May 5th, 2008


portraits from memory

        My Debt to German Learning
    My first serious contact with the German learned world consisted in the reading of Kant, whom, while a student, I viewed with awed respect. Collapse )

        Portrait from Memory
    Presenter: This is the BBC Third Programme. We have in the studio Bertrand Russell, who talks to us in the series, “Sense, Perception, & Nonsense, Number Seven: Is this a dagger I see before me?”
    Bertrand Russell: One of the advantages of living in Great Court, Trinity, I seem to recall, was the fact that one could pop across at any time of the day or night and trap the then young G.E. Moore into a logical falsehood by means of a cunning semantic subterfuge. I recall one occasion with particular vividness. I had popped across and had knocked upon his door. “Come in”, he said. I decided to wait awhile in order to test the validity of his proposition. “Come in”, he said once again. “Very well”, I replied, “if that is in fact truly what you wish”.
    I opened the door accordingly and went in, and there was Moore seated by the fire with a basket upon his knees. “Moore”, I said, “do you have any apples in that basket?” “No”, he replied, and smiled seraphically, as was his wont. I decided to try a different logical tack. “Moore”, I said, “do you then have some apples in that basket?” “No”, he replied, leaving me in a logical cleft stick from which I had but one way out. “Moore”, I said, “do you then have apples in that basket?” “Yes”, he replied. And from that day forth, we remained the very closest of friends.”
    — Jonathan Miller, Beyond the Fringe, 1962