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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, April 21, 2013

BACK IN THE SADDLE

I have been away from cyberspace for several days participating in the Duke conference I mentioned earlier -- the annual two-day affair put on by the Political Theory Working group, an interdisciplinary assemblage of faculty and graduate students interested in political theory in the broadest acceptation.  This year's conference theme was "Community and Emergent Order in Non-State Spaces."  It will give you some idea of the breadth of topics included if I tell you that the first speaker, Paul Cantor, started us off with a discourse on zombies and aliens in contemporary TV.  David Friedman followed with a talk on "Vinge, Heimlein, the Sagas, and Me:  Stateless and Semi-Stateless Societies in Fiction and Semi-Fiction" which featured a rousing extended blow-by-blow summary of his first novel, Harald.  The next morning, Kim Stanley Robinson treated us to a fascinating description of the two months he spent in Antarctica, a non-state space if there ever is one, followed by the most conventional of the talks, Steven Vincent's elegant discourse on nineteenth century French radical thought.

What, you might ask, could I possibly add to this array?  Good question, one that I have been pestering myself with ever since I was invited.  As the oldest person there, I allowed myself the out of reminiscing and talking to the young people about how to be political until they are as old as I am, and generally telling funny stories [at least I hope they were funny.]

It was a blast, withal, and nicely arranged and managed by Rebecca Evans, a graduate student, but once again I was made aware how really out of touch I am with popular culture.  I mean, I don't get the whole undead thing.

It was all made a bit weird by the fact that while we were meeting, every law enforcement official north of the Mason-Dixon line was hunting for the second Boston Marathon bomber.

I really must get out more.

3 comments:

David Friedman said...

I also enjoyed the conference, and found it interesting to note what were the point on which a "right wing" (propertarian) and "left wing" (communitarian) anarchist agreed and disagreed. For my comments see my recent blog post on the subject:

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2013/04/which-side-are-you-on-robert-wolff.html

A recording of my talk is also webbed, for those who are interested:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/MyTalks/Vinge.mp3

I don't know if any of the other talks have been webbed, although I think I noticed someone video recording Wolff's.

James Camien McGuiggan said...

For what it's worth, I'm young and don't understand the zombie thing either.

wallyverr said...

The David Friedman blog post itself is worth a read, though I admit a longstanding soft spot for him; his "Price Theory" has a valued place on my bookshelf alongside the related books of his father, McCloskey, Stigler, Becker and Sam Bowles: microeconomics textbooks which rise above the usual tedium of the genre. I don't think he gets RPW right, but the post has some interesting parallels to Hirschman's rhetoric of reaction and progressivism.

But the comments attached to Friedman's post quickly degenerate into looney tunes: irrelevant tangents, personal abuse, narcissism of small differences, and other forms of trollery. How very different from the home life of your own dear blog. (This last sentence is not meant ironically, despite being written in England.)