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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Saturday, July 19, 2014

VULGAR EMPIRICISM


The Louvre is a very large building standing on the right bank in Paris.  It is essentially a long rectangle oriented east-west along the Seine.  Walking along the left bank this morning, heading for the Assembleé Nationale, I approached the point at which the Louvre begins across the river, and wondered to myself just how long it actually is.  As a philosopher, I should have been casting about for self-evident first premises from which I could deduce its length a priori.  As a Marxist social critic I should have been concerning myself with the structure of exploitation underlying its mystified façade.  But feeling rather chastened by Jamie’s correction of my uninformed speculations about contemporary academic Sociology, I decided to collect some facts.  Accordingly, as I passed the eastern end of the museum, I began to count my paces [a pace is two steps – left right.  I have short legs, so my paces are not much more than five feet each.]

I counted by tens, as is my wont, using my fingers to keep track of the hundreds so that I would not get distracted and lose my way.  By the time I had reached the bridge that crosses the Seine from the end of rue de Bac to the edge of the museum, I had reached 420 paces, which means that the Louvre is not that much under half a mile from one end to the other.  I think we can agree that that is a good deal of museum.

There is something curiously gratifying about personally collecting a fact, although as a philosopher and Marxist critic I would not hope to make a habit of it.  Now, about the underlying ideological significance of the Louvre ….

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