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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, February 13, 2011

TAKING A DEEP BREATH

Thank you all for the kind comments about the Marx tutorial. This is an entirely new form of teaching for me, and I still have not accustomed myself to the fact that there may be five hundred, or even many more, people "studying" with me -- vastly more than I ever taught in a classroom during my half century career.

While I have been deep in the details of Marx's labor Theory of Value, the world seems to have carried on quite nicely without me. Like everyone else on the planet, I have been following the extraordinary events in Egypt. One of the side-consequences that has fascinated me is that it the mainstream commentary now accepts and highlights the fact that for half a century America has been supporting dictators, against the interests and desires of the people over whom they tyrannize. This is hardly news, but it is not so often stated so clearly. Whether it will cause some people to rethink their attitude towards America's foreign policy remains to be seen, of course. I have also been interested to observe that despite the efforts of some commentators, the Egyptian eruption is simply not about Israel. Could a time come when America's foreign policy is not driven by Israel's imagined needs? One wonders.

And then we had the always enjoyable annual CPAC meeting [Conservative Political Action Committee, for my non-American readers.] The spectacle of Donald Trump announcing that Ron Paul cannot get elected was worth the price of admission. Can it be that the Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney and drive the Tea Partiers into a third party? I would be happy to see Romney nominated just so we could endlessly recycle the story about his family's trip to Maine during which he tied the family dog to the roof of their station wagon. [I am really not making this up.]

On to more serious matters. One commentator to the final Marx post expressed himself as looking forward to my next tutorial. I have not given any thought to doing another one. Each series is really a great deal of work, although that does not seem to deter me from repeatedly getting myself into yet another one. A faithful reader has privately expressed the desire that I undertake a series of posts on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, but that strikes me as guaranteed to drive away virtually everyone who has visited this blog.

At any rate, the sun is out, the temperature is rising here in the South, and we sun-lovers are crawling out of our burrows, sniffing the wind, and thinking about T-shirts and shorts. Wouldn't it be a hoot, as one commentator mused, if the entire Middle East turns into a home for democracy except for Iraq and Afghanistan, the two countries we invaded supposedly to bring them the blessings of the American political system?

7 comments:

Chris said...

Hume is another option ;)

GTChristie said...

I'm waiting for the Kant shoe to fall. But since I'm exhausted, I wouldn't blame you a bit for taking at least one deep breath before you do it. LOL.

Eggs Maledict said...

Anyone driven away by Kant is only punishing themselves. A series on Kant would be great.

Jim said...

Professor Wolff --

I too was surprised by the mainstream media commenting on the US support of authoritarian regimes. The most interesting shift in perspective is the mainstream media characterization of Mubarak. Prior to the popular uprisings, Mubarak was portrayed as a pillar of stability in a volatile and hostile region – as well as an important US ally. Viewed as a dignitary and respected foreign head of state, Mubarak was a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose program offering his “expert analysis” of events in the Middle East. Now, on that very same program, Charlie’s roundtable guests have been regularly pummeling the Egyptian despot with abandon. On ABC news, one correspondent referred to members of Mubarak’s cabinet as his “cronies”. The irony? (Can we call it irony?) Prior to the popular uprisings in Egypt, not one negative word had been uttered by the mainstream US media about Mubarak or his regime (or the US backing of it). Sad, but par for the course, I am afraid.

Jim said...

I read Kant when I was 16 several years ago and started studying philosophy afterwards. Go for it.

Also I read a footnote in a Bennett book? recently where he mentions your book on Kant. It was either Bennett or Strawson, and whichever one refers to your book as painstaking, so I'm definitely interested in reading.

Germain said...

Maybe you could start with Kant's moral philosophy from Groundwork For A Metaphysic of Morals?

Chris said...

Professor,
Were any of the imperialist extrapolations from Marxist economics of interest you? Suggest as the work on imperialism done by Lenin, Luxembourg, Bukharain, etc. I'm referring strictly to these individuals economic text over capitalist exploitation in foreign countries; not their individual careers as revolutionaries.