New links…

  1. “If we can’t say exactly how we think, then how well do we know ourselves?” — Have you thought about how you think? Is it in pictures, in patterns, in words, or in some unsymbolized way? The New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman thinks about it, with help from philosophers and others
  2. How students can use ChatGPT to complete the assignments you give them, and what you can do, including strategies for “leaning in” to the new technology — a video from Mark Alfano (Macquarie)
  3. A petition to have Olympe de Gouges, author of “The Declaration of the Rights of Woman” (1791), memorialized alongside the “great men of France” in the Pantheon — organized by Sylvia Duverger (Université Paris 8)
  4. Simone de Beauvoir wearing a brooch made and given to her by Alexander Calder (possibly this piece)
  5. “To hope well is to be realistic about probabilities, not to succumb to wishful thinking or be cowed by fear; it is to hold possibilities open when you should” — Kieran Setiya (MIT) on the virtue of hopefulness
  6. “Only by assuming a certain constancy between the present and the past can we use the present world as a guide for our historical interpretations… The trick has always been deciding exactly how the present resembles the past” — Extinct, the philosophy of paleontology blog, is revived—with a new post by its new editor, Max Dresow (Minnesota)
  7. “Tell me just what sort of things are the colors you see / if you’re thinking ontologically…” — Daniel Groll (Carleton) composed a jingle for a course on color taught by his colleagues

Discussion welcome.

Mini-Heap posts usually appear when 7 or so new items accumulate in the Heap of Links, a collection of items from around the web that may be of interest to philosophers.

The Heap of Links consists partly of suggestions from readers; if you find something online that you think would be of interest to the philosophical community, please send it in for consideration for the Heap. Thanks!

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1 year ago

I found Mark Alfano’s video on ChatGPT to be useful. It helps to get an idea of how successful students might be in using ChatGPT on certain sorts of assignments.

One of the points made in the video was that students without any understanding of the material presented in class can use ChatGPT to generate passing discussion submissions. They can simply input the prompt (say, “What is the Euthyphro Dilemma?”), and the AI could generate a paragraph that is good enough to get at least partial credit. This, of course, is a problem.

One way to avoid this specific problem is to rewrite the prompt. Instead of using ‘Euthyphro Dilemma’, you might use a description such as ‘the dilemma presented in lecture on [date]’. Doing so would at least require the student to be somewhat familiar with the material presented on the specific date. Still, it’s likley that even if they have only a very minimal understanding of the material, they could use ChatGPT to earn more points than they deserve.

To avoid this, one could perhaps present the dilemma in Euthyphro indirectly, and then have them apply their understanding in the context of Euthyphro. For example: You could perhaps present the idea that (a) bread is a proper source of nutrients for humans iff (b) humans who consume bread enjoy health. Then, you might raise the question of whether (a) because (b) or, instead, (b) because (a). For the assignment prompt, you might write something like: how does the question presented in the lecture on [date], about humans and bread relate to Plato’s Euthyphro? Students would likely still be able to rely on ChatGPT, but they would at least have to be able to evaluate the appropriateness of the response it generates. To do this, I think, they would need to have a good grasp of the material, and so would be less likely to earn more points than they deserve.

I hope it’s obvious enough how the above proposed solutions can be modified for assessing students on various other topics. And if I’m mistaken about any of this, I’d be happy to know it. Admittedly, because I haven’t played with ChatGPT, I may be mistaken.