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A bit of a problem with the liberal arts department

by Nano-Passion
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Nano-Passion
#37
Feb20-12, 05:52 PM
P: 1,306
Quote Quote by Choppy View Post
Hi Nano-Passion,

I had a quick look at the essay. I can't claim to be an expert in philosphy essays however I can't help, but wonder if you're interpreting general comments made by the professor as comments specifically directed towards your essay.

What you've posted above is not a "God's Gift of to Philosophy 101 Professors" of an essay. You're quoting from Wikipedia and Yahoo websites - that didn't even pass muster in high school for me.
Haha yes I'm guilty. Because it was a philosophy essay I didn't care much for the sources but I just wanted to insert some interesting quotes on the topic.

Your postulate that happiness is defined through chemistry and thus is any good or pleasant feeling, is likely failing to address some of the key philosophical issues that the assignment was meant to cover.

Take for example an alcoholic who derives pleasure from drinking. Many alcoholics are not in any way happy with their behaviour. So, is happiness and thus the 'good life' an instantaneous quantity? Or is it a time-integrated quantity?

I'm not trying to start into a debate on the issue. Simply having taken the class, you're likely more well-read on the issue than I am. The point I'm trying to make is that it may not be just a conflict in viewpoint that resulted in a less-than perfect mark. Rather, it could have come from the fact that adopting that particular viewpoint puts you in a position that does not address some of the points of the assignment. Perhaps if you had adopted the same position, but addressed and sufficiently dissmissed those points, you would have gotten full marks.
Well one part of the essay addresses the physiological portion, while the other addresses the psychological portion. In the essay I adopt a point of view that the psychological portion is inherently tied into chemistry. For example, one's long-term contentment is governed by his levels of neurotransmitters. There are likely many studies supporting that, but I wasn't trying to make a neuroscience essay. I just wanted to address some accepted ideas in psychology/neuroscience as a basis of my philosophy.

Thanks for your reply by the way.

Quote Quote by micromass
I didn't like the essay. Some remarks
Okay, I'll pinch in my perspectives (hopefully not to be mistaken for an argument and stubborness).

1) Your references consist out of wikipedia and www.expertscolumn.com. These are not scholarly references. If you want to back your point up with science, at least provide a scientific references.
I'm pretty sure he would have laughed if I assessed his criteria and decided to make a scientific paper out of it (wasn't the whole complaint that it was too scientific, why make it more scientific? It is not a peer reviewed journal but a personal statement). I just thought that I would briefly state some widely accepted ideas and discuss my idea of a good life around it.

2) Your view of happiness is a little bit skewed. You see happiness as everything that makes you happy. Then what if I strap you to a chair and pump drugs in you that constantly make you happy. According to your philosophy, this would be the ultimate form of happiness. But I don't think many people would actively choose for this form of existence. There is something you're missing.
Simple. Drugs will trigger/inhibit certain neurotransmitters. While being stuck in a chair will trigger/inhibit neurotransmitters (won't trigger ones that will make you feel good). I'm sure if one were to tie you down and fold you then you would be flooded with fear and anxiety. It all traces back to brain chemistry. I don't really see your point of view here unless you can clarify.

3) You say that the pursuit of intellect and wisdom is part of the pursuit of happiness. I did not see any argument why this might be true.
People can feel more significant if they are intellectual and wise. It is part of your sense of self. Of course your sense of self is a complex phenomena, but in general people feel a bit better of themselves being wise verses being a failure. And yes this is a generalization, as per any psychological phenomena.

4) You suggest that good and evil are just the product of indoctrination in your childhood. I don't think this is backed up by science. I would rather say that good and evil are evolutionary byproducts. People with a severely undeveloped sense of evil get selected against. In any case, you should think more about this.
This is a big philosophical topic in its own. Good and evil is not inherent to the construct of the fundamental universe. It is based on perception that developed with the mind. It is something we introduced with language and culture. There is only the atom and the void. Everything else is created out of the basic ingredients of the universe, including the incredible arrangement of molecules we see today. There is only good and evil in perception.

5) You fail to recognize that a human lives in a society and that the society has certain norms and ideals. Conformation to society is in most cases desirable as it will make you happier.
I briefly addressed this in my essay: " I do not fight my urge for human compassion, status of accomplishment and respect, the “immortal name,” or other more basic drives such as food and water. I do not fear my hunger for fame as a respected scientist or thinker. Rather, I embrace these tendencies as part of the journey to happiness. It is much easier to flow the overwhelming current of the river that is your genetics and mind than to fight the current upstream."

I have no problem with constructive criticism. For example, when you state "You fail to recognize that a human lives in a society and that the society has certain norms and ideals," I disagree yet agree. I do recognize the phenomena but I probably should have clarified my views first. That is why communication gets very complex, you have to close down as much different interpretations as possible. One of the reasons why an innumerable amount of arguments occur is that everyone has their own mind and as a consequence their own interpretations. Without going on a tangent, the point is that your right in a sense that I should have clarified my position.
Nano-Passion
#38
Feb20-12, 06:11 PM
P: 1,306
Quote Quote by Choppy View Post
Hi Nano-Passion,

I had a quick look at the essay. I can't claim to be an expert in philosphy essays however I can't help, but wonder if you're interpreting general comments made by the professor as comments specifically directed towards your essay.

What you've posted above is not a "God's Gift of to Philosophy 101 Professors" of an essay. You're quoting from Wikipedia and Yahoo websites - that didn't even pass muster in high school for me.

Your postulate that happiness is defined through chemistry and thus is any good or pleasant feeling, is likely failing to address some of the key philosophical issues that the assignment was meant to cover.

Take for example an alcoholic who derives pleasure from drinking. Many alcoholics are not in any way happy with their behaviour. So, is happiness and thus the 'good life' an instantaneous quantity? Or is it a time-integrated quantity?
Both (as implied in my essay).

I'm not trying to start into a debate on the issue. Simply having taken the class, you're likely more well-read on the issue than I am. The point I'm trying to make is that it may not be just a conflict in viewpoint that resulted in a less-than perfect mark. Rather, it could have come from the fact that adopting that particular viewpoint puts you in a position that does not address some of the points of the assignment. Perhaps if you had adopted the same position, but addressed and sufficiently dissmissed those points, you would have gotten full marks.
But you see, the whole point of the essay was to discuss your personal idea of a good life. He wanted us to have a bit of introspection. Its just that my personal idea of a good life was too scientific and did not run congruent with his beliefs of a good life . Maybe I have a bit of a unique view that is frowned upon in mainstream philosophy. Or maybe not, I'm not even a philosophy major so I wouldn't know.
Vanadium 50
#39
Feb20-12, 08:49 PM
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Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Its just that my personal idea of a good life was too scientific and did not run congruent with his beliefs of a good life . Maybe I have a bit of a unique view that is frowned upon in mainstream philosophy..
You keep repeating that you were treated unfairly, but have provided no evidence for it.

I've studied philosophy. Your paper is poor. It argues by repeated assertion, and it uses flowery language that doesn't clarify. Furthermore, as your aside points out, you did not follow the assignment. Your B+ was a gift. Any of my professors would have flunked you.

So long as you have this attitude that you know more than your professor, you're not going to learn anything. My advice is to either change this attitude or drop the class - it will just be a waste of time and money.
920118
#40
Feb20-12, 08:50 PM
P: 31
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Any is fine.

That sounds a bit like a joke at my essay lol but at any rate it was originally written in English.
I don't know what the standard is like in introductory philosophy classes where you're attending school, so can't say if you should have a better grade or not. What I do know, however, is that I wouldn't give you an A for that essay, and I highly doubt that you would get higher than a D, or perhaps a C if lucky, (on the ECTS scale) if you were attending the same school as I am. (Not that the school I'm attending has very high standards or anything...) On the other hand, the assignment seems pretty stupid, so I'm not really sure how much of what I have to say that will be relevant. Okay, so I'm a bit tired right now (it's 03:40ish and I've been spending the last hours on an algorithm that doesn't do what I want it to), but I'll give you some short comments and feedback.

1. The introduction

Cons:
You take up too much space saying things that aren't relevant. The relvant parts of the introduction (i.e., your thesis and how you are going to use certain terms. I would be hard pressed to acknowledge there being a thesis in there though) could be stated more concisely. Aim for simpler phraseology and cut out vagueness, ambiguity and unnecessary words. (Why is the subset obscure, and is it relevant for your paper?)

Example: "But what is happiness anyways with its cacophony of meanings? The word happiness is thrown around with a dizzying array of meanings, sure to put any neuroscientist in a state of disorientation. To stray clear away from any confusion in this paper, I will define happiness as any good feeling and will umbrella all other terms introduced through our complex language, such as contentment, pleasure, etc.. I will also define 'good feeling' as any feeling that appears pleasant to oneself, either in the short or long-term span (possibly the feeling of contentment); or in some cases, simply a lack of 'bad.' "

Philosophy version: "In what follows, 'happiness' will be used for all states of mind which the subject finds pleasant, independent of their duration, as well as for the absence of non-pleasant states of mind." [at least I guess that this is what you're trying to say...?]

Pros:
You briefly stated your view, which the assigment asked for.

2. Correlation

Cons:
1.If I remember my Aristotle, your first statement is off. Aristotle wasn't expressing an opinion; he was putting forth a theory of what the it means to lead a good life. Just state his thesis and give a reference (unless your professor said you don't have to).
2. What you "contend" isn't relevant. Give an argument, either your own or someone elses, or leave it out. The entire first paragraph looks like high school-rhetoric, the purpose of which is to fill upp space.
3. The second paragraph seems quite off as well. Im not really sure what you're arguing, and again, I feel that your reading of Aristotle isn't completely accurate. (People disagree abot Aristotle quite often anyway, so I wont push this)
4. You also mention that you're saying these things to support your argument, but you havent presented any such thing yet. When is it comming? Why didn't you use the introduction to clearly state your thesis and in what order you were going to present things? And again, why are you contending so many things, and arguing for so few? Why are you speculating? Argue, give references to arguments, or cut it out.

Pros: You kind of correlated your view to that of Aristotle (though you used at least half of the text doing nothing)

3. Group input

-

4. Theory

I'll treat this part paragraph by paragraph.

1. The point could be stated more concisely. Do you need every example? Is it relevant that you're aspiring to become a theoretical physicist, or a neuroscientist? Did you ave to include three different possibilities? Again, you use too much space.

Pros of 1. You finally presented your view somewhat explicitly.
Cons of 1. The paragraph is sort of confusing and wordsy.

2. Blah blah, speculation without arguments, blah blah, anecdotes.
Cons of 2. Doesn't contribute with anything philosophically relevant. At all. Except that it hints at you being a determinist, but what you believe isn't philosophically interesting.

3. What, there was a physiological discussion!? Where? Oh, you mean that... The only interesting part of this paragraph (to me at least) is this part:
"I do not try to fight these Darwinian goals, but embrace them. If you were to combat the very genetic tendencies that make up your DNA, then you are in a hopeless and never-ending struggle. We are enslaved to our genetic predisposition and brain chemistry, as belittling as it sounds"
But for some reason, you didn't spend any time discussing what you mean. I guess that you're a determinist, but if so, how does it even make sense to talk about fighting against your predetermined dispositions? What does that even mean? If everyone is enslaved by their genes, then fighting against your genes could only be the result of certain causal reactions, in which your genome plays a causally relevant role. Right?

One might also wonder what you mean with "Darwinian goals". Are you suggesting a natural teleolgy, or are you just using philosophically unsuitable phraseology again? Why aren't you arguing for these ideas? It doesn't make sense to just mention these without engaging with them.

Cons of 3 Still no arguing! Still lots of blah blah blah.

4. Too many words, too little said. No argument. You could've said "I want to understand everything" or something like that instead of using an entire paragraph to list a few examples. "To know the brain and how it gives us the illusion of reality that we conceptualize through our brain (of which most fail to bring to second-thought)." This sentence sounds pretty awkward, and a philosopher would probably wonder what to make of it.

5. A summary would've been better; that way the reader would have an easier time understanding what you thought that you were doing in the paper. Good that you have ambitions.


Overall:

Ideas for improvements:
1. Use more arguments. It's The Way to do philosophy
2. Exclude pretty much all information which doesn't contribute to the arguments. If you can't motivate every part of every sentence, then cut or change it.
3. Be explicit about what you're arguing for, where you get your premisses, why things follow from each other, how what you're currently doing is relevant to what you're trying to achieve &c
4. You could be a bit more straight forward in your writing.

End note: I'm not saying any of this to be mean. I'm trying to show what the guy (or gal) grading your work might think. (I'm really tired, so some of it might just be me being a bit lost at the moment.) But yeah. You shouldn't be upset about getting a B+ for this essay. (Though, to be fair, I'm quite upset that it's so easy to get high grades in some places. No wonder so many american universities reject over 90% of the people applying for grad school in philosophy)
Oh, and English isn't my native language, so if there is some strange grammar or somesuch, I'd be more than happy if you were to point it out.

Better luck next time.
Nano-Passion
#41
Feb23-12, 08:02 PM
P: 1,306
Quote Quote by Vanadium 50 View Post
You keep repeating that you were treated unfairly, but have provided no evidence for it.

I've studied philosophy. Your paper is poor. It argues by repeated assertion, and it uses flowery language that doesn't clarify. Furthermore, as your aside points out, you did not follow the assignment. Your B+ was a gift. Any of my professors would have flunked you.

So long as you have this attitude that you know more than your professor, you're not going to learn anything. My advice is to either change this attitude or drop the class - it will just be a waste of time and money.
Poor is an adjective, adjectives are relative. So then, poor to what standards? I would rank it sufficient compared to my peers. Like I said before, its just an intro to philosophy course in a community college. But if you mean poor by other standards then I agree and I realize there is always room for improvement!

By the way Vanadium, you were a philosophy minor/major or you mean you took a class or two?
Nano-Passion
#42
Feb23-12, 08:39 PM
P: 1,306
Quote Quote by 920118 View Post
I don't know what the standard is like in introductory philosophy classes where you're attending school, so can't say if you should have a better grade or not. What I do know, however, is that I wouldn't give you an A for that essay, and I highly doubt that you would get higher than a D, or perhaps a C if lucky, (on the ECTS scale) if you were attending the same school as I am. (Not that the school I'm attending has very high standards or anything...) On the other hand, the assignment seems pretty stupid, so I'm not really sure how much of what I have to say that will be relevant. Okay, so I'm a bit tired right now (it's 03:40ish and I've been spending the last hours on an algorithm that doesn't do what I want it to), but I'll give you some short comments and feedback.

1. The introduction

Cons:
You take up too much space saying things that aren't relevant. The relvant parts of the introduction (i.e., your thesis and how you are going to use certain terms. I would be hard pressed to acknowledge there being a thesis in there though) could be stated more concisely. Aim for simpler phraseology and cut out vagueness, ambiguity and unnecessary words. (Why is the subset obscure, and is it relevant for your paper?)

Example: "But what is happiness anyways with its cacophony of meanings? The word happiness is thrown around with a dizzying array of meanings, sure to put any neuroscientist in a state of disorientation. To stray clear away from any confusion in this paper, I will define happiness as any good feeling and will umbrella all other terms introduced through our complex language, such as contentment, pleasure, etc.. I will also define 'good feeling' as any feeling that appears pleasant to oneself, either in the short or long-term span (possibly the feeling of contentment); or in some cases, simply a lack of 'bad.' "

Philosophy version: "In what follows, 'happiness' will be used for all states of mind which the subject finds pleasant, independent of their duration, as well as for the absence of non-pleasant states of mind." [at least I guess that this is what you're trying to say...?]
I like your version, its much better!

Pros:
You briefly stated your view, which the assigment asked for.

2. Correlation

Cons:
1.If I remember my Aristotle, your first statement is off. Aristotle wasn't expressing an opinion; he was putting forth a theory of what the it means to lead a good life. Just state his thesis and give a reference (unless your professor said you don't have to).
2. What you "contend" isn't relevant. Give an argument, either your own or someone elses, or leave it out. The entire first paragraph looks like high school-rhetoric, the purpose of which is to fill upp space.
Why is that?
3. The second paragraph seems quite off as well. Im not really sure what you're arguing, and again, I feel that your reading of Aristotle isn't completely accurate. (People disagree abot Aristotle quite often anyway, so I wont push this)
I was arguing that virtue does not equate to happiness, that happiness is cold and mechanical.
4. You also mention that you're saying these things to support your argument, but you havent presented any such thing yet. When is it comming? Why didn't you use the introduction to clearly state your thesis and in what order you were going to present things? And again, why are you contending so many things, and arguing for so few? Why are you speculating? Argue, give references to arguments, or cut it out.
Our topic of thesis was simply what your idea of a good life is. My thesis was the very first sentence.

Also, you say that I contend too much and don't argue enough things. I'm guessing your saying that I put up very weak arguments (because all my sentences were there for an argument). How can I improve on that? Is there a certain way your supposed to go about arguing?

Pros: You kind of correlated your view to that of Aristotle (though you used at least half of the text doing nothing)

3. Group input

-

4. Theory

I'll treat this part paragraph by paragraph.

1. The point could be stated more concisely. Do you need every example? Is it relevant that you're aspiring to become a theoretical physicist, or a neuroscientist? Did you ave to include three different possibilities? Again, you use too much space.

Pros of 1. You finally presented your view somewhat explicitly.
Cons of 1. The paragraph is sort of confusing and wordsy.

2. Blah blah, speculation without arguments, blah blah, anecdotes.
Cons of 2. Doesn't contribute with anything philosophically relevant. At all. Except that it hints at you being a determinist, but what you believe isn't philosophically interesting.
I think you have the criteria confused. You say in that particular paragraph I wasn't putting up a good argument, but there is nothing to argue against. Let me explain. The essay is broken into different parts. One part, the correlation, is to correlate your idea of a good life to a philosopher. And another part, the theory, is to talk more about your idea of a good life.
3. What, there was a physiological discussion!? Where? Oh, you mean that... The only interesting part of this paragraph (to me at least) is this part:
"I do not try to fight these Darwinian goals, but embrace them. If you were to combat the very genetic tendencies that make up your DNA, then you are in a hopeless and never-ending struggle. We are enslaved to our genetic predisposition and brain chemistry, as belittling as it sounds"
But for some reason, you didn't spend any time discussing what you mean. I guess that you're a determinist, but if so, how does it even make sense to talk about fighting against your predetermined dispositions? What does that even mean? If everyone is enslaved by their genes, then fighting against your genes could only be the result of certain causal reactions, in which your genome plays a causally relevant role. Right?
I'm not particularly a determinist or a non-determinist. I view genetics as the cause of your social tendencies.
One might also wonder what you mean with "Darwinian goals". Are you suggesting a natural teleolgy, or are you just using philosophically unsuitable phraseology again? Why aren't you arguing for these ideas? It doesn't make sense to just mention these without engaging with them.

Cons of 3 Still no arguing! Still lots of blah blah blah.

4. Too many words, too little said. No argument. You could've said "I want to understand everything" or something like that instead of using an entire paragraph to list a few examples. "To know the brain and how it gives us the illusion of reality that we conceptualize through our brain (of which most fail to bring to second-thought)." This sentence sounds pretty awkward, and a philosopher would probably wonder what to make of it.

5. A summary would've been better; that way the reader would have an easier time understanding what you thought that you were doing in the paper. Good that you have ambitions.


Overall:

Ideas for improvements:
1. Use more arguments. It's The Way to do philosophy
2. Exclude pretty much all information which doesn't contribute to the arguments. If you can't motivate every part of every sentence, then cut or change it.
3. Be explicit about what you're arguing for, where you get your premisses, why things follow from each other, how what you're currently doing is relevant to what you're trying to achieve &c
4. You could be a bit more straight forward in your writing.

End note: I'm not saying any of this to be mean. I'm trying to show what the guy (or gal) grading your work might think. (I'm really tired, so some of it might just be me being a bit lost at the moment.) But yeah. You shouldn't be upset about getting a B+ for this essay. (Though, to be fair, I'm quite upset that it's so easy to get high grades in some places. No wonder so many american universities reject over 90% of the people applying for grad school in philosophy)
Oh, and English isn't my native language, so if there is some strange grammar or somesuch, I'd be more than happy if you were to point it out.

Better luck next time.
Thank you so much for your constructive criticism! I wish I had more critical English professors, but that is okay, I'm going to take more writing classes when I transfer to Rutgers University anyways.
Vanadium 50
#43
Feb23-12, 10:21 PM
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Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Poor is an adjective, adjectives are relative. So then, poor to what standards? I would rank it sufficient compared to my peers.
You're complaining that you didn't get an A, and got a B+ instead. That takes more than "sufficient". Indeed, you're arguing that your paper is so gloriously wonderful that the only possible explanation for the B+ is that the professor treated you unfairly.

It's not.

Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
By the way Vanadium, you were a philosophy minor/major or you mean you took a class or two?
Four: Intro/Logic, Epistomology, Ethics, Political.
twofish-quant
#44
Feb24-12, 01:45 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
I'm learning, but I'm not aware of the short-comings of my own belief system.
That's a bad thing.

To me science is and just is. It is truth.
I completely reject this sort of system of belief. Science is a social mechanism for creating useful models of the universe. Science being done by falliable human beings is itself falliable, and for the more important questions in the universe, it says absolutely nothing of use.

But when I hear ideas that science is materialistic, and to resist mentioning science then my ears tend to slightly close. Using science as a guide to philosophy is almost a common sense to me.
Materialistic has a certain meaning in philosophy and science *is* materialistic because it makes statements about the material universe. Also, once you get used to science, you are aware of its limitations, and personally I think that using science as the basis for a philosophy is highly unwise, and extremely dangerous.

You don't hear of philosophers saying "we are the most important beings in the universe because we are the center of the universe," simply because science says we aren't even the center of the solar system.
I think you are confusing lots of terms. There are many valid meanings for the term "center" and even as a physical center of the universe, the earth is just as good as any other.

Science is as certain as it gets. Science is based on more certainty than any liberal arts. It is certainly more certain than pseudo ideas of astrology and other who are not supported by science.
Absolutely disagree. The core of science is doubt and skepticism. There *is* no certainty in science because the universe can change. For the last 13 billion years, the gravitational constant of the universe has been the same, but it could change tomorrow.

Science is about doubt, because the social processes that keep scientists from turning into monsters involve doubt and skepticism. (And even skepticism about skepticism). If you try to turn science into *certainty* you are mixing science and non-science in a dangerous way.

Well, its just the fact that it is an intro to philosophy class and because the grade was because of a philosophical difference--my paper being materialistic in his opinion.
I think you are misunderstanding the meaning of the term materialism. If you have a philosophy that is based on science, it *has* to be materialistic

I thought different philosophical ideas were supposed to be accepted by the validity of their argument.
Depends. The point of philosophy is to figure out what "validity of an argument" means.

And if you ask me, the validity of my arguments are much more than other pseudo-scientific ideas of the soul (whatever soul is supposed to mean anyways).
I don't think you've thought very deeply about this. I don't think the idea of the soul is "pseudo-scientific". There are standard problems with materialist arguments, and even if you don't agree with them you ought to know about them. For example, if you argue that "souls" don't exist because they aren't material, then do "circles", "numbers" and "money" exist?

You are a very scientific- minded individual (or so it seems). I don't see how you would actually dismiss science and pursue other vague ideas.
The fact that there are a number of people on this thread with a lot more experience with science than you do and aren't impressed by your arguments should tell you something. I don't expect you to agree with me, but the fact that you don't *understand* my point of view suggests that you should get a low grade in any philosophy intro class.

Personally, the more I see, the more convinced I am that you've got an excellent professor that was being extremely generous for giving you a B+.
twofish-quant
#45
Feb24-12, 01:51 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Better to be materialistic than be superstitious. I don't see a problem with "materialistic." The way he said it held a negative connotation, as if he looked down upon it.
Look. If you are taking an intro philosophy course, and you don't understand what "materialism" means then a B+ is extremely generous.

You can start with the wikipedia article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

It's got a link to Michael Polanyi who has very heavily influenced my thinking.
twofish-quant
#46
Feb24-12, 02:05 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Your telling me to accept that I did something wrong.
For one thing he asked for 2 to 3 pages, and you gave him 5 pages. That in itself knocks you down to a B+. Page limits are extremely important because

1) the point of page limits is so that the reading isn't flooded with pages
2) it's good practice to try to express an argument briefly

*Read my argument in response to two-quant and others.*
I'm sorry, you haven't presented an argument. You've just made an assertion.

The latter is personally frustrating because I've made my argument and people seem to ignore its basis.
I haven't seen any argument. The only thing that I've seen you say is that it's obvious that you are right. One of the points of communication is that what is obvious to one person isn't obvious to another.

Also, even at the level of making an assertion, you haven't done a good job at that. I have no clue what you mean by "science" and what you consider "scientific" and "un-scientific." The problem here is that you assume that you if you just say "science", people will know what you mean, but people don't. I don't know. Is economics a "science"? You've mentioned that you don't think astrology is a science. You haven't mentioned why exactly.
SophusLies
#47
Feb24-12, 05:33 PM
P: 222
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
By the way Vanadium, you were a philosophy minor/major or you mean you took a class or two?
I know Vanadium already answer this question but I can tell you're still early in your academic career from this question. Just because someone has studied something doesn't mean they learned it in a classroom. I still remember being thoroughly impressed with the electrical engineering kids coming into upper level math or physics classes. Some of them audited those classes and blew all the math and physics majors away. I became friends with a couple of these guys and they self studied like mad on their own.

Also, if you ever get into the software industry you'll see a whole bunch of people that have never in their lives taken a software/programming class yet they can create incredible programs. If someone asked them about where they got their degrees or what classes they took they would laugh in that person's face because they know classes don't mean a thing if you can't code.
deRham
#48
Feb24-12, 06:05 PM
P: 410
To me science is and just is. It is truth. Of course it is not the complete truth, and there are lots of holes to fill; but I would rank it higher then vague ideas of the soul etc.
I'm somewhere between scientist and philosopher (mathematician). Well that's inaccurate really, more like some of what I am interested in can have strong interactions with science.

I think the issue might be either that you didn't ask or that your professor didn't explain the real problem. But I strongly suspect it has less to do with your beliefs, more that you should (and I suspect do) recognize that "TRUTH" is incredibly overused, in many different senses. And to say "to me, this is what truth is" is like saying "to me, the universe is ___" -- great, but there are lots of things people think about. One of the whole points in philosophy courses is to ask what it means to get certain kinds of knowledge. It's to get at very fundamental things. Fundamental at the level of questioning what the methods of acquiring knowledge do and don't do, can and can't do...

The easiest way to see this is to note that, while incredibly related, logic and mathematics are somewhat different things.
920118
#49
Feb25-12, 01:03 PM
P: 31
Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
Thank you so much for your constructive criticism! I wish I had more critical English professors, but that is okay, I'm going to take more writing classes when I transfer to Rutgers University anyways.
I wrote a long answer, but got logged out before I could post it, and for some reason it was gone when I logged in... I'll rewrite it later, but for the time, I'll just say:

Read and do more philosophy! It's the best way to become better at it. This paper is a pretty easy and pedagogical example of a good (imo) paper. A lot of people find it interesting and enjoyable; maybe you will as well.
jeebs
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Feb25-12, 09:41 PM
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Quote Quote by micromass View Post
Conformation to society is in most cases desirable as it will make you happier.
hmmm, that's a bold claim.
chiro
#51
Feb25-12, 09:53 PM
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Quote Quote by jeebs View Post
hmmm, that's a bold claim.
I agree
Moonbear
#52
Feb25-12, 10:02 PM
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Quote Quote by Nano-Passion View Post
.During class, the professor mentioned "leave the science out of it, this is a philosophy paper," and "don't write about the chemistry of happiness." (The Cold Chemistry of Happiness was the title of my paper and the main theme was happiness from a scientific perspective and rooted in a philosophical context.
So, you had specific instructions NOT to do something in the paper and did it anyway, but expected full points for it? A B+ is very generous on a paper that disregards specific instructions. Consider that it is beneficial to learn to argue a viewpoint different from your own. It will help you appreciate other perspectives and to strengthen your own arguments by anticipating the opposing view. I used to get assigned papers like that all the time...the point really is to focus on construction of the argument by selecting a topic you need to think about because it's opposite your personal viewpoint.

By the way, I am a Rutgers alum. You will not get any more slack there than where you currently are for blatantly disregarding instructions for an essay. If anything, you'll find harsher penalties in grading for not doing the assignment as given. If you do exactly what you are instructed not to do, you might be lucky to earn a C. College essays aren't personal blogs or opinion pieces for the editorial column, they are academic exercises to develop writing, reasoning, and argument skills.
Nano-Passion
#53
Feb26-12, 10:12 PM
P: 1,306
Sorry for the late reply, I've been really busy with school and work lately. Anyways..

Quote Quote by 920118 View Post
I wrote a long answer, but got logged out before I could post it, and for some reason it was gone when I logged in... I'll rewrite it later, but for the time, I'll just say:

Read and do more philosophy! It's the best way to become better at it. This paper is a pretty easy and pedagogical example of a good (imo) paper. A lot of people find it interesting and enjoyable; maybe you will as well.
Thank you so much for your help by the way! I'm always looking for ways to improve, and getting constructive criticism is really appreciated (and uplifting) as opposed to someone blatantly notifying me of the relative quality of the paper.

Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
So, you had specific instructions NOT to do something in the paper and did it anyway, but expected full points for it? A B+ is very generous on a paper that disregards specific instructions. Consider that it is beneficial to learn to argue a viewpoint different from your own. It will help you appreciate other perspectives and to strengthen your own arguments by anticipating the opposing view. I used to get assigned papers like that all the time...the point really is to focus on construction of the argument by selecting a topic you need to think about because it's opposite your personal viewpoint.

By the way, I am a Rutgers alum. You will not get any more slack there than where you currently are for blatantly disregarding instructions for an essay. If anything, you'll find harsher penalties in grading for not doing the assignment as given. If you do exactly what you are instructed not to do, you might be lucky to earn a C.
No, the specific instructions to leave science out of it was after the paper not before.

Also, good to meet another fellow Rutgers alumni. I'll be there next year.

Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
College essays aren't personal blogs or opinion pieces for the editorial column, they are academic exercises to develop writing, reasoning, and argument skills.
The criteria of the essay was a completely personal statement -- "What is your idea of a good life." That I didn't misjudge. But what I falsely misjudged was the reasoning and argumentative content of my paper to be good (or great). I guess there is a lot more to learn.

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
Look. If you are taking an intro philosophy course, and you don't understand what "materialism" means then a B+ is extremely generous.

You can start with the wikipedia article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism

It's got a link to Michael Polanyi who has very heavily influenced my thinking.
I understand what materialism is, but in my perspective, the way he said it sounded like "oh please, science is materialistic," as if to belittle its basis. Probably the reason I thought that way was that the universe is only made of things, which we are aware of. And everything else is the supernatural. I don't really believe in things like the intercession of God as per my limited knowledge. Again, I'm not arguing that I am right; but simply laying down my perspective to let others pinch in their take on it. I'm a relativist at heart.

Quote Quote by Vanadium 50 View Post
You're complaining that you didn't get an A, and got a B+ instead. That takes more than "sufficient". Indeed, you're arguing that your paper is so gloriously wonderful that the only possible explanation for the B+ is that the professor treated you unfairly.

It's not.
Four: Intro/Logic, Epistomology, Ethics, Political.
What I stated was that in my view and perspective, it was much better than my peers along with being very good in terms of the standard of my class. I didn't argue that my paper was absolutely flawless.
Vanadium 50
#54
Feb26-12, 10:20 PM
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No, but you did say it was outstanding (direct quote), and the professor unfairly gave you a B+ for it.


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