Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Law Schools That Have No Curve  (Read 7975 times)

A.

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 15712
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2005, 11:46:13 PM »
Quote
"Anarchic" isn't a word often associated with the Ivy League. But it's how students, faculty, and even the immediate past dean describe Yale Law. And with good reason: The traditionally grueling first term is un-graded (and subsequent courses are graded on an honors, pass, low-pass, or fail basis), there are virtually no course requirements past first term, and professors are free to choose what they want to teach

Even if we acknowledge that grades do not serve as a benchmark of quality with clear meaning, they do operate as a powerful incentive. Students use grades to define themselves in positive or negative fashion, as in "I am a B student." Many faculty would assert that, without grades, students won't work.

Nowadays we read these studies confirming that grades are not necessary to motivate learning. But faculty members who have taught a pass/fail course in a school in which marks are given are likely to howl in disagreement. Their experience supports the theory that grades are necessary to motivate students: in pass/fail classes (or for students who elect a pass/fail option for an otherwise graded class) students simply do not work as hard as they do in graded courses.
 
Eliminating grades entirely would do much to create the conditions for encouraging different learning motivations. Law school structures do not tend to provide the types of flexibility and student control that would be conducive to this support, though. As a society we may have so firmly entrenched with the message that one learns only for reward, that encouraging learning for its own sake may indeed be quite difficult, in fact, impossible.

I don't understand your point.  Are you saying that Yalies do not work hard?  I know for a fact that they do.  Do they work as hard as people at, say, Chicago?  Probably not.  Does this mean that they learn less?  Not necessarily.

masacration

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • Email
The 'Superfluous' Nature of Hyperobjects
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2005, 07:06:26 AM »
Quote
At the age of eleven, he lectured to distinguished mathematicians on the subject of Four-Dimensional Bodies.

I read some time ago an interesting piece about 4-D bodies. Here it is:

The notions of 'hyperspace' and 'hyperobject' are handy concepts when it comes to trying to specify the relationship between 'transcendent' objects (eg, the Self), their 'qualities' (eg, the 'Spiritual Qualities' of the individual), and coming to understand how such qualities might manifest at the mundane level of reality in which we normally abide (eg, as 'characterological defects', around which 'personalities' form).

The word 'hyperspace' is a relative term. In using it one is simply referring to a reality that has more dimensions than the base-line reality with which one is primarily concerned. A three-dimensional space, for instance, is a 'hyperspace' for the flatlander caught in a two-dimensional existence. The term 'hyperspace' is basically just a scientific substitute for the religious notion of a 'transcendent reality', although it is useful because it specifies that it is by virtue of additional DIMENSIONS that such a reality transcends ordinary reality. And it also treats transcendence as a relative term. No space is 'absolutely' transcendent, only relatively so with respect to some other particular space.



The notion of a 'hyperobject' is similarly useful, particularly in the context of a discussion about the nature of symbols. A hyperobject is simply an object IN hyperspace - ie, an object with more dimensions than one can directly detect if one is a being in a lesser-dimensional reality. So for the two-dimensional flatlander, a three-dimensional cube is a 'hyperobject'. The flatlander cannot see it. Or perhaps we should say that the flatlander can't see ALL OF IT - as he can see it only AS a square. Or that he sees 'its reflection' in two-dimensional space, or its 'shadow', or a collapsed version of the object - a dumbed-down (or dimensioned-down) version. We might even call this version of the object a 're-presentation' of it - ie, a symbol.

As beings in three-dimensional space, we humans cannot directly preceive a four-dimensional 'hypercube'. But such a thing 'exists', and can be described, and we can talk about its 'qualities', even if we are not in a position to directly experience them. Scientists do it all the time. According to mathematicians, the figure to the left is what a four-dimensional 'hypercube' looks like in three dimensional space. In the same way in which a three-dimensional cube has six square faces, the four-dimensional hypercube is comprised of eight three-dimensional cubes, one of which is completely hidden from view (because each of its six sides interfaces with another cube that obscures our vision, no matter what angle we might try to look at it from).



masacration

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2005, 07:07:24 AM »
Double-crossed, Triple-Crossed

Leonard Shlain, in this book Art and Physics - Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, points out that the three-dimensional representation of the four-dimensional hypercube is the figure to which Christ is nailed in Salvadore Dali's CRUCIFIXION. Dali was aware of the mathematical meaning of the figure; indeed, the research that he did for the painting included contacting some well known authorities on these matters.





Because the reproduction that we are using here is so small, you will not be able to see the cross-like arrangement of checkerboard tiles in the two-dimensional floor below the Christ-figure. It looks like the illustration to the left, when seen head on. As Shlain points out, the cross made of tiles is the shadow that would be cast by Dali's 3-D cross if a light source were to shine directly down on it from above. It is, in other words, literally the shadow of the three-dimensional representation of the hypercube in two-dimensional space. As if to emphasize this fact, Dali tiled the floor in such a way that the COMPOSITION of that two-dimensional shadow-cross also mirrors the ARRANGEMENT of the eight cubes. The 2-D cross is comprised of five black tile-squares, with the one in the middle sharing all four of its sides with another square, just like the eighth cube in Dali's cross shares each of its six sides with one other cube and has no side that is not covered by another cube.

So the four-dimensional cube is reflected in a 3-D representation (on which the Christ-figured is nailed), and this 3-D object is reflected in a 2-D figure on the floor.

One can't actually see the 4-D hypercube in this painting. It is therefore 'transcendent' and 'secret', part of the 'innermost mandala' of the painting, as it were. Yet it appears in the depicted 3-D reality as this strange cross-like figure comprised of eight cubes, its re-presentation in this reality of one less dimension. In Dali's picture the cross has tremendous FIGURATIVE meaning, as it represents the x-y-z co-ordinate system in three-dimensional geometry, which provides the 'framework' that is the constant backdrop for the 3-D spacial reality in which we live as human beings. The cross thus symbolizes or 'stands for' this more abstract notion of a FRAME, and just as frames provide limits for that which they enclose, the object in this reality (the Christ figure) is pictured as literally pinned to the frame.

As the frame is a less-than-adequate container for the hyperobject that is being represented (the 'son of God' - who is also, by the way, a 3-D re-presentation of the 4-D 'Supreme Being'), this 'containing' will LITERALLY entail suffering, represented by the body of Christ in its typical on-cross pose. This type of suffering can only be transcended when the confines of the lesser reality are transcended - that is, in the 'death' of the three-dimensional body. Or, alternatively, it will be transcended insofar as the individual can somehow learn to straddle the interface between the 3-D reality and the 4-D reality, in a state that we might call 'enlightenment'. This alternative is represented, in the story of Christ, by the 'resurrection' - the return of the Christ to the 4-D reality, albeit in full 'bodily' form. Dali's CRUCIFIXION, in addition to being about death, is also, in other words, paradoxically a portrait of birth - the birth of the 4-D soul or spirit-body, as it were.

renvoi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2005, 10:30:50 PM »
Quote
As a society we may have so firmly entrenched with the message that one learns only for reward, that encouraging learning for its own sake may indeed be quite difficult, in fact, impossible.

But but maybe Yale will be the first school to show us that learning for its own sake IS possible. Other schools will then fellow.

brilliont

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2005, 10:17:20 PM »
Quote
But but maybe Yale will be the first school to show us that learning for its own sake IS possible. Other schools will then fellow.

LOL ;)

jaleweni

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2005, 08:17:58 PM »
1st tier schools have pretty relaxed curves and the competition is almost non-existant. Well, I guess another example of "Capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich"!

Bahamut

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 363
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Yale s Theoretical Bent
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2005, 03:10:18 AM »
Yale. You either get "Pass" or "Honors". And you could probably fail a class, but I doubt that happens very often. Realistically, anyone who gets into Yale is probably going to put forth some effort, but there isn't a whole lot of pressure to go nuts. I mean, even if you get all "Pass" scores, you still graduated from freakin' Yale Law. I'd guess that getting a lot of "Honors" would give the top Yale students priority for the super prestegious clerkships, like working for a Supreme Court justice. But really, as long as you graduate and pass the bar (as over 94% do- which is actually disturbingly low [it really should be 100% on the first attempt] in my opinion considering the outrageously high GPA and LSAT scores of their student body) you'll have an enormous advantage over the graduates from almost every other law school.


"Anarchic" isn't a word often associated with the Ivy League. But it's how students, faculty, and even the immediate past dean describe Yale Law. And with good reason: The traditionally grueling first term is un-graded (and subsequent courses are graded on an honors, pass, low-pass, or fail basis), there are virtually no course requirements past first term, and professors are free to choose what they want to teach. Current Dean Harold Koh, an international human-rights expert who served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, recently took a class to a screening of the legal thriller Runaway Jury , during which he loudly enumerated the film's many procedural errors.

High-minded. Classes at Yale are highly theoretical; this is not the place to look for the nuts and bolts of practice. "You're going to have to cram for six miserable weeks for the bar exam anyway, so why waste time preparing when you're in law school?" A recent contracts course included a long, spirited discussion over whether Pepsi could in theory be held liable for its TV commercial offering a Harrier Jet to customers who collected 7 million Pepsi points. At other schools, "I might spend time going over statutes," says Richard Brooks, an associate professor who teaches contracts. But this high-minded approach has its limits, students say. "Most people coming from Yale haven't spent time taking bankruptcy or even business organization, and you come to a big firm and it's a large part of what you do," says 2004 grad Matt Alsdorf, now an associate at a large New York firm. "It isn't a deficit you can't make up, but sometimes have to go to the library and take out a book on securities."

Too bad that the "sprited discussion" about the Pepsi commercial is not some kind of elite "theory" studied only at Yale - it's a simple hypo question...used in every law school.

Prestige whores and ignorant 0L's like to think otherwise, though.
SMU Fall '05

breckenridge

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2005, 04:24:02 AM »
Quote
Are you saying that Yalies do not work hard?  I know for a fact that they do.

Oh yeah?!
Ignorance of the law excuses no man ... from practicing it.

carpenoctem

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2005, 09:37:44 PM »
I believe that while there may be some benefits if law schools do not actually apply a curve, most law schools don't really have any alternative to it. I mean, the elite law schools can get away with it, but all the other ones would be doing a disservice to students if they did not have some way of doing class rank.
I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.

ccorsi

  • Guest
Re: Law Schools That Have No Curve
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2005, 09:43:52 PM »
I think the curve should be based on looks and athletic ability.  Didn't we flex enough intellectual muscle in getting accepted.

Just a thought.

C2