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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

SHEER FUN

While I was agitating myself about what I should blog about today, I happened in Brian Leiter's blog on a link to "The Harshest Philosopher-on-Philosopher Insults in History".  In these terrible times, each of us deserves a few moments of what the Mikado called innocent merriment.  I shan't ruin the fun by quoting Harshest Insult Number 1 [in the usual fashion, the thirty insults are listed in reverse order of harshness.]  But here is:

12. Karl Popper on Ludwig Wittgenstein“Not to threaten visiting lecturers with pokers.” (On being challenged by a poker-wielding Wittgenstein to produce an example of a moral rule; the discussion degenerated quickly from there.)

I will tell you right now that my favorite, as indeed it should be, is Number 1.

6 comments:

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

The cat videos were better.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

They were certainly great, that's for sure.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Hey, change of subject, what is your take on how to understand Wertgegenständlichkeit?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Good God, Andrew, what on earth is that? It appears to translate as value objectivity, yes? If so, then I'm agin it.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

In Capital, volume 1, chapter 1, section 3, it reads "...ihre Wertgegenständlichkeit also rein gesellschaftlich ist...." M&A translates this as "...the value of commodities has a purely social reality...." (p.54) If this is what Marx had in mind, why didn't he just say "Wert"? Fowkes gives "...their objective character as values is therefore purely social." (pp. 138-139) This seems better, since it attempts to figure in both "Wert" and "gegenständlichkeit", but it still leaves me somewhat unclear about what is being said. So, while we were on the subject of snarky metaphysical ripostes and cat videos, not in that order, of course, I figured that it was natural to bring up a question of Marx interpretation. It's always time for Marx, right? So, given that you're about to about to teach Marx again, and you've given a ton of thought to the ontology of the social, I figured that you might have some light to cast on this passage. Is this part of the literary style that Marx needs to forge in order to capture to the unique structure of his object?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Andrew, I actually have a complete and adequate answer to your question, and have spent the better part of two books setting it out, but I do not think I can recap it briefly enough for a blog comment. in this case, Marx is not being ironic. But it is a long story.