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Tutor profile: Andrea T.

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Andrea T.
Master's Student at Columbia University
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

Please write a brief explanation of your current writing process and consider where it could use improvement.

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Andrea T.
Answer:

Currently, I begin formal essay writing by spending a good chunk of time on my introduction. For me, the introduction serves as an outline of a writing piece so, if time is spent here, it allows me to think through my body paragraphs before even getting to them. This reduces my time spent writing the essay as I have a good sense of where I'm going with my arguments before I begin them. One improvement I could make to my writing process is to spend my time on an outline rather than just the introductory paragraph. This could allow me to develop the details of my argument rather than just the broad strokes, further reducing my editing time.

Subject: Philosophy

TutorMe
Question:

Describe Rousseau's state of nature and how Rousseau considered it developed to where we are today.

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Andrea T.
Answer:

In Rousseau’s state of nature, humans were asocial, keeping to themselves while doing no harm to others. However, as people began to reason, they cooperated with each other and lived in community to increase their comfort and convenience. This engendered in man an awareness for others’ views of him and a desire to be viewed favorably by those around him. This collective desire to be viewed well by others created an economy of esteem. According to Rousseau, esteem — which I define here as respect and admiration — is a positional good, meaning the gaining or losing of it is zero-sum. If one individual gains a degree of esteem, another loses a degree of his esteem. Due to the limited nature of esteem, people began competing with each other for it through visible displays of power, such as nicer homes or material excess, which must be bought with money. As the competition for esteem continued, competition brought out the natural inequality amongst people, allowing some to “win” by accumulating a great deal (and garnering great esteem) while others “lost” as they fell behind in the race to accumulate wealth.

Subject: International Studies

TutorMe
Question:

How can countries design international agreements to best suit the needs of the individual state actors that participate?

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Andrea T.
Answer:

International treaties facilitate cooperation between countries and can cover issue areas from trade to human rights to security. Across these diverse issues, one thing held in common among treaties is that they need to address underlying barriers to cooperation. For example, for countries to design a helpful security agreement, they must consider the costs and benefits each country faces when committing to an agreement and maximize the benefits. In order to achieve this, the agreement should be designed so that countries feel secure that their peers will uphold their own side of the bargain. A good example is the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal which succeeded in committing Iran to nuclear non-proliferation by lifting sanctions over a long, deliberate process. By not lifting all sanctions immediately, countries like the United States could feel more secure by not giving up their bargaining position. Meanwhile, Iran was receiving benefits it needed in order to mediate the cost of not developing nuclear weapons.

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