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The Mail


To the Editors of The Crimson:

I would like to correct some rather serious misquotations which appeared in year story about me in today's issue of The Crimson. I am sorry that they are so numerous, since I enjoyed talking with your reporter and did not anticipate such confusions. First of all, the anecdote concerning Mr. Bernstein is inaccurately reported. He certainly did not call to me from across the room, but came from across the room and introduced himself to me in an extremely courteous and country manner, saying he wished to meet the "socia." My feeling of embarrassment stemmed only from an awareness that the male follows seated around me were at least as deserving of this recognition as I. (And this is, indeed, the only reason I related the anecdote). I particularly wish to correct the impression conveyed in your article that Mr. Bernstein's conduct was in any way thoughtless or condescending, since I thoroughly enjoyed my brief conversation with him.

I do not believe, as I am quoted as saying, that quotas for women are particularly desirable in the Society or elsewhere. As for the Society. I said that I was convinced that now that it was known that women were being considered, there would be many more qualified applicants, and that selection based on merit alone would result in a larger proportion of female fellows. In universities in general. I said that while I realized the issue was an extremely difficult one and while I have known of cases where highly qualified women were able to attain positions they clearly deserved only because of the existence of some quota. I myself would prefer to work for a situation where hiring is done openly on the basis of merit without the establishment of artificial numerical pressures. I expressed confidence that "tokenism" would be avoided in the case of the Society, and a hope that it would be elsewhere.

My remark about the fellows being in a "no-man's land" between students and faculty was not intended as a criticism of the program but was in response to a question from your reporter about my participation in graduate student extracurricular organizations.

Junior Fellows-do not take courses, although they can of course audit them. I said the primary advantages of the program were in my opinion 1) the opportunity to broaden one's background in areas related to, but not directly subsumed under, one's field of specialization--in my case the chance to read more modern, as well as ancient philosophy and 2) the chance to meet and converse regularly with people doing distinguished work in areas quite different from one's own.

As for my thesis, I certainly do not claim to be the only person now studying the De Motu in the original (there have been numerous recent articles dealing with portions of the argument), but said I was, as far as I knew, the only person currently preparing an edition of, and commentary on, the Greek text.

These are the most serious errors, though there are others. I am sorry, in general, that the article chose to concentrate so heavily on my peripheral remarks about Radcliffe and to omit the less topical, but to me more substantive subjects which were discussed during the Interview.

I hope you will print this in full, since I feel the article as it appeared was a disservice both to me and to the Society. Martha C. Nussbaum   Junior Fellow

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