Thursday, September 22, 2022

Watching lawyers examining the 11th Circuit decision, picking apart Cannon's, is watching the picking part of form, in the same sense that lawyers praised the DOJ briefs as well crafted.

Leiter links to a 1977 article in the NYT about Kripke.

When Saul Kripke was 3 years old, he walked into the kitchen of his home in Omaha, Neb., and asked his mother if God is truly everywhere. Dorothy Kripke said yes, whereupon the child asked if this meant he had squeezed part of God out of the kitchen by corning in and taking up some of His space. “I Was startled that Saul already seemed to have an intuitive grasp of the notion that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time,” recalls Mrs. Kripke. “I found that a sharp question for a 3‐year old “

The Kripke parents soon discovered signs that their son was more than sharp. He was, in fact, possessed of an awesome gift. “It really began to dawn on me when Saul was in the fourth grade,” says his father, Rabbi Myer Kripke. “He came in one day with some numbers he had been playing with. He showed me two numbers. He had multiplied their sum by the difference between them, and he got the same answer as he did when he subtracted the square of the smaller one from the square of the larger one. He said that would be true of any two numbers. For a long time I didn't understand what he was saying, but then I realized that he was expressing something I knew from algebra: That (a + b)(a ‐ b) = a? ‐ b? I was excited but also a little frightened. He had no concept of algebra at that time, and he knew nothing of algebraic notation. He had just seen the idea. By the sixth or seventh grade he had gone through most of algebra that way.” Says Mrs. Kripke: “Saul once told me he would have invented algebra if it hadn't already been invented, because he came upon it naturally.”

Graeber used to tell this story, though I never knew the source, and David used to invent things so I never knew if it was true. But he simplified it, and improved it. But it was the father not the mother. "Daddy, where's God?" "Saul, God is everywhere". "If God is everywhere, why doesn't he displace something?" 

Kripke was a pure scholastic, a pure formalist. He would be at home and would lead in any debate about angels and pinheads: formal logic predicated on assumed foundations: angels or can openers  The question is the relation of his brilliance to historical importance. Form and representation are distinct and inseparable; that's where it gets tough.

David said that the history of Chinese scroll painting was the history of copies, because the originals were never valued and were lost, so that the art was always of the present. That was his fantasy. I'd call it a lie, but he was lying to himself.

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