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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, April 1, 2013

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION AND AN HAUGHTY SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL PROVERBS 16:18

As I have several times mentioned, I have been working with the Society for Philosophy and Culture in Canada, and in particular with Michael Hemmingsen, a doctoral student at McMaster, to convert some of my books into e-books and make them available on Amazon.com and other sites.  I thought it might be a good idea to offer my early unpublished book, The Rhetoric of Deterrence, in that format, and yesterday I spent most of the day proofreading the text, correcting a number of typos, and in general getting it ready.   When I got past the first part of the book, which is not at all bad, I discovered to my dismay and embarrassment that the rest of it what I had written is really rather jejune and unimpressive.  Much humbled, I decided to cancel the project, and move on to other titles.  The principal problem is that when I wrote that book, in the summer of 1962, I knew very little about the formal development of Game Theory, and hence wrote a whole lot of stuff that I would not now want to put my name to.

The central idea of the book is, I think, correct, viz., that putatively value-neutral modes of formal argument in the social sciences often play an ideological role, covertly advancing substantive [and suspicious] policy proposals in the guise of rigorous objective analysis.  I have returned to this insight a number of times, in my critiques of Nozick and Rawls and in my reading of the central arguments of Marx.  But it would do me no credit and lend very little weight to that thesis to offer so unsatisfactory an exposition of it as I found in the second half of my long-forgotten manuscript.

Oh well,  sic transit gloria mundi.

1 comment:

Michael Llenos said...

Your book, The Rhetoric of Deterrence, is part of the history of 20th century philosophy. Readers, I believe, will find it interesting to read as a part of history, since you wrote it, even if readers can find anything somewhat contradictory in it that isn't appealing, which I doubt.

My advice is to add corrective notes to its introduction. That's what Isaac Asimov did for his Lucky Starr novels that I believe he originallly wrote in the 1950s. The knowledge on planetary sciences corrected his errors in the 1970s and 1980s, so for each later reprint of each novel, he wrote a brief correction in the beginning, with the confident advice that there still is great merit in reading each prose story.