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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, July 19, 2013

TU QUOQUE


In my previous post, I invoked the well-known slogan of Marshal Mcluhan, "The medium is the message," by which I understand him to have meant that the form of a communication ["the medium"] so constrains and dominates the communication ["the message"] that it comes virtually to be the message communicated.  After putting up that post, whose purpose it was to explain my reaction to televised discussions of the Trayvon Martin case, I reflected that it was also quite apposite to my experience as a blogger.

I took to blogging, at the suggestion of my son, Patrick, when the prospect of retirement loomed frighteningly before me.  It is not for me a natural form of writing, anymore than is Face Book or YouTube or Twitter.  In April 2010, I thought I had found a way of bending the blog to my natural inclinations.  I began a lengthy autobiography, posted seriatim.  When I had brought that to conclusion [by writing the story of my life up to the moment in which I was writing it], I was loath to give up the genre of the extended essay, and launched a series of tutorials, mini-tutorials, and "appreciations" on a very wide range of subjects.  By April 2012, the autobiography and tutorials together had run to more than 400,000 words, the equivalent of three good sized books [or eight doctoral dissertations!] 

But even the most indefatigable of writers run out of themes sooner or later [leaving to one side such phenomena as Georges Simenon and Agatha Christie], and the form of the blog has defeated me.  I have been reduced to comments on the passing scene and navel gazing musings like this one.  One might have expected that having had my say, I would simply fall silent, but having told my name the live long day to an admiring blog, I am compelled to continue.

4 comments:

Don Schneier said...

The medium of the daily 'blog' can express 'Philosophy' as a daily regimen, rather than as a consolation, a constructed theory, navel-gazing, a three-month hoop to jump through en route to a degree, an alternative to perishing, etc.

Rayesti said...

I read your blog regularly. I started with your very interesting autobiography. I read your book, "In Defense of Anarchism" shortly after it was published - except for Plato, Aristotle, and Rawls it's one of the few works in political philosophy that I've had the patience to read. And indeed I call myself a "philosophical anarchist" in the Wolffian sense. As in your case, a friend urged me to start my own blog so that he wouldn't have to read my emails - now he reads neither. Keep up your important blog. TV for daily voting would be great, but as entertainment I look and listen elsewhere.

imcdpe said...

Please do continue, Prof. Wolff. As much as I enjoy the extended essays, you commentaries on the passing scene are often little gems.

Nick said...

Just echoing everyone else's enjoyment about reading your blog. To my embarrassment, I often skim over the more philosophical posts and delight in either the commentary on politics or your personal stories (especially your adventures in Paris).

And if nothing else, the blog has brought me to read your "In Defense of Anarchism", "Critique of Pure Tolerance", and "Autobiography of an Ex-White Man" (with "Moneybags Should be so Lucky" lying around somewhere in my apartment waiting to be read) and several other works, like "The Racial Contract", I'm not sure I would have stumbled upon on my own.