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Amor Mundi 11/3/13

Hannah Arendt considered calling her magnum opus Amor Mundi: Love of the World. Instead, she settled upon The Human Condition. What is most difficult, Arendt writes, is to love the world as it is, with all the evil and suffering in it. And yet she came to do just that. Loving the world means neither…Read more Amor Mundi 11/3/13 Posted on 4 November 2013 | 1:23 pm

In the Age of Big Data, Should We Live in Awe of Machines?

In 1949, The New York Times asked Norbert Wiener, author of Cybernetics, to write an essay for the paper that expressed his ideas in simple form. For editorial and other reasons, Wiener’s essay never appeared and was lost. Recently, a draft of the never-published essay was found in the MIT archives. Written now 64 years…Read more In the Age of Big Data, Should We Live in Awe of Machines? Posted on 7 June 2013 | 3:21 pm

On MOOCs; and Some Possible Futures for Higher Ed

Barely more than a year old, MITx and edX now dominate discussion about the future of higher education like nothing else I have seen in my time in Cambridge, MA. I have been teaching at MIT for more than 10 years now, and can’t remember any subject touching directly on university life that came even…Read more On MOOCs; and Some Possible Futures for Higher Ed Posted on 4 June 2013 | 12:19 pm

The MOOCs Debate Continues

Thinking stops us. To think is to slow down, even stop, turn around, and reflect. There is that famous scene in the Symposium where Socrates simply stands there in the street for hours, thinking. Barbara Sukowa, in the new film Hannah Arendt, literally smokes saying nothing for minutes on end to offer the exemplary sense…Read more The MOOCs Debate Continues Posted on 17 May 2013 | 2:12 pm

Dworkin’s Law & Justice

Ronald Dworkin died yesterday, Thursday. He was 81. For much of my early career as someone engaged in the question of justice, Ronald Dworkin was one of my imaginary antagonists. Reading Dworkin was eternally frustrating. I was consumed with the inevitable temptation to take on Dworkin’s unwavering apologies for legal power. Dworkin was the great…Read more Dworkin’s Law & Justice Posted on 15 February 2013 | 3:11 pm

The Humanity of Shame

One of the great surprises upon arriving at Bard College was meeting Norman Manea. Manea, who was born in Romania, spent four years as a child in a concentration camp, many more as a dissident, and finally relocated to NYC and Bard College. He is a prolific and exciting writer, the author of novels, memoirs and…Read more The Humanity of Shame Posted on 23 March 2012 | 2:49 pm