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Tutor profile: Benjamin M.

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Benjamin M.
PhD in Philosophy with 10 year teaching and research experience
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Questions

Subject: Study Skills

TutorMe
Question:

What is good a way to help commit information to memory?

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Benjamin M.
Answer:

Rewrite notes on paper. Using your hands will often help you process the information more effectively than if you simply read your electronically-written notes.

Subject: Philosophy

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Question:

What is Harry Frankfurt's account of free will?

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Benjamin M.
Answer:

Frankfurt distinguishes (somewhat confusingly) between *freedom of the will* and *acting freely and of one's own free will*. To see both, first consider his account of levels of desire. To have a first-order desire, according to Frankfurt, is to want something. For example, to want to smoke a cigarette. To have a second-order desire is to have a desire *about* a desire. For example, to want to not want a cigarette. In other words, whilst you might want a cigarette, you might also want to not want a cigarette. You desire not to have a particular desire. A particular type of second-order desire is a second-order *volition*. This is a desire that a particular first-order desire is your will or is effective - that is, this desire moves you to action. If you want to be moved to action on your first-order desire to smoke a cigarette, then you have a second-order volition to smoke a cigarette. Importantly, you might have such a second-order volition without having the corresponding first-order desire. Maybe you think smoking is cool and you'll become cool if you start smoking, so you want the first-order desire to smoke to move you to smoke. However, you might still find smoking disgusting and have no such desire to smoke, so you do not smoke in the end. When there is an alignment or mesh between the levels of desire - that is, when a person's second-order volition identifies a first-order desire the person has - then the person acts freely and of their own free will on Frankfurt's account. For example, the smoker might a first-order desire to smoke and a second-order volition to smoke. When the smoker smokes, then, they do so freely and of their own free will. However, the smoker might lack freedom of the will - that is, the power to choose which desires she has. So, for Frankfurt, freedom of the will is about being able to choose which desires you have whereas acting freely and of one's own free will is about having a particular sort of psychological structure.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

Which is grammatically correct: "John was speaking to Sally and I" or "John was speaking to Sally and me"?

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Benjamin M.
Answer:

"John was speaking to Sally and me" is grammatically correct. "I" is used when you are the subject of the sentence, whereas "me" is used when you are the object. So, it is grammatically correct to say: "Sally and I were being spoken to by John", but not grammatically correct to say: "Me and Sally were being spoken to by John". While the latter formulation is not grammatically correct, it may be a more appropriate way to speak in some social contexts.

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