By Stanley Cavell

This paintings is an advent to the lifetime of philosophy within the usa, as Emerson as soon as lived it, in all its topographical ambiguity.

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To do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. . Independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.... But the man is as it were clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy or by the hatred of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account.

14 A PITCH OF PHILOSOPHY The text is one likely to come up in anyone's reading ofWittgenstein's Investigations (§ 217): "If I have exhausted the justifications [for my following a rule the way I do, for speaking as I do] I have reached bedrock, and my spade is turned. ')) The standing controversy about this passage turns on whether it is to be taken as Wittgenstein's confession that he has no non-skeptical solution to the possibility of the privacy of language; or whether it is perhaps an indication that a pragmatist account of "what I do" is Wittgenstein's non-skeptical explanation of our sharing of language; or-let's hope-in some further way.

Apropos'' was my father's favorite high-class term for this requirement. Another of his touchstone stories-one of the ones whose lines would be woven into family exchanges-is itself about pertinence, dealing with matters of vocation or trade and tact or pitch. I set it down here for future reference. A modest congregation in a small town required a cantor for the approaching high holidays and in the month preceding invited applicants with good recommendations to conduct Friday night services as, so to speak, auditions.

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