I took the GRE in 1992 and received an 800 (top score) in the analytic section and mid- to high-700s in both the quantitative and verbal sections (I don’t recall the exact numbers but they’d be about 169 in today’s numbers). I took the GRE to go to graduate school in philosophy, which I did, receiving my PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While a graduate student I taught and tutored the GRE for The Princeton Review. I have since taught philosophy at many levels and, recently, re-discovered tutoring. I really enjoy working one-on-one and I’m a very dedicated tutor. I genuinely want my students to do well and enthusiastically put in time and energy outside of tutoring sessions to maximize their chances. I would argue that philosophy offers the best training for verbal and analytic tests, bar none. And I have refreshed my quantitative skills since signing up as a tutor with WyzAnt, to make sure I offer the very best service.
As a professionally trained philosopher, I’m an expert in logic. And I was already really good before I was trained: I got a perfect score on the analytic section of the GRE.
My training consists logic courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The most rigorous training occurred at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where I studied under Michael Resnik. We covered propositional logic, predicate logic, fallacies, and set theory. Our text was Quine's Methods of Logic.
In addition, I have taught logic as a component of introductory courses, focusing on fallacies and propositional logic. I have also taught and tutored the LSAT for The Princeton Review, which requires significant skill in logic. But I really want to emphasize that logic is the air professional philosophers breathe. When you've been doing professional philosophy for almost two decades, as I have, it becomes second nature.
I’m so good at logic that I can even give a knock-down proof that you will hire me as a tutor. I’m going to give you such a proof, but mainly just to demonstrate my logical abilities. I am certain you’ll see my abilities if you read even some of it. You needn’t analyze the whole thing, which might take a while.
First, in order for you to fully grasp the argument, I have to remind you of something you already know. This is that if a sentence is a disjunction (says “either P or Q”) then it is true if either of its disjuncts is true (if either P or Q is true). And a disjunction is true only if at least one of its disjuncts is true.
For example, if I say “either Jones has been working out or he is naturally fit” then what I said is true if either Jones has been working out or Jones is naturally fit. And what I said is true only if he’s been working out or is naturally fit, or both. If he’s neither been working out nor is naturally fit, then what I said is not true. As I say, you already know this, but you have to bear it in mind to follow the argument.
The argument is going to involve claims about the following sentence:
“Either this sentence is not true or you will hire me as a tutor.”
I’m not saying (yet) that that sentence is true! But let’s consider it. It’s a disjunction. So, as noted above, it is true if – and only if – either of the following conditions is met:
Condition 1: That sentence is not true.
Condition 2: You will hire me as a tutor.
Here, then, is the proof that you will hire me as a tutor. [I've followed each claim with a bracketed explanation of why you should believe it.]
Premise one: Either that sentence is true or it is not true. [It’s got to be one or the other – there’s no third possibility.]
Premise two: It cannot be not true. [If it were not true then Condition 1 would be met – but if Condition 1 is met then it is true.]
Premise three: So it must be true. [This follows logically from Premises one and two.]
Premise four: If it is true then either Condition 1 or Condition 2 must be met. [This was explained above.]
Premise five: If it is true then Condition 1 is not met. [Because Condition 1 is that it is not true.]
Premise six: So if it is true then Condition 2 must be met. [This follows logically from Premises four and five.]
Premise seven: So Condition 2 must be met. [This follows logically from Premises three and six.]
Conclusion: So you will hire me as a tutor. [This just makes Premise seven explicit – look at what Condition 2 is.]
There is no trick here: it is actually a deep philosophical question what’s wrong with this sort of argument. Obviously something is wrong, as you can see if you notice that the argument would work equally well no matter what Condition 2 is. I could give the same knock-down proof that you won’t hire me, or that God exists, or whatever you like. But – and I want to emphasize this – the Premises are as irrefutable as they seem, and together they logically entail the Conclusion. If you doubt this, try to find which Premise is not true, or where there is a leap in logic. If you want to read more about it, here’s a good place to start: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liar-paradox/. Or hire me, and I’ll discuss it with you – no charge (as you can probably tell, I love this stuff).