Truth in Society

Tuesday, October 4, 1994

Prompt #20


How the day will go . . .

We've got two things to deal with today. The first is the writing everyone did out of the When Rights Collide conference; the second is the exploring of reasons individuals came up with for continuing work on certain of the episodes rather than others. Let's take the first one first.

Colliding Rights

Everyone should have (or have submitted) a reflection on the conference, and everyone who attended the Alan Borovoy talk on Wednesday night should have a description of that event. For the moment, let's treat them together. For the first half hour or so this morning, let's see what we had to say about this event and the way it connected or resonated for us with the concern we have in this course with how people come to believe things, and how they may come to modify what they believe.

We'll put all the readings on a table in the middle of the room. Take one and read it. When you come across a statement suggesting a connection that seems illuminating or interesting, mark it as usual. When something seems especially worth thinking about, mark it and then write "Read this Aloud" in the margin next to it.

When you've finished with one, put it back on the table and take another. As usual, if you agree with a mark, add your mark to it; if you agree something should be read aloud, underline the words.

After about a half hour of reading and marking, we'll distribute the papers around the room and have at least eight or ten passages read aloud. Then we'll talk about the conference and our take on it for a while. After that, we'll take a break (put the papers back on the table so we can arrange to have the marked portions transcribed).

Reasons for Focusing

You should have (or have submitted for printing) two statements on "the episodes that you'd find easiest to recommend," in which you "probe your preferences, elaborating the reasons or grounds for your choices." We're going to spend some time today thinking about the kinds of reasons people offered to explain and justify their choices, and considering what sorts of reasons are most important to us as we make decisions. The idea here is to hold off on making decisions until we've explored why we're making the decisions (and learning a little bit about decision-making processes as we do it).

We'll begin, as you probably could predict, by doing some reading and marking. As we did earlier this morning, we'll put the texts on the table in the middle and read them, marking as we go. But this time what we should be marking is the reasons you find most important or useful. This is meant to help everyone think about the reasons in general rather than the reasons for making a particular choice. So every time you find a reason stated that seems important or useful -- one that would make a difference to you, or should make a difference to everyone, and regardless of whether your mind is actually changed by it -- mark it. If you're reading one that's already marked, and you agree, mark that.

We want everybody to have time to read maybe even as many as half of the statements. We expect it might take an hour and a half. Take your time, read carefully, mark thoughtfully, and think about it as you go.

Be back in EC120 at 1:00.


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