My philosophy studies and thesis: a work in progress.

May 7th, 2008

Next year will be my last year of reading and research for my degree in philosophy. To complete my degree, I’ll attempt to write an original thesis. So far, I’ve spoken to multiple professors around Harvard, and one professor, Daniel Kahnemann, from Princeton via email. Overall, I’ve gotten the most help from HLS Professor Scott Brewer. He’s really bright. Next, I’d have to say that Selim Berker in the Philosophy department was quite helpful too. With the help that I’ve received from Professors Brewer and Berker, my thesis research has exploded. My next phase will include the reading of the books on my reading list, which I’ve been compiling since September 2007. Hopefully, I’ll have the first five books completed before summer school starts in late June. That way, I’ll be prepared enough to complete my thesis by the target date of May 2008.

As for my other work, I think that I’m going to start studying Metaphysics and Epistemology more closely. These things tend to state how the world might be, and that’s interesting. Notably, I’ve also decided to start studying mathematics and physics too. I’d really like to understand quantum mechanics, probability theory, and topologies and manifolds better. These fields might help me better understand how things might work in the world. That’d be pretty cool.

Finally, I think that I will attempt to go to law school after all. Because of the heavy weight on the lsat in the law school application process, I don’t know where I’ll be applying. The hope is that I can score average or above. I have no ambitions about where to go to law school. I’ll be happy to go wherever. I suppose that the great attraction for me, other than child advocacy, is the philosophy of law and its nature. I don’t think that I really have some great interest in going to practice law outside of family law, but it could be helpful later down the road.

Well, I must go and write a paper for reading period. I’ll discuss my courses over the last two semesters next.

Hist A-84: American Constitutional History from the Framing to the Present

December 7th, 2007

So I’m taking a course this semester: Hist A-84: American Constitutional History from the Framing to the Present. Morton J. Horwitz, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, teaches the course, and he’s great. I think he’s very enthusiastic about the material. Most, if not all, of the Teaching Fellows have their JD degree already, and some are working on either a PhD or SJD. It’s a class act (no pun intended).

However, I only recommend the class if you are a scholar who is not afraid to work hard. That’s exactly what the course takes–hard work. The reading can bury you. I’m not kidding. I read 87 Supreme Court cases this semester. Not to mention Michael J. Klarman’s book, and Professor Horwitz’s Warren Court book. It’s not an easy course, and it shouldn’t be. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a course as much as this one. Regardless of the reading, Horwitz is a smart guy; he knows how to frame an argument like Vincent van Gogh frames a scene in his paintings. He just gets it right.

I highly recommend it for the scholarship, but only if you can read large amounts of course material.

Seth P. Waxman v. Paul D. Clement: Harvard Law vs. Yale Law, who will win?

December 7th, 2007

One of the best lawyers in the United States (Seth P. Waxman) put together one of the most well organized arguments I’ve ever seen. But his opponent’s no slouch either, and he should be considered a worthy opponent (Paul D. Clement).

I’m actually surprised that nobody sold tickets to this event. Why you might ask? Because these are two fine lawyers that come from rivalry schools, and, even better, they both served in the same position but for rival political parties. Mr. Waxman went to Yale law School, while Mr. Clement went to Harvard Law School. Mr. Waxman served for the Clinton administration, while Mr. Clement serves for the (second) Bush administration. The differences between these two are slight, and I think that they’ve met before (but don’t quote me on that).

Their oral arguments are incredible. When I read them, I almost thought the whole thing was a script.

To understand better what I mean, you might want to read the following pdf:
click here for the pdf

My favorite part is when Seth pleads “exhaustion from remedies” when answering Justice Scalia.

“MR. WAXMAN: Well, Justice Scalia, you’re asking me to discard the Indian cases, and I’ve — I’ve mentioned to you the cases that the majority of Indians in Rasul relied on, the Earl of Crewe and Mwenya. I’ve given you the two statutes. I think at this point I have to plead exhaustion from remedies.”

But it gets better than this one moment, so I do recommend that you read the oral argument.

Of course, no matter who wins, it’s going to be bragging rights for Harvard either way. Seth Waxman graduated from Harvard College before going to Yale Law School.

I’m back

December 7th, 2007

After months of not blogging, I’m back!