Truth in Society

February 7, 1995

Prompt #51


Expanding possibilities . . .

We'll assume that everyone has arrived with a printed out copy of her new-and- improved readlog file (superfluous stuff expunged, good stuff tidied up, with a stimulating reflection appended). Make sure your name is clear at the top of the first page, and that the pages are stapled.

Between now and Thursday morning, you'll read the files of eight of your colleagues (a list of which ones is below). They'll all be kept on the counter in EC120 when no one's reading them. Take one or two, read it or them, and bring them back as soon as you're done. If you want to keep them longer, you can photocopy them, but bring them back as soon as possible. When you've read each, add your initials to the bottom (if you think adding a written comment will help further readers, go ahead, but it's not necessary). You will want to takes notes for yourself, so you can keep track of who said what. After 4:30 today, they'll be on a table outside Russ's office, EC 322, but you should try to finish the reading today.

Based on your careful consideration of the nine logs you read (your own and those of your eight colleagues), you'll prepare a report to bring to our 8:30 am meeting on Thursday.

This report will be in many ways similar to the reflection you wrote on your own log, except that now you'll have nine sets of entries with which to work rather than just one. Again it's a matter first of searching for patterns, identifying contradictions, tensions, assumptions, and questions. Then your task is to make some preliminary judgements about the potential of various selections to spark new and challenging lines of inquiry concerning what people come to believe about themselves, others, the world, the universe and the cosmos. This report should be a substantial and thoughtful piece of work; what it has to say should matter to the rest of us.

Please list at the top of your report the eight colleagues who authored the readlogs you read. You may well want to quote from some or all of them. Make sure you credit the authors when you quote them.

On Thursday, these reports will serve a crucial function. Groups will be set up to examine them in order to make decisions about what suggestions seem worth pursuing to the next level. This next level will entail conducting "feasibility studies," to determine not only whether or not a particular suggestion is worth doing, but also whether it is do-able, given our resources and time frame.

The details concerning who'll work with whom on what feasibility study, and what exactly such studies should look like, are matters that we'll talk about on Thursday.

What you should read

Attached is a set of lists, one for each person in the class. We've set these up in a very simple way: we put the original set of accumulated READLOGS in order by size, and then assigned them to each person by giving them every ninth one in the list. The reason for this was simple: to give everyone about the same amount to read. Everything else about this was random. Obviously, you're free to read the edited readlogs of anybody else, but the ones you're responsible for are in the list of eight below your name.


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