Photograph by Kimberly Richards via Unsplash
Harry Kreisler: What led you to philosophy?
Stanley Cavell: Well, I could give you a cocktail answer to that, or I could say, “I’m still asking myself the question.”
Harry Kreisler: Right.
Stanley Cavell: One serious way to answer the question is to say that leaving music was the first enormous basic radical crisis in my life. I was bewildered by who I might be if I wasn’t a musician. And philosophy is, after all, a subject you might come to in a state of crisis. That’s one thing that happened to me, in finding philosophy…
Harry Kreisler: This is a silly question, but I’ll ask it anyway. What does a philosopher do?
Stanley Cavell: Of course, the serious answer to that is, they ask themselves that. Almost everybody has his or her own answer to that. All the great philosophers have their answer to it; it winds up in their text, that what they’re looking for is a definition of why their lives have been flattened or floored…
—Conversations with History: Stanley Cavell – YouTube / Conversation with Stanley Cavell, p. 3 of 6