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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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




Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ANTICIPATIONS

I have decided to begin a series of "Appreciations" of selected texts when I return home, where my books are [save, of course, for my complete set of the works of Marx and Engels in German, and my collected books on the philosophy of Kant, both of which grace my shelves here in Paris, together with one copy each of every edition and translation of every book I have published -- roughly seventy volumes in all]. I think I will start with Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments. The brief Preface to that short work is, page for page, my favorite work of philosophy in the entire Western corpus. I cannot read the last lines of it without tears coming to my eyes. I shall try to do Appreciations of all of the titles listed recently on this blog, and then perhaps some others besides. We shall see. The aim is not to produce scholarly discussions of the texts -- in many instances, I am utterly unfit to attempt such a thing -- but rather to encourage my readers to explore these works for themselves.

It was my older son, Patrick, the famous International Chess Grandmaster, who first suggested that I try my hand at a blog. It was an inspired suggestion. I have found the perfect format in which to continue my lifelong career as a teacher, while in retirement [or "en retrait," as the French say, which is to say, "In retreat"!]

15 comments:

High Arka said...

Could you try "1984" as a warm up? It's quite brief, and arguably as philosophical as anything else on your list as yet.

Jim said...

Professor Wolff –

Another commenter on this blog asked about your take on David Harvey. I am also curious as to what your assessment is of his work. He has made his lectures on Marx’s Capital available online. They can be accessed here: http://davidharvey.org/

I recently saw Harvey speak at the University of Pennsylvania and found him quite interesting. Also, I was wondering if you had ever read anything by the sociologist Alvin Gouldner. I am increasingly finding his books interesting, particularly The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology (1976). Any thoughts?

-- Jim

Adam said...

Is there a particular translation of Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments which you would recommend?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

The David Swenson, I think it is. But of course I do not know a word of Danish!

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I will try to take a look at the Harvey lectures when I get home. I vaguely recall having looked at something by Gouldner, but I cannot rememebr what it was. There is so much I have never even tried to read!

Don Schneier said...

One of the virtues of this format is its capacity to publicly share 'philosophy' as a daily regimen of ongoing expressive creativity, rather than as a determinate doctrine, a contrived dialogue, or a moment of private revelation, some of its more common guises.

High Arka said...

Yeah, without the internet you can't do that!

Michael said...

I can't wait. I haven't read Fragments in a while. This will give me a reason to pick it back up.

Regarding translations, I generally prefer the Howard and Edna Hong editions that Princeton has published since the 1980s. They're a bit more faithful to the text than the Walter Lowrie/David Swenson versions. (Howard Hong did finish up a translation of Concluding Unscientific Postscript that I think Swenson started, but didn't finish before he passed away.)

For my money, the best Kierkegaard translator is Alistair Hannay, but he hasn't done Fragments (yet -- I hope he does).

Robert Paul Wolff said...

When you say "more faithful," can you give me an example? As I said, I am totally at the mercy of the translators on this one.

High Arka said...

Is the purpose of philosophy to learn a set of arcane references that make one appear intelligent, and argue about minutiae appurtenant thereto, or is it to search for ways to improve the human condition?

James said...

If we're talking about Kierkegaard, then ways to examine, not necessarily improve, the human condition should be the goal of philosophy.

The Princeton text by the Hongs are possibly the best translation for academia. The English used in the recently published Oxford text might be more accessible for lay readers. The online Swenson text might be best for cheapo readers ;)

High Arka said...

James, the problem here comes that there is not even an examination of the "human condition," per se; rather, it is an examination of what various philosophers wrote years ago. Which has some merits, if knowledge well-used, but that isn't even being done, here.

Michael said...

I'm currently away from home for the holidays and then the APA East meeting. Once I get back, I'll find something to back up my "more faithful" claim.

Michael said...

Hi, so I'm not the Michael above, but until he has a chance to put together his comments, I thought I'd recommend an essay by Jonathan Ree and Jane Chamberlin, which (if the link works) can be found here: http://books.google.com/books?id=mnur-fzvhSsC&lpg=PA408&dq=jonathan%20ree&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

Michael said...

Hi, so I'm not the Michael above, but until he has a chance to put together his comments, I thought I'd recommend an essay by Jonathan Ree and Jane Chamberlin, which (if the link works) can be found here: http://books.google.com/books?id=mnur-fzvhSsC&lpg=PA408&dq=jonathan%20ree&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false