Foulkstown Ballinure Thurles Co. Tipperary Eire tel/fax 353 52 31604
23 June 96
In phoning I feared the news that I got. But that has not made it one bit less devastating. I only met Tom I think three times. Though we went to the same school, Solebury, we missed one another by two years. So I can’t say that it is a close personal friend I have lost. Our contact was in letters, starting with the gracious and generous letter he wrote in response to a piece ‘On Misunderstanding Science’ that I had sent him. That was the kind of letter that anyone would be forever grateful for. It gave me the sense that I had reached out and touched and even grasped the thought of another, another whom I admired and whose thought I found important.
For many of us Tom in his Structure had opened a door wide and let in fresh air and concrete examples thought through concretely with a real sense of history to displace the stale wheezings of the traditional discussions of the philosophy of science. Those arguments turned always in the same circles. Naturally, that stale air has somehow seeped back in. As Wittgenstein has said, the ‘sickness of a time’ is not to be cured by the medicine invented by one man. But his work has been a start, and I like to think that I am trying to continue his style of replacing the choreographing of abstractions by concrete thought. Maybe that is why I shall miss him so much - as a fellow worker. We needed him. The times needed him.
I’d like to give thanks for him. But not being a believer, I have nowhere to send them. Can I send them to you?