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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, December 28, 2009

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

Those of us who spend our lives reading, writing, and teaching philosophy are accustomed to the glacial pace at which the field moves. There are bursts of splendid activity -- fourth century B. C. Athens, seventeenth and eighteenth century Northern Europe -- but there are also stretches of five hundred years or more in which not much of note happens. I am reminded of the lovely passage in T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone in which Merlin turns Wart [the young Arthur] into a mountain so that he can get some sense of the perspective from which mountains experience change.

After a lifetime lived at this tortoise pace, the mayfly existence of a blog is unsettling. No sooner have I posted a comment than it disappears into cyberspace, and my blog cries out for new content. Today, the first of my seventy-seventh year, my blog will be devoted to recalling to mind some extended essays that I posted as long ago as last summer. Those of you who have been with me from the start will no doubt remember them, but there seem to be some folks who have joined us along the way, and this recollection is for them.

There are two lengthy texts that have been stored on a website provided by the University of Massachusetts, accessible from a link provided in this blog. Here they are:

First of all, the book length Memoir I wrote six years ago, in the month before my seventieth birthday, entitled A Harvard Education: A Memoir of the Fifties. You can access each chapter by clicking on the following links:

http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchapterone.pdf
http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchaptertwo.pdf
http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchapterthree.pdf
http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchapterfour.pdf
http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchapterfive.pdf
http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/memoirchaptersix.pdf

The second extended post laid out in detail my conception of the ideal liberal arts college. This is a fantasy I have indulged on and off over the years -- in a sense a footnote to my 1969 book The Ideal of the University. The entire multi-part essay can be found at:

http://people.umass.edu/rwolff/archiveidealuniversity.pdf

Finally, there is the eight part essay on South African higher education and the story of my founding of University Scholarships for South African Students. This is not archived, but can be found scattered among the August 2009 posts, which you can access by clicking on that date at the top left of this blog.

8 comments:

NotHobbes said...

Error 404-page not found.
I can`t access links :-(

Robert Paul Wolff said...

aaaarrrrgggghhh! I will try to find out what went wrong.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Apparently the original links are still operative, so either I did something wrong in copying them [quite possible], or else for some mysterious reason the old linkage doesn't work if I re-post it. Try going back to August or wherever and see whether you can access the material from there. Sorry about that.

NotHobbes said...

Read chapter 1 yesterday.
I also display medieval levels of courtesy when walking with my wife(I take the outside of pavement too) although the likelihood of anyone crying "Guardie Loo" seconds before emptying a bedpan from their second floor window onto either of us is remote to say the least.
Your Ms/Mrs Hickman must have been an intolerable old hag- I wonder if she was an acquaintance of that insurmountably stupid doctor?
Such a couple they would have made!
Hans Christian, eat your heart out

NotHobbes said...

Chapter 2
"Brains and hard work"..Love it :-)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Delighted you are enjoying the Memoir. I realize now, of course, that the terrible Miss Hickman must have been, at the time, all of forty-five or fifty, if that.

NotHobbes said...

Chapter 3
So many places I have visited too:Torino, Roma, Briancon, Amiens(My great great grandfather-a school master- is buried nearby at La Bossielle, one of tens of thousands to fall on the first day of the Somme) and of course Oxford, London and my beloved Edinburgh.
How I wish you had a photograph to post up from your motorcycling days...
Here`s hoping

NotHobbes said...

Chapter 4

Turning cartwheels, donning a kilt?

To quote General Bosquet at Balaclava "'C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre"

:-)