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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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



Total Pageviews

Sunday, November 9, 2014

GUILT PLEASURES

I had forgotten the exquisitely leisurely pace at which Marx unfolds his theory in the opening seven or eight chapters of Capital.  It is such a pleasure to re-read the text and watch him as he carefully, brick by brick, cobblestone by cobblestone, erects the barricade from behind which he will launch his assault on capitalism, calling down two thousand years of European literature as his witness.  Even now, after having written two books and half a dozen articles about this text, I find that my breath is taken away by its power, its sweep, its majesty.  I also realize that this is the first time since the Fall of 1977 that I have actually taught Capital.  [That semester, I offered a graduate seminar in Classics of Critical Social Theory, in which the students studied Marx, Freud, and Mannheim.  Fifteen students enrolled in the seminar, only two of whom were from the Philosophy Department.]

In the Spring, I am going to be taking my twenty students on an extraordinary adventure.

4 comments:

Chris said...

Just curious, how many times have you read Capital?
And this time through are you learning anything new?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Well, "read" is a trifle complicated. I think this is the third time I am reading it through from cover to cover, but I have pored over many passages, in English and in German, while writing my two books. I am learning a great deal this time through. Reading it with my fully developed interpretation already in my head, I am for the first time seeing how deliberately and craftily Marx stages the unfolding of the exposition, so that while appearing to be abstract and theoretical, it actually recapitulates the historical development of capitalism and at the same time mocks his predecessors' incoherent efforts to explain the appearance of profit in the capitalist system. It is very exciting.

Jerry Fresia said...

Sounds like your estimation of Marx, while high to begin with, is soaring. I would imagine too that the various editions of Capital (in languages other than German - and I am assuming this was Marx's essential language for writing) wouldn't carry along the subtlety and nuance from the original German.

Chris said...

Jerry, if I remember correctly, the last version of Capital that Marx wrote himself was the french edition of Capital Vol I, and it apparently contains some nuance that other editions don't have.