24 September 2008
Carnap in Two Colors
Around 4pm I started to hear voices outside my door. The Carnap reading group was about to begin. Erik had initiated it with an email inviting anyone interested to join him in reading some of Carnap's later books and papers and several papers of Howard Stein's. The topic of this first meeting was Carnap's 1942, Introduction to Semantics.
When I left the office a little later, I passed our lounge and there was Erik, Flavia and Steve Awodey from CMU settling down to business.
Erik was at the whiteboard, pen in hand. I ducked in quickly to turn off the coffee pot, noting that everyone had brought their own Starbuck's-made coffee with them. I had brewed a pot earlier and, if you don't turn it off when you leave, it boils down to a black syrup that then explodes over the wall and ceiling. More than once, I've had to clean up the mess hastily before anyone arrives in the office and discovers my negligence.
The following morning I gratified to find no exploded coffee debris, but that the whiteboard was covered with Carnap minutiae in two colors. Carnap, whose pension for shorthand in his own private color- coding is legend, would surely approve.
John D. Norton