Friday, March 25, 2005

An Odd Request

The other day I received the following email:
My name is Theresa, i'm a student of The College of Staten Island, New York City. I am a philosophy student, in my first year. I got your mail address from one of the philosophy websites. I just want to ask you for a favour. I have this assignment that is bothering me and i don't know how to go about it . it is
(1) Do you think we have free-will. Give an arguement for or against it'
(2) Is the global skeptisism correct? Give an arguement for or against skeptisism.

I'll appreciate it if you can get this in as soon as possible before tuesday
Thank you

It sounds like she's requesting that I do her assignment for her. Bizarre. Still, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and replied:

What exactly is the "favour" you want from me? The assignment questions seem clear enough. I suggest the best way to "go about" doing them is: (1) read the assigned readings; (2) think about them; (3) discuss the readings with your tutor or lecturer, to iron out any misunderstandings you might have; (4) think some more; (5) write up a reasoned argument to support your position on the topic.


I haven't heard from her since. Can anyone else imagine what she might have meant?


  1. Richard, her ilk is why I quit my post as professor. The cheaters, frealoaders and slackers are abundant now in the university. They make teaching a chore.

    She goes to your school. Proof: American girls of her sort have no idea that there are other ways to spell "favor". She knows you get good marks and is trying to get help via your blog and in disguise.

  2. Say, that is rather suspicious. Though she might just be a British immigrant or something.

    Either way though, it does read as though she wanted to cheat. The really bizarre thing is that she expects someone else would be willing to do her work for her! She could have at least offered a bribe, geez... :p

  3. The spelling errors and incoherence of the email indicate that she wants someone to do her homework (though I guess you should at least be flattered).

    I'm taking an intro Philosophy class, though not majoring in it (possible minor, though) and here in the States we aren't really accustomed or prepared to the discipline and depth of thought required for philosophy.

    Of course, I've got a paper on Hegel and Marx, and dammit, is it impossible to translate German into intelligible English, or am I just marginally literate?

    BTW, your blog is very interesting.


  4. Oops, that should read "accustomed to or prepared for." And here I am talking about bad grammar. Blame it on the Easter beers . . .


  5. Greg, you seem to imply that exams are more productive than essays. I think the opposite is true. Exams encourage rote memorization. Essays require thought - even a bad essay, if properly constructed, demands some form of logical order. In humanities, esp. philosophy, it seems to me that essays are crucial. I find exams an easy waste of time. Essays are a bastard, but far more beneficial.


  6. " A little while ago I was asked how much it would cost for me to write an entire PhD thesis (the subject area was theology) for an American guy who admitted he knew nothing about the question at issue and wasn't really interested. It was a case of "name my price". The person who wanted me to do it was genuinely taken aback that I refused. Hopefully this kind of experience - and yours - is not too common, but fear it increasingly is."

    Paul, I don't think that this kind of experience is common - at least in Germany. But I have to admit that I receive four or five EMails per week in which some people offer me to buy my doctoral degree.

  7. My ethics professors said very plainly in class that we could buy a "C" in his class for $1,000 that was his price. Someone asked how much for an "A" and he said those were not for sale. Majority of the class received a "D" on the mid-term myself included. You can buy an "A" student to take the class for you for $500 clearly my prof is over pricing a "C"


Visitors: check my comments policy first.
Non-Blogger users: If the comment form isn't working for you, email me your comment and I can post it on your behalf. (If your comment is too long, first try breaking it into two parts.)

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.