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Jacob T.
Architecture | Philosophy, Politics, and Law Student at USC; Educator/Presenter at California Science Center
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Philosophy
TutorMe
Question:

How does Immanuel Kant differentiate between synthetic and analytic knowledge within his seminal 1781 masterwork, Critique of Pure Reason? What is his distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge?

Jacob T.
Answer:

Kant defines any given knowledge claim as having a subject and a predicate. Within this structure, a predicate is either a restatement of the subject — i.e. the subject is broken down into what defines it and the predicate simply restates a defining factor of the subject — or, the predicate adds new, true information about the subject which is not contained within the initial definition of the subject. These, Kant refers to as analytic and synthetic knowledge, respectively. A primary illustrator of these typologies is through examples. Should one say “a whale is a mammal,” he is speaking of an analytic truth because the predicate of the statement comes solely from analyzing the subject of that statement; that is to say, the predicting term, “is a mammal,” is simply a defining factor of the subject: “a whale.” In this case, the whale being a mammal is no additive assertion because contained within the entity of “a whale” is the fact that it is mammalian. In contrast, one could say “one whale is named Moby Dick.” In doing so, one predicates the subject “one whale” with the name “Moby Dick,” adding information; this, Kant refers to as synthetic knowledge because contained nowhere within the subject “one whale” is the name “Moby Dick” or any proper name whatsoever. A priori knowledge is defined primarily as that knowledge which is obtainable without direct experience, i.e., that knowledge which does not rely on empirical observation. In contrast, a posteriori knowledge is that knowledge which is derived from empirical observations and experience.

College Admissions
TutorMe
Question:

What is the middle-50 ACT score of Harvard University and which essays are necessary for admissions?

Jacob T.
Answer:

Harvard's middle-50 ACT score is 32-35 and requires only the Common Application, Coalition Application, or Universal College Application supplement. An additional essay is optional.

Physics
TutorMe
Question:

Two blocks of identical size and shape are stacked on the ground. The block on the bottom is weight X whereas the black on the top is weight 2X. The upper block is tied to the adjacent wall whereas the lower block is being pulled by a force F the opposite direction of the wall. The coefficient of static friction between each and every surface is µ. What is the maximum force F that can be applied to the bottom block before the block will start slipping?

Jacob T.
Answer:

5µX

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