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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

INTERIM RESPONSE TO COMMENTS

My two blog posts on the Peretz business at Harvard have prompted a very lively series of responses -- a few simply abusive, most very thoughtful. I have not yet replied because yesterday was a day from hell. I began the day in the dentist's chair, being told that I needed a root canal. On my way back into the dentist's office after some x-rays, I managed to step on and break my glasses. Between that appointment and the afternoon session in which the root canal was started, I hustled over to the oculist to get the glasses repaired. Somehow, my mind was not on the blogosphere.

However, it is a new day [if not, as Gwyneth Paltrow says in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, a new world], and I am catching up on all the comments. I received one very long, very sympathetic email that took me severely to task for a number of things I said, and if the sender agrees [I have asked], I will post it as a Guest Blog.

Let me, as a place holder, say just one thing [well, two, as I read this over] in response to some of the comments. My blog is, as I am sure you have noticed, very personal. People who want to see me in full objective academic mode can read one or another of the twenty-one books I have published. My two blog posts were a very powerful and personal reaction to a series of events that I found deeply troubling. Nevertheless, in everything I said in those two posts, the only one I actually regret saying was the gratuitous snipe at Anthony Appiah -- not at all called for. I apologize. [This is one of the things I was criticized for in that long email.]

Someone [I have been reading the comments very fast and don't have them in front of me now] made what I consider a very good point, one that lies behind much of what I said, namely that the public discourse in America is skewed and shackled by the unacceptability of talking openly and honestly about Israel and America's extraordinary fealty to its - rather than America's - national interest. That, and much more, was what was contained in my brief comment to the Crimson reporter -- a comment that triggered a quite heated series of comments on this blog.

Just think about this for a moment. Everyone who knows Peretz and knows THE NEW REPUBLIC is aware of the intensity of his commitment to a pro-Israel stance, one furthermore that identifies with the most right-wing strain of opinion in Israel. It takes no wit at all to see the connection between his views on Israel and his derogatory statements about Muslims. Here was a gathering of enormously knowledgeable and highly intelligent people who identify themselves as social theorists [the largest such gathering, I said, trying to make a little joke, since the Frankfort School held its last garden party], and yet, unless I am mistaken, I was the first person all day who uttered the word "Israel." Am I the only person who finds that more than a little significant?

3 comments:

David Sucher said...

No.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Of course you are not.

Sorry, Bob, I hate to correct people's spelling, and yet on this occasion I can't help myself, because it sounds (looks?) like nails on a chalkboard when you keep calling the Frankfurt School the "Frankfort" School.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

While we're here, why don't you, David Sucher, expand on your earlier comment about how the overrepresentation (relative to their share of the population) of Jews in American academia is due to "hard work" and "cultural characteristic[s]". Do you think that the underrepresentation of blacks (relative... etc.) is due to lack of hard work and cultural deficiencies? If not, how would you explain the difference between the representation of these ethnic groups? I look forward to hearing your sociological insights.