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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WHAT AM I READING?

I have just started reading two books.  The first is a new edition of David Schweickart's 2001 book, After Capitalism.  I knew Dave way back when he published his first book, Capitalism or Worker Control,  a terrific book from which I learned a great deal.  One of you suggested I read this one, and then my sister did also.  Well, when my sister says "Read a book," I pay attention.  I will let you know what I think as I work my way through it.

The second book is Working Knowledge:  The Making of the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn, by Joel Isaac.  Professor Isaac is, it turns out, a reader of this blog, and was kind enough to send me a copy, which I am now starting to read.  This book is, for me, a rather odd experience, because Isaac is talking in a systematic, very knowledgeable way about a time and place [Harvard in the fifties and sixties] that I lived through.  I knew some of the people he writes about, and was there when the books he discusses were published.  Somehow, that world sounds very different when described in this scholarly way than it seemed when I was there.  I think that must be true of every period and any person situated in the middle of it.  I am just now reading the long Prologue, so I have a good way to go.

I think I mentioned that I read Turing's Cathedral by George Dyson.  I actually read it before the New York Review of Books and the NY TIMES Book Review Sunday Section reviewed it, and I must say the reviewers seem to have read a different book from the one I read, judging by what they had to say.

Meanwhile, I am "vamping 'til ready," to use an old musical phrase, waiting for the meeting this Friday.

2 comments:

David Auerbach said...

Well, the review in the NYTimes is safely ignored, since it manages to misstate the technical results and to make up some history. It is very irritating, since the Times could easily have found someone with the technical competence to review the book. Or else someone who wouldn't pretend to said competence.
BUT, I'm curious about the disjunction between the book you read and the book reviewed in the New York Review. (I haven't read the book.)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Briefly, I found the book virtually opaque on the technical stuff, and filled with endless odd digressions that distracted from the story line. The NY Review seemed to think it was a brilliant piece of work. I had one very small but important bone to pick with the book: Although it went into endless detail about the private lives and eventual fates of very minor characters, the godawful, shameful treatment of Turing, who is, after all, the person who is supposedely the central character, was relegated to a laconic paragraph at the end of the final chapter. I found that deeply offensive.