09 June 2005

M. Pakaluk, on Aristotle on Perception

To keep my renewed resolve to post everyday, I'm afraid that today I'll have to offer yet another 'chatty' post, since I was occupied for most of the day, with a commencement. My second son, Maximilian, was graduated today from Harvard, magna cum laude in philosophy, with a citation in Greek. (Yes, I have sons out of college. But I was married for the first time when I was 20 years old.) He wrote a senior honors thesis under Rafe Woolf, on Aristotle on perception (!). He also received a citation in Greek, since he took 6 courses in the language (all A's, until a B+ in a final semester course with Gisela Striker on Aristotle's Poetics. But even Homer nods).

Please know that I did nothing to steer him in this direction! (Well, almost. It's true that I tried to teach him Greek when he was about 10 years old, but we didn't get very far.)

My first son is a musician. Max wants to work for a couple of years before applying to graduate school in philosophy or political philosophy. My next son also talks of going on to graduate studies in philosophy...

(Will one of them --please!--become an investment banker and help support all the rest of us musicians and philosophers? Please? Or write a book on, say, accounting ethics at least.)

I look back with much gratitude over the last four years, thinking of the many times we met in Harvard Square to talk about, say, David Hume's philosophy, or J.L. Austin. Or the times we read closely through chapters of Nic. Eth. or De Anima. How many fathers can spend time in this way with their sons? It was very, very fine.


Anonymous said...


First of all, congratulations. No mean feat getting the next generation on the Right Road.
Now I think we know why you are really writing Accounting books: how many years in debt did getting Max through Harvard put you? Are you going to be reduced to writing more Russellian "potboilers" to stave off insolvency? Should we ask the APA to consider a benefit concert in December? Don't be too proud to ask for help.

Michael Pakaluk said...

Harvard, Princeton, and a few other reputed 'top' schools actually have extremely generous financial aid ('need blind', dwindling reliance on loans). It cost me almost nothing to send Max to Harvard.

The real drive for cash comes from (1) my wife and I not wanting to rely on income from her; and (2) my not wanting to impose by necessity on my family a monastic austerity which I personally would be quite happy with.

Michael Pakaluk said...


I should add: accounting ethics turns out to be inherently interesting, and it has some intellectual challenges as well (e.g. trying to figure out the Enron 'special purpose entities' or SPEs). Also, it is a strange but welcome feeling actually to write something that may, in concrete ways, lead to the betterment of society.