I went back last night & re-read all the remarks in the 70s & was struck by the example of the leaves. It is a problem I have posed to my own students when talking about Plato. In the fall, shortly after coming to Clarkson, I found myself walking with my old dog Mingo by the river & thinking about how to teach Plato's Euthyphro. I've long been troubled by the tendency of Idealism to erase the actual world. I'm something of an empiricist at heart, always have loved science . . . . So W's illustration of the leaves caught me more forcefully than that of the blurred picture. You could digitalize a million leaves of all kinds & program a computer to scan the outlines of all of them & produce a general figure. (I'd guess that you'd arrive at something vaguely ovoid.) But what would you know after such an exercise?


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