Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Sunday, July 19, 2009

TO SEE OURSELVES AS OTHERS SEE US

A little while ago, while I was working on a serious comment on Sotomayor and racism in America [which I hope to post later today], I received an email message from my Icelandic philosopher friend Pall Skulason, who was the subject of an early post in 2007. Susie and I saw Pall and his wife, Ardur, in Paris when we were there last May. Pall attached to his email two pictures he said he had taken at that time. When I opened the attachments, I saw two very similar shots of Pall standing next to an old Jewish man who was seated at a computer. Both of them were looking at the computer screen. I thought to myself, "That's odd. Why would Pall send me these two pictures, rather than pictures of Susie or me." [I am being serious here, so I will thank the peanut gallery to withhold its sniggers]. I took a second look at the pictures, and managed to identify the old Jewish man by the shirt he was wearing. It was I.

I have long since become resigned to the fact that I am not anything like as handsome as I think I am [a fact that is reconfirmed each time I glance at my reflection in a shop window], but I really did think that I had managed somehow not to look my age. Not even in my fantasy life do I look like the mature Paul Newman or Robert Redford, but I was sort of holding out for Spencer Tracy or Karl Malden. Alas, it is not to be.

I think I understand now why the character Woody Allen plays in his movies always ends up taking a gorgeous woman to bed. I used to think that was his way of commenting ironically on his utter weeniness, but maybe he just thinks he looks like Bernie Schwartz [which is to say, for those who have forgotten, Tony Curtis.]

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