Liberty upsets patterns

by Micah on March 5, 2005

What would you have “paid”: to take a class with Nozick? The end of the article linked is, as it says, priceless.

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03.05.05 at 10:58 pm



Matthew Yglesias 03.05.05 at 3:42 am

Interestingly, I was in the last undergraduate class Nozick taught. Enrollment was capped at 18 but it was actually undersubscribed.


micah 03.05.05 at 4:01 am

That is interesting. What was the topic?


Kevin 03.05.05 at 5:10 am

I took “Thinking about Thinking” a decade or so ago, with Nozick, Stephen Jay Gould, and Alan Dershowitz at the helm. Huge lecture hall class and, frankly, not worth all that much.

The upshot was lawyers, scientists, and philosophers tend to approach problems differently. Who knew?


washerdreyer 03.05.05 at 7:37 am

Fortunately, NYU has already solved this problem for 1L’s by not giving us any meaningful choices at all.Our only choice is which of six professors to take “The Administrative and Regulatory State” with.


washerdreyer 03.05.05 at 7:42 am

Also, the real issue is a) whether or not Wilt Chamberlain could trade some period of time of watching him play basketball for a seat in Neuborne’s class, and b) can a school force Wilt to redistribute his seat without violating anyone’s rights?


Backword Dave 03.05.05 at 4:56 pm

Am I missing something here? But when I was an undergrad, I only went to lectures to get a clue about what would be in exams. Most of my learning was from books or journals. As long as you keep up with the reading material, you’re set. A photocopy of a handout must be a lot cheaper than $500. Almost all the ‘teaching’ was in tutorials, and they were complsory. (The exception was one class where there were only six of us — probably because there were only six of us.)

When Noam Chomsky came to the Cardiff Law School, they used CCTV to show him in other lecture theatres for all those who couldn’t in. Why is this beyond NYU who charge $38,000 a year?


hick 03.05.05 at 5:48 pm

I might have paid someone hundreds would that have kept me from witnessing the Nozickian wind turbine.

Dershowitz shoud be attached to a polygraph and asked a few questions–such as, was OJ guilty? Have you ever lied while defending someone accused of murder? etc.

SJ Gould, with his flaws, was not such a bad thinker or writer.


quitter 03.05.05 at 6:07 pm

Nozick once gave a lecture at my college. SRO at first; 30 minutes later 80% of the audience (including yours truly) had walked out.


bza 03.05.05 at 6:43 pm

I took a graduate seminar with Nozick in the mid-90s. He was most definitely coasting in his later years.


backword dave 03.05.05 at 7:47 pm

SJ Gould, with his flaws

Ah, care to explain that? I assume you mean something beyond the trivial ‘he, like everyone else, had flaws.’ He could be a trifle dull about baseball, but he was a very decent man with very decent principles who confounded the stereotype of academic experts and wrote very clearly.


hick 03.05.05 at 8:01 pm

As I indicated, SJ Gould was an admirable though occasionally arrogant writer on science topics, yet I think he was mistaken in his attacks on the psychologist Jensen and the g factor. There is no evidence that suggests Jensen was a racist: his education research did however lead to some conclusions which would tend to disappoint naive liberals.


Micha Ghertner 03.06.05 at 12:47 am

And he was a dirty, dirty communist. :D


hick 03.06.05 at 3:04 am

Is there anything more amusing and really pathetic as the Ivy League faux-leftist? A Galbraith or Gould is understandable, but some of us out in hinterlands, imbibing the overwritten theoretical productions of the typical multicultural, marxist, or feminist humanities major/dupe reach for a barf bag. Ivy League Inc. is about as close to meritocratic and democratic educational ideals as well, the English monarchy–whose elite, private universities it was formulated upon. For most Ivy League bourgeois students, marxism and leftism are sort of a phase, like pot smoking: dispensed with (or at least converted into corporate liberalism) when they land their first urban professional job, or are admitted into law school.


Brett Bellmore 03.06.05 at 6:12 pm

“He could be a trifle dull about baseball,”

My god! And the sun is somewhat warm. I took one of his books on tape to keep me amused on a long drive, and it nearly cost me my life when I nodded off during an extended metaphor about baseball statistics.


washerdreyer 03.07.05 at 2:31 am

Gould’s Joe DiMaggio essay is a classic. Seriously, most baseball fans I know like his work in that area. Also, his essay on how his knowledge of statistics helped him deal with being diagnosed with cancer was fantastic.


Doug Muir 03.07.05 at 12:31 pm

Gould: always dogmatic, and late in life he just got really boring.

Note that _Wonderful Life_, while a delightful read, is about 80% crap. Most of the new phyla turned out to be not so new after all, and the current paleontological consensus is that Burgess was actually broadly correct (though wrong in detail) after all. The Cambrian Explosion itself is looking more and more like an evidentiary artifact — genetic analysis has shown that the major animal lineages diverged much earlier (like, ~1.2 billion years as opposed to 535 million).

You’d never know it from reading Gould, though. It was the ultimate example of supercontingent punk eek, so he embraced the version that suited his ideological priors and never looked back.

[shrug] Some of his bird articles were quite nice.

Doug M.


pierre 03.07.05 at 6:39 pm

SJ Gould, with his flaws

Yes, how dare he write so much better than all the other evolutionary biologists. And understand philosophy of science. And be able to present different arguments to different audiences. And be so famous.


hick 03.07.05 at 8:15 pm

I guess critical reading is, like logic, not such a hot item among east coast institutions of higher swindling. I have read quite a few essays of Gould and share his disdain for the creationists. But he was often dogmatic and arrogant, and his ad hominem rips of Jensen and others were unjustified.

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