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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, June 20, 2013

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

There are three pending matters that concerned citizens are anxiously keeping track of both in the United States and among the ex-pat community here in Paris:  Will the Heat win Game Seven?  Can the Red Sox hang onto their one and a half game lead and consign the hated Yankees to baseball hell?  And will the Supreme Court today rule on four vitally important cases:  Prop 8, DOMA, the Voting Rights Act, and Affirmative Action?

I leave it to those with deeper minds than mine to decide which of these is the most important.

4 comments:

levinebar said...

quite off the topic (since I can't share in your culinary adventures).
I'm rereading Locke's second treatise for the first time in 35 yrs and I can't figure out how our Founding Fathers squared him with their slaveholding.
Locke blandly acknowledges that slavery can exist (85) "captives taken in a just war" goes on (116) "...whatever engagement or promises one has made for himself, he is under the obligation of them but cannot by any compact whatsoever bind his children or posterity".
Surely lakes of ink and oceans of blood have been spilt over this in the last three centuries. But not knowing how to access the literature (ask me rather who to unpack the intellectual history of chemistry and I'm on familiar turf!) I impose on your good nature.
Barry

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Needless to say, this is an enormous subject and as it happens I am quite unfamiliar with the literature on it! But the colonials had a major problem, namely that there was in English Common Law no recognition of anything like hereditary chattel slavery. Hence, they were forced, in complex ad hoc ways, to make a space for the institution of slavery, which was essential to their economic exploitation of the continent. See a magnificent book, SOUTHERN SLAVERY AND THE LAW. Notice, by the way, that when Locke presents his argument justifying private property as grounded in mixing one's labor with the commons, he argues that the fruits of my "servant's" labor belong to me, not to the servant, because his labor belongs to me, inasmuch as I have purchased it by paying wages. Recall also that "servant," "servile," and "slave" have all roughly the same meaning.

The distinctively American institution of hereditary chattel slavery could never be made logically compatible with any of the ideological presuppositions of American democracy

Nick said...

Two quick comments: first, Locke actually owned stock in two slave-trading companies (the Royal Africa Company and the Bahama Adventurers) so Locke himself apparently squared his writings with the slave trade. Second, Ta-nehisi Coates had a blog post about this a while go. You can find it here.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I had forgotten that fact about Locke, which I think I once knew. I will take a look at the link. Thanks.