No walk today. I got all suited up at 5:15 a.m., but it was 30 degrees outside and the high winds made it feel more like 15, so I turned around and came home. I figure eighty has its privileges.
Andrew, I am ashamed to admit that I have never given much thought to the hot issue of nominalism versus Platonism, despite the fact that when I was not yet eighteen I had studied with both Willard van Orman Quine and Nelson Goodman. I even constructed a little Calculus of Size along nominalist lines for my term paper in Goodman's course when I was a Freshman [got a B+ -- bummer], but it was all just a lark for me. My sights were set on bigger game: The Transcendental Unity of Apperception.
LFC, you are indeed correct that Sam Beer was in the Government Department, not the History Department as I said. I looked him up on Wikipedia and discovered to my astonishment that he passed away only four years ago, at the age of ninety-seven! Perhaps Billy Joel was wrong.
Michael, I never encountered either Julian Schwinger or Alan Dershowitz while I was at Harvard. My high school friend, Herb Winston, who went to Harvard a year before I [and told me to take Quine's Methods of Logic course] took Schwinger's advanced Quantum Mechanics course, despite being pre-med. Schwinger was quite upset when he found out that a pre-med was in his course. [In those days, pre-meds were considered pond scum by serious academics.] Herb said that when he went to the annual meeting of the American Physics Society, senior physicists clustered around and quizzed him on what Schwinger was lecturing on in his course. For reasons that need not be detailed, I am just as happy not to have met Dershowitz.
Finally, just a word on the exchange between Mesnenor and David Auerbach [to whom thanks are due for a recipe for pork cheeks.] I have always thought of myself as striving to express the insights of the non-analytic philosophers about politics and other matters in a fashion that was consistent with the methodological strictures of Analytic Philosophy, but not necessarily constrained by the prejudices and blindness of Analytic Philosophers.
Now that I am caught up, I can go back to packing for our trip to Paris on Monday, while also practicing the viola part to K424 -- which turns out to be even harder than K423.