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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: How do you contribute?

Alan Dershowitz: Well I think an academic’s legacy is generally going to be in his or her writing. I’ve just finished my 25th book, and I would say half of them have a potential for enduring and having an impact on the future.

I have at least one more big book I want to write about the preventive state which brings this all together, and finally constructs a jurisprudence which can be used to deal with this increasing and growing phenomenon.

So if I want to be remembered for anything, it’s probably that I observed phenomenon that were very important that others hadn’t focused on, and tried to construct a jurisprudence to make these phenomenon subject to the rule of law. Nothing’s more important in democracy than the rule of law, and having black holes in the law, like [the US base at] Guantanamo [Bay, Cuba]; like the way the mentally ill were treated; like the way affirmative action operated for many years; like the way the Internet regulation currently operates in the free speech context; like the way we gather preventive intelligence. These are all black holes in the law, and the law should abhor a vacuum.

And I’m trying to fill that vacuum with at least a preliminary jurisprudence that will become refined over time.


Recorded On: June 12, 2007


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