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'Thinking' Course Returns

Dershowitz, Gould, Nozick To Examine Different Philosophies

By Sarah J. Schaffer

Students who daydream of debating with Dershowitz found a forum for their desires yesterday afternoon in Sanders Theatre.

More than 800 students attended the first meeting of Philosophy 192--"Thinking About Thinking: Law, Science and Philosophy"--to watch Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor of Geology Stephen Jay Gould and Porter Professor of Philosophy Robert Nozick discuss their disciplines' contrasting approaches.

"This course is designed to look at the way philosophers think about things, the way lawyers think about things, and the way scientists think about things," Nozick said, introducing the course.

"We don't pretend to be typical people in our fields or representative, so don't blame our fields for us," he said to audience laughter.

When Dershowitz's turn came, he commented first on philosophy, Nozick's area of expertise, and then on law, his own field.

"Truth is almost no part of the legal enterprise," Dershowitz said.

"I think lawyers have a view of truth which is very relative," he added.

He then asked students how they would have handled the defense in the 1954 cas of Brown v. Board of Education and proceeded to argued with them.

Gould spoke about ethics, especially as they pertain to science.

"The main difference between science and many other disciplines," Gould said, "is that science itself really cannot make an ethical judgment about its own knowledge."

The three professors informally debated with each other after their opening speeches.

The class will be conducted in a similar format, with one professor each week giving a speech and the other two offering their own perspectives on the views of the first professor.

Students at yesterday's lecture said they were excited about taking the course.

"My impression mainly was that Dershowitz and Nozick are going to run the course, but, thankfully, Gould brought in the biological aspect," said Jennifer M. Chertow '94.

One doctoral student said she looked forward to the next meetings.

"I think it has the makings of a really brilliant course," said Frances K. Hurley, a student at the Graduate School of Education.

Two students who made the journey from MIT to take the course said they were drawn in by the professors' names.

"The names caught the eye, I have to admit," said Matthew A. Levin, sophomore at MIT."

Even though the three professors arewell-renowned, Gould said that the class wasnothing out of the ordinary.

No Photos, Please!

When a Crimson photographer tried to take apicture, Nozick first asked him not to take it.Gould then added, "This is not a show. It is aclass."

Dershowitz explained in an interview after theclass that the idea for the course began fiveyears ago, when Gould asked him to help teach aclass on creationism and the law.

After the course was over, they decided theyneeded a philosopher as well and invited Nozick tojoin them for Philosophy 192.

The course was offered in 1990 and 1991.Originally scheduled to be held at 2 DivinityAve., it was moved to Sanders Theatre foryesterday's meeting.

Subsequent meetings of the course, which waslotteried yesterday, will be in Science Center B,which holds approximately 500 people

Even though the three professors arewell-renowned, Gould said that the class wasnothing out of the ordinary.

No Photos, Please!

When a Crimson photographer tried to take apicture, Nozick first asked him not to take it.Gould then added, "This is not a show. It is aclass."

Dershowitz explained in an interview after theclass that the idea for the course began fiveyears ago, when Gould asked him to help teach aclass on creationism and the law.

After the course was over, they decided theyneeded a philosopher as well and invited Nozick tojoin them for Philosophy 192.

The course was offered in 1990 and 1991.Originally scheduled to be held at 2 DivinityAve., it was moved to Sanders Theatre foryesterday's meeting.

Subsequent meetings of the course, which waslotteried yesterday, will be in Science Center B,which holds approximately 500 people

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