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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, September 28, 2014

AN ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY

It being a rather slow Sunday, I was amusing myself by checking in on some academic blogs, such as that run by English economist Simon Wren-Lewis, and I made an astonishing discovery.  Not every academic who maintains an intellectually oriented blog puts up a new post every day!  Who knew?  This is a very great relief to me.  Now that I have come to terms with the fact that this blog is, in my retirement, my job, as it were, I have felt a heavy weight of responsibility to write something thoughtful, arcane, and original every single day.  That is a terrible burden to carry around, and I have been much weighed down by it.  I am now seriously contemplating cutting myself a little slack.

The inner voice of compulsion is not new to me, as I have remarked in my Autobiography.  I recall what was said many years ago at a mid-Western college by the Professor who had agreed to  introduce me for a talk I was giving there.  "Professor Wolff," he said, "joined the Book-of-the-Month Club a while back, but he failed to understand the instructions that came with his membership card.  On the card it said he was obligated to buy at least three books a year but he misread it as saying that he was required to write three books a year, and he has been doing his best to obey ever since."

From now on, if invention fails from time to time, I shall pour myself a glass of wine and relax.

4 comments:

Chris said...

More Freud posts would be great :)

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

A thought or two on several of your more recent posts.... I can't remember your ever mentioning Quine's "On What There is", and I have wondered how its nominalism influenced your thinking. More specifically, how its nominalism influenced your thinking about metaphor. Nominalism is about several things. It is about what there is, namely, only individuals. But, it is also about how predication is understood. Contrary to Platonism that explains predication in terms of individuals relationships to the Forms, nominalism explains predication in terms of perceived similarities. But, predication based on similarity is metaphor. (This is probably Nietzsche's idea.) Then, all premises are metaphorical. A philosophical argument, serious or not, can't be anything but based on a metaphorical premise. That is but a sketch, but it raises an interesting question, how do you fit nominalism and your thinking about metaphor together? In any case, that's one thing, here's another. Why is it that all the great philosophers (the ones that you have explicated, for example) have all left posterity complicated argumentative structures that rest on metaphors that need so much effort to explain?

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

...I thought about that last post for a day or two before I wrote it, and then no sooner do I push send, but I think of something else.... The obvious way in which Quine and Hegel are different is logic, but there is an interesting way that they are similar. When Quine investigates concepts, he often asks his readers to imagine some situation in which the concept is at work. Someone once described this as staging the concept, but I can't remember who or where I might have gotten this. (Zizek?) It is a good image though. In Word and Object, Quine stages, for example, the concept of radical translation. Gavagai and all that. Hegel is another stager. Wittgenstein stages quite frequently, I think. For example, the thing about how the written down truth of sense certainty going stale. Ok, throat clearing done, have you ever approached Hegel from the point of view that what he is doing is like what Quine was doing in the Gavagai passage? Also, I've wonder for a long time, are the rabbit whompers descendants of Quine's translated locals?





Chris said...

Andrew,
Jonathan Lear refers to the "staging" of a concept in his book on Aristotle in Freud: "Happiness, Death, and the Remainder of Life".

He specifically argues that Aristotle is "staging" the concept of "THE good".

I think he too borrows the idea from someone else...I'll check when I get home this evening.