S ome time ago, but well after Erving Goman had died in 1982, I was seated at dinner at the University of Oxford beside one of that institution’s most distinguished philosophers. We had very little in common, save for a need to redeem the accident of the evening’s misplacement. In the search for something to say to one another, we very quickly came to Goman, whereupon he told me the story of a similarly awkward evening he had once spent with the great but inscrutable American sociologist.