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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

THE CURSE OF THE BLOGGER

I wrote IN DEFENSE OF ANARCHISM in 1965, and finally published it in 1970, forty years ago. And yet, people still read it, comment on it, explain at length why it is all wrong, assign it to students in college courses, even -- or so I gather from a Canadian correspondent -- try to put some of its proposals into practice. But in the world of the blog, four hours ago is old news, and yesterday is forgotten. The insatiable maw of the world wide web gobbles up even one's most carefully thought through posts and spits them out again barely half-digested.

Today is a new day with a blank screen, and I have nothing to say! Oh, I could comment on the latest wingnut hysterical alarm, which is that President Obama wants to give Manhattan Island back to the Indians. [Why he would want to do this, when it can be counted on to give him an overwhelming vote in 2012, I do not quite understand.] Or I could snark about the fact that the newly elected Republican Congressman who whined about having to wait thirty days for his cadillac Congressional health plan to kick in has apparently been so great an embarrassment to his colleagues that they have denied him a seat on the Committee overseeing health care. I might even pause to note that in a recent poll, only Massachusetts residents have a more unfavorable opinion of Sarah Palin than the people of her very own Alaska.

But those are cheap shots, hardly worthy of a deep thinker like myself. So I must content myself with wishing you all happy holidays one more time, and hope that the muse will visit me tomorrow.

5 comments:

Chris said...

Alright, how about this professor; merging two of your recent blog post into a new blog?

You mentioned the long standing success of your popular book In Defense of Anarchism - a person favorite of mine. And your habit of speed: "I do everything fast, and hence, of course, sometimes sloppily. I write books quickly, as readers of my Memoir will know, but I am a sloppy scholar. Indeed, I am really no sort of scholar at all. As soon as I have seized the central idea of my narrative, I am ready to write. "

However, your preface to In Defense of Anarchism makes it seem as if you grappled with the problem of state authority, and individual morality, for some time. At least over a semester of brooding.

Is there a chance that that particular book was not rushed, but contemplated, and brooded over for some time, thus perhaps leading to its remarkable success?
Or, like your usual habit, was hastily written?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

As I have reported in my Autobiography, that little book actually took shape in my mind over several years. When I came to write, I had long since sorted out what I thought, so the writing took only two or three weeks. I work in my head, day-dreaming all the time about ideas and such, untl I am ready to write. I have always said that the success of that book was a consequence of the fact that it is so short, but seriously speaking, I think it articulates a very pure, uncompromising position with absolutely no footnotes, scholarly references to secondary literature, and such like impedimenta. It is, in an odd way, like a cry from the heart.

Brenda said...

If you can stand any more about Peretz, I refer you to
http://nymag.com/print/?/news/features/70310/.
By the way, I'm 3 months older than you, so Happy Birthday, but cease and desist with the remarks about your age. They make me feel much older than I actually do.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Sorry about that. No more comments about age. I was actually interviewed for the NY Magazine article, and am referred to in it but not quoted. I was also interviewed for a forthcoming profile of Peretz for the NY TIMES Magazine Section. I think I have just about had it with Peretz shtick. he is a sad, complicated, despicable man.

Chris said...

On a related note, glad anarchist make the press sometimes - in a not so negative light.