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Tutor profile: Matt B.

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Matt B.
Graduate Student TA, formerly high school Latin teacher, & tutor
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Questions

Subject: Greek

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Question:

Is Greek still relevant in our day and age?

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Matt B.
Answer:

Many technical terms in biology, chemistry, and physics borrow extensively from Greek, possibly more so than Latin, and I try to draw my students' attention to this. It is also useful to be aware of how keen and perceptive ancient Greek historians were of the social sphere, and how enormously influential ancient Greek philosophers were in all later epochs of human thought.

Subject: Latin

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Question:

Is vocabulary and grammar all that matters for success in Latin?

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Matt B.
Answer:

I am strongly of the opinion that activating a language involves speech, listening, reading, and writing, as well as developing and cultivating a sense for style and grace in that language and contextual translation. To that end, I always try to vary the kinds of assignments I give my students extensively, and am not afraid to get them started on all these elements, gradually, early on. I try to make language acquisition happen naturally, holistically, and in an engaging way for the student.

Subject: Philosophy

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Question:

I often get asked in my introductory business ethics course, which covers topics at the intersection of ethics and economics and moral philosophy, what the difference is between the principal thinkers we cover - Kant, Bentham, Mill, and Aristotle - in terms of how they would perceive the role and function of the generic, typical corporation.

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Matt B.
Answer:

I approach and address that question by having students consider what distinguishes Kant, Bentham, and Mill from Aristotle (I frame this around the liberalism-communitarianism distinction). Then, I draw their attention to the role of practical reason in the liberal, individualistic moral philosophy of Kant as applied to corporations. Practical reasoning regarding the corporation depends, first, on perfect and imperfect duties, and the resultant categorical imperative arrived at by practical reasoning. In the case of Bentham, whose utilitarianism I always remind them is not egoistic, we can see his notion of the hedonic calculus as serving the function that practical reason in search of a categorical imperative serves for Kant. In Mill's case, there is the harm principle, which is still however individualistic, and last but not least, Aristotle's notion of the final cause gears all of the corporation's aims towards some good, namely the flourishing (eudaimonia), of the community as a whole.

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