Saul Kripke’s Christmas List

Saul KripkeA post by Alex Berg from his early years. We must note that Saul Kripke is Jewish (his father was a Rabbi).

To all interested parties,

I1 would be happy to receive any of the following items2 as Christmas gifts:

  • A tweed jacket with leather elbow patches3
  • A new carrying case for my spectacles4
  • The Construction Of Social Reality, by John Searle5

Gifts which are not on this list will also be appreciated6, perhaps even more so.

Pleasant tidings to you all,


1My previous stances on the nature of the first person pronoun notwithstanding herein, I Physicsshall use it here to refer to “I,” Saul Kripke, the fellow writing “I,” as opposed to “I,” the reader who is reading this utterance of “I.” Inasmuch as this is the traditional usage of the pronoun, this ought not require further elucidation on my part herein. The matter was given extensive analysis in my January 2006 lecture entitled “The First Person.” Although at some point in the future a transcript of the content of the lecture may become available, I will not be penning any works on the matter myself.

2Of course, the “following items” are in name only, for if I already possessed the items enumerated below, then it would be foolhardy for me to ask for duplicates thereof for the holiday. Keep in mind as well, that I would like to receive the items which are rigidly designated by the linguistic constructions below. As amused as I would be unwrapping a near-perfect recreation of my christmas list, I will be just as disappointed, if not more so.

Math3Please see to it that the item purchased in response to this request is a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows made of leather. Despite the linguistic ambiguities present within, this statement does not refer to a tweed jacket with patches designed for leather elbows, nor does it refer to a tweed jacket with patches made from leather elbows, whatever a leather elbow may be. To my knowledge, these things can be referred to in name only, as they do not currently exist, but I would rather not have anybody go through the potentially grisly ordeal of constructing them on my behalf.

4The desired carrying case need not be custom-made for my spectacles. It need only be spacious enough to accommodate them, yet snug enough that they will not jostle within, scratching my prescription lenses. Should such a case be purchased, I will be overjoyed. However, I feel that such a purchase would be overkill (in the metaphoric sense of the term), and that I would not want for any of my family or acquaintances to feel it necessary to purchase such an elaborate gift to placate me.

5There is nothing John’s book could teach me that I a) don’t already know, or b) couldn’t learn on my own, but I told him at our last meeting that I would endeavor to acquire a copy, and this saves me the embarrassment of having to purchase it at the CUNY campus bookstore.

6Although not stated outright, it should be evident that I, the receiver of the gifts, will be the one doing the appreciating. Although other people might also appreciate receiving gifts which are not listed herein, their satistfaction is not the concern of this list. While I do wish all those who are not me the best of holiday seasons and good cheer, I would like to remind the reader to keep focused on the task at hand: my Christmas gifts.


Thanks to via Flickr for that great green chalk board shot.

Mirth in a  Box sells fun and unusual gifts and college care packages. May we suggest you visit cerebral craziness for gifts for your favorite geeks.

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