Charles Petersen

All articles by this author

Must We Mean What We Say?

Must We Mean What We Say?

On Stanley Cavell

This was Cavell’s response to logical positivism: to demand that we only speak about what is absolutely true and false, that about that which we cannot speak with certainty, we must be silent, is to demand that we not speak at all—or else that we lie to ourselves about the ambiguity inherent in even the most carefully defined language.

Lions in Winter

The New York Public Library has announced a plan to remake its landmark building on 42nd Street. As Joshua Steiner, vice chairman of the board of trustees, put it in 2008, the renovation in many way represents the “further democratization” of the library. By contrast, a staff member with whom I spoke called the plan “the destruction of the research library.”