Vice President. The Vice President’s most important duty is to assume authority when the President is unable to be at a meeting or when President has to step down from office. The Vice President also presides when the President is being removed from office and must follow the President’s duties as described in Article VI Section 1.
Section 3: Executive Secretary. The Secretary’s duties are generally keeping all the records of the organization, preparing the agenda, handling correspondences, sending notices of meeting to the members, and performing other administrative duties assigned by the WPC. The Secretary must keep record of everything that can be easily accessible e.g., the topics that are spoken about at the meetings.
Section 4: Treasurer. The Treasurer supervises incoming funds, securing funds, and the manner of how the funds are spent. Treasurer must keep a complete and up to date record of the funds pertaining to WPC. Treasurer must inform the President and/or Vice President before releasing funds for an activity. Treasurer must also inform the WPC members of how their fees are spent.

Article VIII. Meetings and Dues:
Section 1: Meetings will be held regularly at a time specified by WPC. WPC will regularly meet Mondays at 12:00 pm through 1:00 pm, and or Thursdays at 2:00 pm through 3:00 pm at an assigned classroom.
Section 2: There are no initiation fees.
Section 3: WPC will hold fundraising events to finance its activities; WPC members are suggested but not required to attend. If needed, a fee of less than $10.00 may be asked. Article IX. Amendments: Amendments to this constitution will be forwarded to the President in writing of submission to the members for vote. A 2/3 vote will suffice for adoption thereof, subject to approval by the Director of Student Life and the appropriate organizational council.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

let's remain friends

some of you have approached me to stay friends. it's an honor.

this is my personal blog: miami.bourbaki.

click and go to miami.bourbaki, see the left hand side of the blog? scroll down to "google followers" and just click "follow" and follow the instructions.

have a nice summer!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer AB first draft submissions (via email)

Draft's length: 1,000 words minimum. 
double-spaced, left-indented 
Times New Roman p. 12
follow MLA protocols (in-text citations and bibliography)
send it in Word file, please, no Google docs, my computer doesn't read that.
Write in the subject of your email: "Summer AB first draft"

send to:

Remember the heading:

Pierre, Thomas
Phi 2010
First draft
Summer AB class

Deadline: Tuesday July, 19 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Topics for review, Chapter 4 (Athenais) Summer A

Numerical identity: This is your number. You are only one (Cannot be two at the same time). You have an exclusive club with only you as a member.

Qualitative identity: This are qualities you share with others. You belong in an infinite number of clubs with other people and things. We are qualitatively identical to many people at once!

Accidental Property: A property that I can lose without ceasing to exist (if I lose my hair, I will still be myself).
Essential Property: A property that I cannot lose, otherwise I will stop existing (if I lose my brain I will die, and stop being myself).

Animalism: The doctrine that identical persons are those with identical bodies.
Identity → Body
Counter: Locke’s tale of the prince and the cobbler.

The Soul Theory of Personal Identity: The doctrine that identical persons are those with identical souls. If I have the same soul, the same mind and the exact same thoughts as another person, then I am the same as that person. Counter: Leibniz → King of China In way to be king, someone needs to die and to born again. He was born again, losing all his old memories, he won’t be the same person anymore.

Memory Theory: You are your memories. ● Quasi-memories: Memories that have been shared to us (such as the day we were born). Caused in a right way by actual experience (someone had that experience and shared it to you). ● Apparent memories: Memories of events that either didn’t happen or were not caused by the event recorded. (ex: I always thought that I once had a blue house, however everybody from my family say that it’s false) ● Fake memories: Memories that never happen. ● Real memories: A memory of an event that was experienced by the person remembering it and that was caused by the event it records.

The Brain Theory (Shoemaker): You are your brain. To be identical, you must have the same psychology, caused and realized in the same brain. Supportive thought experiment: Shoemaker’s Brain Transplant If we transplant a brain in another body, the resulting person will be the owner of the brain and not the owner of the body. The body is disregarded in this theory. Counter: Parfitt's Division. A person donates its two brain hemispheres and gives each one to someone else thus donating to two different people. According to the brain theory both people should be identical Parfit. But that’s impossible because two different people can not be one.

Self-as-Process: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre: You are for-yourself (l’être pour soi), because you have free will. We are beings that are always empty (le néant). We have a constant void. What makes you different from a pen, for example, is that you have free will, when the pen hasn’t any.

Sartre's lemma: “Self is not what it is and it is what is not”

You are not the you that you were before and the you that you were after. You are at all times potential of the yous before and the yous after.

According to our life-tube:

past_// __//___//___//____now_ //_ _// _ //_ _// _ _ _ future

Self is a process over time (le devenir = becoming).

Characteristics of personhood: *Free Will, * Reason (cogito: I think, therefore I am.) *Autonomy (Have goals), *Sentience (feelings/ emotions). If a being meets all four requirements then it is considered a person (a dolphin will be considered a person, because he has free will, reason, autonomy and sentience).

Gender (Men & Women) = Social construct Sex (Male & Female) = Biological Genderqueer= Transgender individuals either “male to female” or “female to male”.

Character: is a function of our beliefs, desires, values & our actions being a function of our character.
1- Since it is observed behavior, character is public.
2- Character can change, but it's more a persistent trait.
3- Character is a negotiation between witnesses. people may agree or disagree about a person's character or aspects of her character.
4- Character can change (slowly).

Two different narratives of the self
1. Diachronic: The diachronic presents the different stages of the life as part of a continuous series ( You are your past, present and future memories). 2. Episodic. The episodic sees the different stages as discontinuous series.

Self as Process:  You are in the process of knowing who you are. This explains why people identify as “queer”. They are finding out who they are as a person. We are never fully "realized" as self. You constantly find out more of yourself as you live. That "void" is constantly filled, according to Sartre by your freedom. The self is constant “de-venir” which means “becoming”. Identity

Thursday, June 23, 2016

attention: student assistants offering two reviews for exam #2 (summer AB)!!

1- Alexander, Omar, Candida and Ronald have a review scheduled for Monday June 27, from 12-1pm, Building 2, 3rd floor by the Idea Center.

2- Ronald Pauleus will hold a second review on Tuesday from 8-9:30am, in the same place (by the Idea Center Building 2, 3rd floor). 

Kids: Try to make these reviews! It can make a big difference.

Thank you to my student assistants!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

topics for exam #2 summer AB

find our topics for exam #2 for summer AB here.

student assistants for phi 2010 summer AB class

Candida Hernandez
Omar Gonzales
Ronald Pauleus
Alexander Loureiro

What does it take to be a SA? A person who is willing to help other students.

How does one spot a SA? She participates, does her homework on time, barely misses a class, studies for the test and gets at least a B+.

She shows this behavior consistently throughout the semester. SAs help anyone in need. The reward? x-tra points!

(I'd argue that the ideal SA does what he/she does not for the x-tra points, but for the sake of helping her student-community, in any event, x-tra points don't hurt).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


*Most of the test will consist of chapters 2 and 3*

CHAPTER 2 (Mind/Body)

Cartesian Dualism: Mental States = immaterial substance that interacts with the body (the mind = l’âme, the body = le corps) Arguments: Conceivability and Divisibility. 

Conceivability: You can conceive the mind without the body but you cannot conceive yourself without the mind. Therefore, the mind and body are separate, and you are the mind. 

Divisibility: The mind is not divisible, but the body is.

Logical Behaviorism: Mental States = Behavior Dispositions (Which behavior your mind choose to adopt depends on your brain state).

Counters: Putnam’s Perfect pretender and Putnam’s Super-Spartans. - Perfect Pretender: A person is unable to feel pain, but behaves as if they feel pain. Mental state (does not feel pain) ≠ Behavioral state (shows pain) - Super Spartans: A person feels pain, but behaves as if they do not feel pain.

Mental state (does feel pain) ≠ Behavioral state (doesn’t show pain)

Identity Theory: Mental States = Brain States (Just physiological causes).

Counters: Nagel’s Bats, Lewis’ Pained Martian and Putnam’s Conscious Computer. 

Nagel’s Bats: We cannot have knowledge of the mental state of the bat because we do not perceive life as they do. Mental States are private and felt. Brain states are public and observable. Mental state ≠ Brain state.
Lewis' Pained Martian: Martian has no brain but it still can experience pain. Mental state (pain) ≠ Brain state (there’s no brain) - Conscious Computer: Computer has no brain, but can still be programmed to think and feel as we do. Mental state (think and feel like humans) ≠ Brain state (there’s no brain).

Functionalism: Mental States = Functional States (How the brain functions depends on distinctive mental states).

Counters: Lewis’s Pained Madman, Putnam’s Inverted Spectrum and Block’s Chinese Nation.
Lewis' Pained Madman: Man experiences pain, but functions differently from the common man. He snaps his fingers and does math Mental state (input: pain) ≠ Functional state (output: snaps fingers and math)
Putnam's Inverted Spectrum: To the average person, red appears as red. But to someone with an inverted spectrum, red appears as blue. However both people say the object is red despite seeing red differently. Mental state (input: diff. perceptions of red) ≠ Functional state (output: say color is red).

Chinese Nation: Millions of Chinese people function as a brain, however this does not form a unified mind. Mental state (no mind) ≠ Functional state (million of people interact as a brain).

Turing Test for Intelligence: If a computer could lie, it will be considered intelligent.

Counters: Seattle’s Chinese Room - A person can respond in Chinese by following certain rules without knowing the meaning of the response. The computer doesn’t have knowledge about what it does, it is just giving certain output by following fixed rules, and using given data(s). It can also learn to play chess without understanding it.

Theories about the Mind:

Property Dualism: The Mind emerges from the Brain (or, the Brain causes the Mind). And the Mind makes the Brain function properly (downward cause). 

Biological Naturalism: There are two sort of brain (or the brain has two functions) => There is the 1st order brain (sensitive, to feel), and the 2nd order brain (reflective, to think).


Hard Determinism: Do not believe in any form of free will. Extremists of the spectrum (Because we are atoms, and everything is atoms, and because we have no control over atoms, we have no control on ourselves, so there is no free will). We simply follow the laws of nature.

Soft Determinism: We can make choices given us free will, but those choices are predetermined. (We have option “A” and “B”).

Traditional Compatibilism: We have free will (Choices) but if we were given another choice or it was made available such as “C”, we would have taken it.

Libertarianism: We have free will over some of our actions (only the actions under our control) . But we must decide what we are doing, and our desire must be our own. Extremists of the spectrum.

Counters: Taylor’s Ingenious Physiologist, and Taylor’s Drug Addiction.


(Philosophical Problems and Theories) Philosophy Branches Metaphysics= What is reality? Epistemology= What is knowledge? Axiology= What is value? Logic= What is a logical argument? Sufficient conditions = If A condition happens, then B must happens. Necessary conditions = If A condition happens, then B might happens, but It’s not completely sure.
Examples: Having gas in a car is a necessary condition to start a car but it is not sufficient to make it start. The car also needs wheels and etc. Years of smoking is neither necessary nor sufficient to getting lung cancer.t is not necessary because not everyone that smokes gets lung cancer. It is not sufficient Oxygen is necessary for human life but it is not sufficient because we also need food to live.

Deductive Arguments: If P (premise) is true, then C (conclusion) is true. => Sound deductive argument. If P is false, then C is true. => Unsound deductive argument. Truth preserving arguments, what it is says in there has to be true. - Can be sound or unsound.

Inductive Arguments : If P is true, then C is true. => Strong inductive argument, and cogent. If P is false, then C is false. => Strong inductive argument, but uncogent. If P is true, then C is false. => Weak inductive argument. Not truth preserving arguments, what it is says in there doesn’t have to be 100% true. - Can be strong or weak - Can be cogent (If the premises are true) I.B.E = Influence to the Best Explanation.

Criteria of Adequacy: ● Consistency ● Scope ● Fruitfulness ● Simplicity ● Conservatism

Fallacies: ● Petitio principii: The snake eating itself (ouroboros), it is the metaphor of the Fallacy. The snake thinks that everything is fine to eat the tail of another snake, but he doesn’t figure out that he is eating himself. (Begging the question) Fallacies : ● Appeal to authority ● Appeal to tradition ● Appeal to fear ● Appeal to masses ● Hasty generalization ● False dilemma ● Begging the question ● Ad hominem

Conceivable ≠ Possible Logically Impossible Something is logically impossible if it violates the law of logic (nothing can have a property and lack it at the same time) .

Causally Impossible Something is causally impossible if it violates the law of nature (Physics) .


(Knowledge - Epistemology) Beliefs do not equal Knowledge.
The difference between a belief (something I accept) and knowledge is that not everything I believe is true. In other words, beliefs is not sufficient condition for knowledge.
Beliefs ≠ Knowledge Believe: Mental state of acceptance.
Knowledge: aptness=accuracy + adroitness
Accuracy: Goal seeking
Adroitness: exhibiting skill

Theories of Truth:

Correspondence: Truth is a fact (example: "Snow is white.")
Pragmatic Theory: Truth is what best does the job at hand. (example: "Dom Perignon is a good champagne.")
Coherence Theory of Truth: Truth is what best coheres with the rest of my knowledge.

Theories of Knowledge:

Standard Account of Knowledge: K=JTB (Knowledge = Justified True Belief) Counter: Gettier’s Guy in Barcelona.

Defeasibility Theory: K=UJTB (Knowledge = Undefeated Justified True Belief) Counter: Lehrer’s Compulsive Liar Mrs Grabit. (Lehrer has both animal and reflective knowledge but he doubted himself, so he destroyed his own knowledge.)

Causal Theory: K=SCTB (Knowledge = Suitably Caused True Belief) Counter: Goldmann’s Fake Barns. (Goldmann has animal knowledge but lacks reflective)

Reliability Theory: K=RPTB (Knowledge = Reliable Produced True Belief) Counter: Lehrer’s Human Thermometer.

Sosa's Virtue Perspectivism: K = apt belief (apt = accuracy and adroitness) This theory includes both Animal Knowledge and Reflective Knowledge.
AK= Knowledge acquired by Senses, 1st order Knowledge.
RK= Reflection over our Animal Knowledge, 2nd order Knowledge.

Philosophers/ Philosophical Movements Empiricists: Sense experience is the source of knowledge - Plato: Plato’s cave: Reality is in the forms. For example our reality is in the senses (physical world).

A posteriori knowledge: Knowledge based on sense experience

Rationalists: Reason is the source of knowledge.
Descartes : Descartes refutes (undermines) Plato by saying that our perception could trick us. 

A priori knowledge: Knowledge acquired prior/ or independently of sense experience.

Kant's synthetic a priori knowledge = Kantian synthesis: truth discovered by understanding are synthetic. They are not logical truths and a priori because they apply to all possible experiences. Example: Mathematics are synthetic a priori, because mathematics are the governing principles of the universe. We must filter anything received from the world through mathematics.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why is 7+5=12 synthetic apriori

Why does 7+5=12 is not considered "analytic a priori" by Kant?

According to Kant, analytic statements really tell us nothing new about the world: they simply assert a structural relationship between subject and predicate, i.e., a predicate that is already "contained" in the subject as part of its meaning. They are "analytic" in the sense that the predicate can be found by analyzing the meaning of the subject. They merely clarify information that is already contained in our concepts of things. "All bodies are extended" is analytic because part of the definition of a body is that it occupies space (which is what "extended" means here). This statement clarifies what we already understand a body to be, but does not tell us anything more about them.

Synthetic statements, on the other hand, assert more of a thing than is already contained in the definition of that thing. They "synthesize" one concept with another, and tell us that they are found together in some specific thing. They are really "ampliative" in that they convey substantive information about a thing, information that is not contained in the very concept of that thing.

See that "All bodies are heavy" is synthetic because "having weight" is not part of the definition of "occupying space." While we cannot conceive of an unextended body (any more than we can conceive of a married bachelor), we can conceive of a spatial object that has no weight. Perhaps it is false that there are any weightless bodies. But the claim that there are is not contradictory. In addition,

... the negations of synthetic statements are not contradictions, while the negations of analytic statements are.

Take a look at this:

12=12 obvious
7+5= 12 (one had to add them)
24 - (2x6) = 12 (less obvious)

Actually I can have an infinte number of combinations on the right hand side of the equation that equals 12.

Same with "straight line" and "two points" and "shortest line" and "two points", neither of which can be analytically "extracted" from the other.

* "The principle of contradiction is a formal criteria of logic which determines the logical possibility...of a cognition." Namely, it is the principle that a cognition "be logically possible, that is, not contradict itself".

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review for final exam: this wednesday, april 27, at 3pm @ Library Building 1

This review is conducted by Nicole Zambrano and Katerina Golubev. They will also revise students final drafts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

final exams (regular classes)

t,r 9:50-11:05am class: tuesday, april 26

t,r 11:15-12:30am class: thursday, april 28 

t, 5:40-8:10pm class: tuesday, april 26

final exams (honors classes)

m,w,f 10am class: wednesday april 27

m,w,f 11am class: friday, april 29 

Friday, April 1, 2016

a note from Kamila Marchante regarding the Human Rights Alliance!

Join Human Rights Alliance for a night of music, dance, spoken word and art as we allow creative expression to convey human rights violations occurring in our community and around the world.

for information, click here!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

honors review @ interamerican tomorrow wednesday

Mario and Ivette will have a review session tomorrow from 2:30-4pm. Room 1218.


honors classes! yonah elorza has a review tomorrow wednesday 3-4:30pm

yonah elorza, is hosting a study session tomorrow wednesday from 3 to 4:30pm in the Idea Center, building 2, 3rd floor. 
(all invited)


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

send those drafts to me!! (HONORS CLASSES)

draft's length: 1,200 words minimum. 
Times New Roman p. 12
follow MLA protocols (in-text citations and bibliography)
send it in Word file, please, no Google docs, my computer doesn't read that.

The paper must show a heading like this:

Philosophy Paper First Draft
Phi 2010 T 5:40pm
Doe, John

Title (bold, no italics)

(as per our conversation this morning at Phi 2010 Honors 11am class)

in two volumes,  by Rowe and McCleary (I'm almost done the first).

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

SUMMER AB first draft submissions: bring your draft to class for an in-class-revision!

david chalmers explain consciousness (TED talk)

check this out, professor chalmers has some interesting points. 

first draft submissions HONORS CLASSES (send via email)

it's time for your first draft submissions. 


the draft contains:

1- BODY, which is an improved, revised version of the discussion you already submitted with  your thesis  (T)and the counter (C), and the back-and-forth. 

2- CONCLUSION: Close the paper with a conclusion-paragraph: "I hope I have shown that..." or "In conclusion... "

3- BIBLIOGRAPHY: A one (separate) page (following MLA conventions).

draft's length: 1,200 words minimum. 
Times New Roman p. 12
follow MLA protocols (in text citations and bibliography)
send it in Word file, please, no Google docs, my computer doesn't read that.

The paper must show a heading like this:

Philosophy Paper First Draft
Phi 2010 T 5:40pm
Doe, John
Title (bold, no italics)

Monday, March 14, 2016

it's Π day!

it's Π day!!

your highness Π is at once irrational & transcendent! (another in this league is e)

Π figures in these eleven wonderful mathematico-physical formulas:

1- Mont Carlo methods,
2- Euler's formula, 
4- Cauchy's integral formula, 
5- the gamma function,
6- Riemann's zeta function,
7- Gaussian integral, 
8- Plank's constant,
9- Einstein field equation, 
10- Stokes' law, 
11- Fourier's transform, 

One could ask why is Π so pervasive? Instead, I'd like to ask this:

What would math be without Π?

note: how about mixing these e and π? you get the gelfond constant.

 e^\pi = (e^{i\pi})^{-i} = (-1)^{-i}, which is a transcendental number!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review for midterm: tomorrow Wednesday at 12pm, Room 2221

Gabriela Franco and Jaime Alvarez Duque (from T,R 9:50am class) are offering a study session tomorrow Wednesday at 12:00 PM. Room 2221. 


Review this Wednesday from 8-10am @ Honors College Lounge

Aidin Alejo and Laura Campos are having a study session this Wednesday from 8 am to 10 am @ the Honors College lounge in Wolfson Campus.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: Today, 2pm. Interamerican Campus

Ivette Prieto-Castro y Mario Alvarez ((Phi 2010 Interamerican Campus) offer a review at Interamerican Campus at 2pm @ the Honors Lounge. 


Reviews for midterm: Monday 12:30-:1:30pm at Wolfson

This is Nicole Zambrano & Katerina Golubev  from Phi 2010 T,R class at 11:15. We are available on Monday from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, and again on Wednesday after 3:00 pm.

Location: Seating area behind building 1, by the fountain, would be okay since the library is still closed. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

to all my student assistants: this is the time to coordinate a group-review, or personal review to help your classmates!!

send me an email and I'll send a blast to students and post it here.

thanks for your leadership. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

List of Student Assistants (REGULAR non-honors CLASSES)

T,R 9:50am

Jaime Duque
Gabriela Franco
Jeremiah Duhart
Juan Oramas

T,R 11:15am

Katerina Golubev
Nicole Zambrano
Bayardo Lopez
Sebastian Shironoshita

T, 5:40pm

Kelvin Amaya
Benjamin Alveo
Geoffry Robbins

A student assistant is a person who help his/her classmates. How? a- counseling how to study for the upcoming midterm exam, b- coordinating a phi 2010 review, c- telling as tudent how to execute this or that, d- advising with the final paper, i.e., helping his/her classmates to pass the class and learn the love for philosophy. 

Qualifications: A student assistant is a [B+ - A+] achiever. 
Returns? a- status! (you're a role model) b- prestige (it looks good in your resume), c- your professor's explicit advocacy (yes, I write good letters of recommendation), x-tra points (as if you needed them ;=)

List of student assistants (HONORS CLASSES)

Interamerican Campus 

Ivette Castro-Prieto
Gabriela Herrera
Carlos de la Torre
Mario Álvarez

Wolfson Campus 

MWF 10 AM 
Aidin Alejo
Thomas Thielen (?)
Laura Campos
Stephanie Elmir

Estefany Lopez
Mark Goldberg
Jesus Cruz
Yonah Elorza
Luiza Martinez
Jessica Garcia

A student assistant is a person who help his/her classmates. How? a- counseling how to study for the upcoming midterm exam, b- coordinating a phi 2010 review, c- telling as tudent how to execute this or that, d- advising with the final paper, i.e., helping his/her classmates to pass the class and learn the love for philosophy. 

Qualifications: A student assistant is a [B+ - A+] achiever. 
Return? a- status! (you're a role model) b- prestige (it looks good in your resume), c- your professor's unequivocal advocacy (yes, I write good letters of recommendation), x-tra points (as if you needed them ;=)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

the new professional breed: you're better off with a Ph.D. in mathematics

monish shah looks like he's doing just fine (look at his shoes)

in the NYTimes business section.
 Harnessing Ph.D.-- toting mathematicians to the most powerful computers money can buy has become the accepted way for hedge funds and banks to get a trading edge these days, but Jane Street takes this marriage of high tech and high intellect to a new level.
another good reason to study math: you make more money  

Friday, February 12, 2016

received signals from a billion years ago!

gravitational wave's formula 

in the NYTIMES: the paramount importance of science in general (and physics in particular).
While the political displays we have been treated to over the past weeks may reflect some of the worst about what it means to be human, this jiggle, discovered in an exotic physics experiment, reflects the best. Scientists overcame almost insurmountable odds to open a vast new window on the cosmos. And if history is any guide, every time we have built new eyes to observe the universe, our understanding of ourselves and our place in it has been forever altered.
the explanation is pretty good for a newspaper article:
...  each time we wave our hands around or move any matter, disturbances in the fabric of space propagate out at the speed of light, as waves travel outward when a rock is thrown into a lake. As these gravitational waves traverse space they will literally cause distances between objects alternately to decrease and increase in an oscillatory manner.
of course, this baffling fact (now that it has been tested, was it not always a fact only we didn't postulate it?) doesn't belong in the macroworld. our daily lives are not changed by this in any perceptible manner,
In the absence of alcohol, your living room doesn’t appear to shrink and grow repeatedly. But, in fact, it does. The oscillations in space caused by gravitational waves are so small that those ripples in length had never been seen.
here comes the punch:
Yet on Thursday, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, announced that a signal from gravitational waves had been discovered emanating from the collision and merger of two massive black holes over a billion light-years away. How far away is that? Well, one light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles.
what if in a not-so-distant future we could actually observe the gravitational waves from BIG BANG itself? i don't doubt it.
Too often people ask, what’s the use of science like this, if it doesn’t produce faster cars or better toasters. But people rarely ask the same question about a Picasso painting or a Mozart symphony. Such pinnacles of human creativity change our perspective of our place in the universe. Science, like art, music and literature, has the capacity to amaze and excite, dazzle and bewilder. I would argue that it is that aspect of science — its cultural contribution, its humanity — that is perhaps its most important feature.

here for the math oriented.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

list of movies dealing with AI

Ex Machina (what does post-singularity look like?)

HER (sexy!)

A.I. (compelling and sad study of otherness)

I Robot (interesting for ethical human/A.I. issues)

Blade Runner (a work of art)

THE MATRIX (a movie for philosophers)

Space Odyssey (my favorite science fiction movie)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

a note from Kamila Marchante regarding the Human Rights Alliance!

Join Human Rights Alliance for a night of music, dance, spoken word and art as we allow creative expression to convey human rights violations occurring in our community and around the world.

 All proceeds from the event go to our two ongoing initiatives: Invested in the Youth: backpack collection for inner city students of Breakthrough Miami Hope Totes: Comprehensive care packages for sex trafficking survivors for the Life of Freedom Center. 

Tickets can be purchased from members of HRA or online here.

Purchase the VIP pass to have access to henna, mocktails (virgin cocktails), and an entrance into our raffle to win an art piece!

Find the facebook event link here

Thank you,

Monday, January 25, 2016

do you believe in "natural kinds"?

We imagine there is a planet, ‘Twin Earth’, exactly like Earth in all readily observable respects. Every person and thing on Earth has a twin equivalent on Twin Earth. However, there is no H2O on Twin Earth. Instead, there is a liquid that shares the manifest properties of water (e.g., its being colourless, tasteless, odourless, good for drinking, etc.). This liquid is composed not of H2O molecules but of very different molecules to which we assign the made-up formula ‘XYZ’. Despite its superficially water-like properties, intuitively XYZ is not water. What prevents XYZ form being water is the fact that XYZ is microstructurally different from H2O. If intuition is reliable in this respect, then (i) possessing water’s superficial properties is not sufficient to make something a sample of water, and (ii) being composed of molecules of H2O is necessary for something's being a sample of water. (via stanford encyclopedia of philosophy)
what putnam wants to say is that H20 is a natural kind.

just in case you didn't get kant's synthesis (p. 561 of our text)

let's see if you agree with kant's synthesis:

he thinks we know a priori that there is cause and effect (in other words, we're wired to it).

before, let's reexamine the meaning of

synthetic: according to david hume, 

all crows are black , or 
water boils at 100 celsius 

are synthetic. i.e., they are not analytic (turned into logical truths by substituting syn for syn) and they are known a posteriori, i.e., by experience.

so, kant agrees with hume that statements about causes are synthetic. but he thinks that some synthetic statements are a priori.

let's consider, for example, our knowledge that 5+7=12 or "the interior angles of any triangle add up to a 180 degrees, or a straight line."

kant believes that these (and similar) truths of mathematics are synthetic judgments,

for example: euclid's elements!

true, the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is not contained in the concept of a triangle. yet, clearly, such truths are known a priori, since they apply with strict and universal necessity to all of the objects of our experience, without having been derived from that experience itself.

how is that possible?

5 + 7 = 12 tells us something new about the world. it's self-evident, and undeniably a priori, but at the same time it is synthetic.

thus kant proved that a proposition can be synthetic and known a priori.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

are you a social neurotic? too anxious? try sauerkraut or better, kimchi

mmm, kimchi!

It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety, ... it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.
so, here is a kimchi recipe, from adventures in cooking. 

as ancient roman gastronome, marcus gavius apicius used to say "it's all in the gut."


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

our only opption to survival: colonizing space

Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years. By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race. However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period.
that is, progress means new threats.

i've defended this idea as the change paradox. i.e,.

each problem solved presents a new problem unsolved.    

our next goal: colonizing space. a daunting prospect.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

is theoretical physics ((permanently(( incomplete?

last week I brought this question to my honors classes:

is a theory of everything possible (even desirable?)

I worked around the question here. 

Tell me what you think, all of you physics enthusiasts.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

are there infinitely more prime numbers than composite numbers?

this is a cool question, presented in my 11am honors class by A & B.

my two cents here.

in the spirit of problematization, i countered "perhaps." are you an idealist or a realist in mathematics? 

the idealist relies on aprioristic deductions, the realist goes empirical, she counts ("she" is a computer algorithm). so, i took a realist short cut.  something very interesting happens to primes --between 106 and 108, which allows for siding in favor of composite numbers' greater infinite-density.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

triff's office hours

M,W,F: 8-10am

T,R: 7:30am-8:25am

T: 3.30-5:30pm

if you need a math and physics (even chemistry!) tutor

My ex student Eugenio Santamaría is available for help!
He's good (got an A in my class). Use him (tell him I sent you).

Mathematics: MAT1033 (Intermediate Algebra), MAC1105 (College Algebra), MAC1147 (Precalculus and Trigonometry), MAC2311 (Calculus 1), MAC2312 (Calculus 2), MAC2313 (Calculus 3), MAS2103 (Elementary Linear Algebra) and courses below MAT1033, Chemistry: CHM1025 (Intro to Chemistry), CHM1045 (General Chemistry 1), CHM1046 (General Chemistry 2) Physics: PHY1025 (Basic Physics), PHY2048 (Physics 1 with Calculus).