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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Thursday, October 11, 2012

A FITTING TRIBUTE

Regular readers may recall that on August 17th last, I posted a tribute to an old friend, Hugo A. Bedau, who passed away at the age of 85.  Like many scholars of an earlier era, Hugo amassed over the years a number of complete runs of philosophy journals in his fields of interest.  His widow, Constance Putnam, a scholar in her own right, has now very generously donated Hugo's complete library of philosophy journals to Bennett College.  On Tuesday, I took the last set of boxes out to Greensboro and transferred them to the Bennett College library.  Young people being what they are, I have no idea how many of them will actually consult a physical journal, as opposed to finding an article on-line, but I like to think that now and then, a young woman interested in ethical theory or political philosophy will go to the library and find there Hugo's journals, which she can pick up, hold in her hand, and page through in the old way. 

I have very powerful sensory associations with specific books and journals.  The Journal of Philosophy feels and smells very different from Mind, and neither of them is quite like Ethics, which always seemed to me physically pedestrian [even though I did publish in it at least once, if memory serves.]  One of my favorite physical books is my stubby black copy of Hume's Treatise, edited by Selby-Bigge.  The row of Oxford University Press translations of the works of Aristotle, sitting high on my shelves here in my study, breathes of England.

All of this is hideously retro, I know.  I am sure there were many late Renaissance monks, fingers stained from the ink of their endless copying chores, who looked askance at printing presses.  But then, there must have been reflective Neanderthals who scoffed at the new-fangled bows and arrows of their high-domed, gracile Cro Magnon neighbors.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Professor Wolff –

I know exactly what you mean regarding the sensory experience of books and journals. Although journals and books often go through re-design and new editions over the years, specific editions hold a great deal of sentimental value for me. During the 80s, the journal "New German Critique" had a heavy paperback binding with a raised pattern that not only was pleasing to the touch but set it apart aesthetically from most other journals. For some time, the journal "Daedalus" also exhibited similar characteristics. Recently, I was leafing through some physical copies of the "New York Review of Books" from the 60s. The wonderful thing about that is you get to see the ads that were run at the time of the article or essay in question – an experience lost to those who obtain the article electronically.

-- Jim

Delrisha White said...

I am the current President of the student body at Bennett College and I am glad to hear of your donations. I will be sure to tell others of them, and I look forward to reading the journal entries as well!

Thank you so much for thinking of us!

- Delrisha White

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Delrisha, Wonderful to hear from you. I am currently the Director of the new Willa B. Player Scholars Program at Bennett. I shall be on campus this afternoon. We need to meet!!! My office is in Shell B.