In memory of Stanley Cavell, a family friend of more than a half-century’s standing writes about his years in Berkeley (1944 to 1964), when he was deciding between music and philosophy as his field and then, eventually, joined the philosophy faculty as a lecturer. This guest column is a collage of diverse original sources—Randall’s poetry and memories, Cavell’s memoir Little Did I Know, and relevant passages in Wittgenstein and Augustine—that involve the interplay of events in Cavell’s personal life with the dissertation that in time became his first book, Must We Mean What We Say?. Randall considers Cavell’s influence on her own unique, perhaps insupportable, understanding of passages in all three of her eponymous authors—passages dealing with an infant’s acquisition of language and reflecting on Randall’s own relationship as a child with Cavell.

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