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§ 18. I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver myself from those fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves, by taking words for things. It helps not our ignorance, to feign a knowledge where we have none, by making a noise with sounds, without clear and distinct significations. Names made at pleasure neither alter the nature of things, nor make us understand them but as they are signs of and stand for determined ideas. And I desire those who lay so much stress on the sound of these two syllables, substance, to consider whether applying it, as they do, to the infinite incomprehensible God, to finite spirit, and to body, it be in the same sense; and whether it stands for the same idea, when each of those three so different beings are called substances. If so, whether it will thence follow, that God, spirits, and body, agreeing in the same common nature of substance, differ not any otherwise, than in a bare different modification of that substance; as a tree and a pebble being in the same sense body, and agreeing in the common nature of body, differ only in a bare modification of that common matter: which will be a very harsh doctrine. If they say, that they apply it to God, finite spirit, and matter, in three different significations; and that it stands for one idea, when God is said to be a substance; for another, when the soul is called substance; and for a third, when a body is called so; if the name substance stands for three several distinct ideas, they would do well to make known those distinct ideas, or at least to give three distinct names to them, to prevent in so important a notion the confusion and errours that will naturally follow from the promiscuous use of so doubtful a term; which is so far from being suspected to have three distinct, that in ordinary use it has scarce one clear distinct signification; and if they can thus make three distinct ideas of substance, what hinders why another may not make a fourth?

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Those 'potential to contribute' essays

From the same principles it may be collected that all such pompous theories of morals, however seemingly diversified, yet amount ultimately to the same thing, being all built upon the same false bottom of innate notions; and from the history of this science we may see that they have received no manner of improvement (as indeed by the supposition of their innateness they become incapable of any) from the days of Plato to our own; but must always take the main point, the ground of obligation, for granted: which is in truth the shortest and safest way of proceeding for such self-taught philosophers, and saves a deal of trouble in seeking reasons for what they advance, where none are to be found. Mr. Locke went a far different way to work, at the very entrance on his Essay, pointing out the true origin of all our passions and affections, i. e. sensitive pleasure and pain; and accordingly directing us to the proper principle and end of virtue, private happiness, in each individual; as well as laying down the adequate rule and only solid ground of moral obligation, the divine will. From whence also it may well be concluded that moral propositions are equally capable of certainty, and that such certainty is equally reducible to strict demonstration here as in other sciences, since they consist of the very same kind of ideas [viz. general abstract ones, the true and only ground of all general knowledge]: provided always that the terms be once clearly settled, in which lies the chief difficulty, and are constantly applied (as surely they may be) with equal steadiness and precision: which was undoubtedly Mr. Locke’s meaning in that assertion of his which drew upon him so many solicitations to set about such a systematic demonstration of morals.

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§ 40. From what has been before said, we may see the reason why, in the species of artificial things, there is generally less confusion and uncertainty, than in natural. Because an artificial thing being a production of man, which the artificer designed, and therefore well knows the idea of, the name of it is supposed to stand for no other idea, nor to import any other essence than what is certainly to be known, and easy enough to be apprehended. For the idea or essence of the several sorts of artificial things consisting, for the most part, in nothing but the determinate figure of sensible parts; and sometimes motion depending thereon, which the artificer fashions in matter, such as he finds for his turn; it is not beyond the reach of our faculties to attain a certain idea thereof, and to settle the signification of the names whereby the species of artificial things are distinguished with less doubt, obscurity, and equivocation, than we can in things natural, whose differences and operations depend upon contrivances beyond the reach of our discoveries.

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College essay contributing to diversity

§ 11. So that all our complex ideas of substances are imperfect and inadequate. Which would be so also in mathematical figures, if we were to have our complex ideas of them, only by collecting their properties in reference to other figures. How uncertain and imperfect would our ideas be of an ellipsis, if we had no other idea of it, but some few of its properties? Whereas having in our plain idea the whole essence of that figure, we from thence discover those properties, and demonstratively see how they flow, and are inseparable from it.

College essay contributing to diversity - Securitas …

§ 10. But no one, who hath considered the properties of bodies in general, or this sort in particular, can doubt that this called gold has infinite other properties not contained in that complex idea. Some who have examined this species more accurately, could, I believe, enumerate ten times as many properties in gold, all of them as inseparable from its internal constitution, as its colour or weight: and it is probable, if any one knew all the properties that are by divers men known of this metal, there would be an hundred times as many ideas go to the complex idea of gold, as any one man yet has in his; and yet perhaps that not be the thousandth part of what is to be discovered in it. The changes which that one body is apt to receive, and make in other bodies, upon a due application, exceeding far not only what we know, but what we are apt to imagine. Which will not appear so much a paradox to any one, who will but consider how far men are yet from knowing all the properties of that one, no very compound figure, a triangle; though it be no small number that are already by mathematicians discovered of it.