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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Saturday, October 18, 2014

WHOOPS

It has been pointed out to me that it is probably a bad idea to talk on my blog about my concerns regarding the course, as the students will find their way to my blog and read what I have written.  So I am going to remove my posts [including this one after a few days] and the comments and talk about something else.  You can always contact me by e-mail.

12 comments:

Ludwig Richter said...

This is why my blog uses a pseudonym and why I'm careful not to be too specific about school-related issues. That way, I can mull over my concerns without fear that scads of students will find their way to my blog.

JR said...

Prof. Bob --
What, again, is the purpose of this class? Initially, I wished I could enroll in it, even knowing it was a self-indulgent effort on your part to "bring it all together" as a capstone on understanding Marx. But, even though doing that is reasonable, I judge it better to do so as yet another book, but not as a lecture class. I do think it will be a failure. I am a philosopher who considers himself somewhat knowledgeable about math and econ, but having read your remarks on what you intend (hope) to do, I fear I might find myself doodling cartoons when not listening to your bottomless bag of anecdotes. Do your bringing together as a book, so those who want to try to understand this Grand Integration may sell your book on eBay for 39 cents, if they find it unfathomable. Not everyone is as capable of distractive doodling as I am and you would leave such people in more agony than they deserve by your making assumptions about their understanding England's Glorious Revolution and its connection to Marx. Plan to write the book, then teach a class that at least offers more air, if not more light.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Good lord, you seem to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Chill out!

T Gent said...

What a choice of words there! I think JR has a point, but I don't believe it will be a failure. No matter what references students might find obscure, I have seen on this blog that you do have the ability to clarify the FUNDAMENTAL ideas, however complex and multifaceted they may be. So I believe any intelligent student who is willing to work hard to catch up with the areas she knows less about will be able to take a lot away from this course.

Angus said...

Just a quick plug for going the opposite direction, leaving the posts up and directing your students to them - if I was enrolled in this course I'd find the posts very helpful in figuring out what the course is trying to do and what parts of it I should expect to find particularly challenging (which, in turn, would be helpful in trying to decide how to prepare for class and in making sure I didn't get discouraged when the going got tough even though the material was "breezily written").

I don't see much value in hiding the ball from your students as far as what you're trying to do with the course and the possible ways you anticipate it could go off the rails. If anything, reading your worries might make the students more sympathetic (and therefore willing to stick with it) when the course gets tough, and more comfortable coming to you if they found that the course was simply becoming too difficult to follow (though I think this is unlikely given your exegetical abilities).

Finally, I think your explanation on the blog of how Marx's work is so recursive that you cannot truly understand it until after you've worked with it for a while and begun to appreciate how it all hangs together is really well done and makes a point that it is critical for a student of Marx to understand in order to properly approach the material, so it would be a shame to consign that to the dustbin.

Hopefully this is enough encouragement for you to keep the posts up - I have a hunch it shouldn't take too much prodding to get you to preserve what you write!

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

This course will be unique for you and your students in that it will be the place where you bring together for the first time the ontological, economic and poetic elements in Marx. Perhaps this uniqueness and originality require that you lay out the factors that make it difficult, conceptually or otherwise. Still crawling through Moneybags and Capital. By the way, I looked into group Skype. It is possible, it seems. If anyone is interested in meeting in this way, perhaps talking about Value, Price and Profit perhaps, drop me a note at my first name dot my last name _at_ Gmail. The details are, like Charles I et alia, a Google away....

Jamie said...

I would also recommend that at least some mention is made of how Hegel's metaphysics, ontology, anthropology, and philosophy of history influenced Marx. I realize that Hegel is not everyone's cup of tea, but a course on Marx would be incomplete without contextualizing his corpus against the backdrop of German Idealism.

Chris said...

Jamie, it seems to me that Hegel is just one of those people that CAN'T be summarized or taught in a short duration, no matter how hard people try. Every 'succinct' account of Hegel I've read is dreadful. Now maybe that's because Hegel is dreadful (that's an open question), but I don't know how one could succeed in explaining Marx's relation to Hegel without giving a very long course on Hegel :(

Jamie said...

I think one class session devoted to tracing the lineage of German Idealism from Hegel, Schelling, and Fichte back to the Kantian antinomies would do the trick. But the brevity of such a presentation would require a philosophically sophisticated audience to be effective...

Chris said...

Who could seriously properly summarize those people in one class to such a degree that it actually made understanding Marx easier?

Jamie said...

Yeah, I tried doing the same thing with phenomenology from Husserl to Merleau-Ponty in a medical anthropology course to an audience of physicians, anthropologists, and medical students. Let's just say I crashed and burned. :-(

trane said...

I would like to second Angus's point above.

And I like all your anecdotes, and find that they go very well with your explanation of concepts etc.

Cheers,
trane