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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Friday, June 1, 2012

PROGRESS REPORT

My new project is moving along nicely, complex though it is.  I obtained a database of the incoming class of 2016, and have now chosen the sixty students who will participate in the Pilot Project.  One of the oddities of academic record keeping, with which I am fortunately familiar from my UMass days, is that several of the young women have High School GPAs higher than 4.0.  How is this possible, you might ask.  It seems that when colleges calculate GPAs, they add a point to the grades in Advanced Placement courses, so an A in AP Math, for example, is factored into the GPA as a 5, not a 4.

This, I discovered when I was running a program for minority students from Springfield, MA, has the unfortunate consequence of systematically disadvantaging students at "majority minority" high schools, where AP courses are less often offered.  Thus, no matter how talented and motivated a young Black or Latino student at such a school may be, he or she has very little opportunity to rack up a stellar GPA.

As I observed in my Autobiography [Volume Three], this is only one of the many hidden ways in which minority students are structurally discriminated against.  In general, I have found, senior administrators are quite ignorant of such details  -- their pay grade is too high for them to trouble themselves with the minutiae of day-to-day data assemblage.  They just read the executive summaries and look at the pie charts.

I am aware that I have not been blogging much lately.  My mind is entirely taken up with this new project.  Not only is it very much harder to change the world than merely to think about it;  changing the world even a little bit is also a great deal more absorbing.  Exactly how I design this program will have a real effect on the lives of the sixty students and ten faculty who participate in it, whereas what I think about Syria or the Unemployment Rate or even the recall of Governor Walker is entirely epiphenomenal.

Needless to say, I was greatly cheered by the Appellate Court judgment that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, although my son, who is vastly knowledgerable about such things, tell me it is a complex and not entirely positive decision.  [He was quoted to this effect in a NY TIMES story yesterday.  Can you imagine the pride I feel when I reflect that I once read the entire three volumes of The Lord of the Rings to this brilliant, handsome, accomplished man?]

1 comment:

Debbylee said...

Epiphenomenal indeed. Always reminded of my days In senior seminar when I greedily took down all of your words during discussions. Still so enjoying your blog even if I have little time to comment. The new gig sounds really wonderful. How lucky they are to have you. My own children, a freshman and junior in high school suffer the challenges of an somewhat underachieving school system and less than optimum financial contributions from a single mom. Although highly intelligent, I am not sure how my son will fare in the rigorous challenge to achieve collegiate greatness next year. My daughter has a four year plan and will no doubt succeed in her future endeavours. Too bad about the defense of marriage act...I am always ever hopeful of steps towards equality for all. Love your comment about reading to your now grown son...that also delights me,that we pored through so many texts together back in the day. All the best to you.