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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, December 8, 2014

PHILOSOPHY 454

since there was a certain amount of interest in the course i shall be teaching next semester on marx, i thought folks might like to see the syllabus, now that i have made it up.  i have no idea whether i can get through all of this in one semester.  one notable feature of the syllabus is the rather embarassing fact that there are only two authors assigned:  marx and me.  it recalls an old jewish joke that i have totally forgotten save for the punch line.  the line is delivered by someone standing in the square at vatican city looking up at the balcony where the pope is standing with a visitor.  the observer asks, who is that up on the balcony with pincus.



Philosophy 454
                                           Karl Marx's Critique of Capitalism
                                                                 Spring 2015
                                                      Instructor:  Robert Paul Wolff
                                                        Wednesdays 1:00 - 3:30 p.m.

I.  Brief Course Description:  An integrated economic, historical, philosophical, sociological, and literary interpretation of Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx.

2.  Required Reading

a)   Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, translated by Aveling and Moore, Dover Publications:
       ISBN-10: 0486477487
       ISBN-13: 978-0486477480
        [There are other translations, but I shall be referring repeatedly by page to this one, so I urge you to use it.]

 b)   The Portable Karl Marx, ed. by Eugene Kamenka  Penguin Books
      ISBN-10: 014015096X
      ISBN-13: 978-0140150964

c)   Robert Paul Wolff, Understanding Marx, Princeton University Press
            Kindle edition, available from Amazon.com

d)   Robert Paul Wolff, Moneybags Must Be So Lucky, University of Massachusetts Press
            Kindle edition, available from Amazon.com

3.  Suggested Reading

a)   Robert Paul Wolff    "The Future of Socialism"  available online, but also to be distributed.
b)   Robert Paul Wolff     "A Critique and Reconstruction of Marx's Labor Theory of Value"
             available on line, but also to be distributed.  As this essay contains some difficult
             mathematics, it is not absolutely required reading.

            Bring your copies of the assigned readings to class, as I shall on occasion be referring to specific passages.

3.  Required Written Work

a)   A ten page paper, due in class on Wednesday, March 4, 2015
b)   A fifteen to twenty page paper due in class on the day set by the university for the final examination.

Papers must be submitted in hard copy [out of respect for the Instructor's great age.]  There may be brief technical problem sets from time to time as seems appropriate.  They will not affect a student's final grade and may be completed cooperatively with other students [or anyone else, for that matter.]

4.   Contact Information

            My e-mail address is rwolff@afroam.umass.edu.  I also have a UNC e-mail address, but I never check it, so don't use it.
            My  blog is at www.robertpaulwolff.blogspot.com  Accessible via the blog is my box.net archive where you will find the two essays cited above and much, much more.  Feel free to visit and to comment.
            As I am only teaching this one course, I shall not be holding regular office hours, but I would be delighted to meet with you at our mutual convenience for any purpose whatsoever.  Just speak to me in class and set up a meeting or e-mail or call me.

5.   General Class Information

            Auditors are welcome, and are invited to participate in the class, so long as registered students have first crack at questions and comments.  Do not be intimidated by my apparent inability to stop talking.  I welcome questions, comments, arguments, and the like.

6.   Important Notice

            Everything having to do with Karl Marx is highly controversial in the world in which we live.  As you might imagine, I have very strong views about Marx.  Otherwise I would not have written two books and a number of articles about him. 

            BUT YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO LIKE MARX, TO AGREE WITH HIM ABOUT ANYTHING, OR TO AGREE WITH ME ABOUT ANYTHING.  YOU ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO DO THE READING, COME TO CLASS, AND TAKE MARX SERIOUSLY ENOUGH TO COMMIT A SEMESTER TO FINDING OUT WHAT HE HAD TO SAY.

Week by Week Schedule of Reading Assignments.

It is essential to the success of the course that everyone complete the reading assigned BEFORE the session indicated.

January 7:         Introduction to the course.   No assigned reading, obviously.
January 14:      Kamenka, pp. 131-146;  pp. 203-241
January 21:       The same, continued.  Begin reading Understanding Marx
January 28:       Understanding Marx, pp. 3-88
February 4:       The same, continued.
February 11:     Capital, Chapter One, and Moneybags Must Be So Lucky
February 18:     The same, continued.
February 25:     Capital,  pp. 84-176
March 4:          Capital,  pp. 177-304
March 18:        Understanding Marx,  pp. 89-178
March 25:        Capital,  pp. 179-335
April 1: Capital,  pp. 336-507
April 8: Capital,  pp. 508-648
April 15:           Capital,  pp. 649 -- 774
April 22:           "Critique and Reconstruction of Marx's Labor Theory of Value."

 

 

 

6 comments:

A. Cameron said...

I very much appreciate your sharing this with us, but (as I believe was noted once recently when you went to Paris) you may want to redact your home phone and re-post the syllabus.

David Auerbach said...

To work, it needs the distraction of a long buildup. It’s something like this: Moishe notices, while walking around with his friend Pincus, that Pincus is getting a lot of greetings from practically everyone they pass. "How come?” he asks Pincus. Pincus replies, “ahh, everyone knows me.” Moishe doubts this, but suddenly notices that at shul the same thing happens. This all begins to grate on Moishe. So, one day he says to Pincus, let’s vacation in Europe together, we’ll go to London, Paris, Rome. Off they go, and to Moishe’s annoyance the pilot comes out to greet Pincus, the Parisian cabdriver fusses over him, etc. They get Rome and St. Peter’s Square and Moishe notices that Pincus is gone. As he looks up and sees the Pope and another person on the balcony, the Italian next to gives him a nudge and says “Say, who’s that on the balcony next to Pincus?"

David Auerbach said...

You might want to redact the home phone number. Here's an idea (inspired by The Wire): get a "burner" phone.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Was that once meant as a joke about the pill?

Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Goodwin_Pincus

David Auerbach said...

No.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Maybe Pincus, the tailor.... After meeting the pope, he's asked, "So, Pincus, what kind of a man is the Pope?" The reply, "About a 44 regular."