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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, February 6, 2016

JUST SAYIN'

Lecture Five is now on YouTube.

Enjoy.

3 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Thank you for posting it.

I had one question. You spoke of a group of anthropologists who studied a bar scene in Chicago and you mentioned that when anthropology students who were familiar with the bar scene from their normal social life looked at the results they found them weird because of the difference between how the bar scene is described by anthropologists and how they lived it as normal bar customers. (Not your exact words, but something like that).

Isn't that to be expected with any rigorous description? If a group of doctors describe my physical condition, it will have nothing to do with how I live it and I probably will not understand the technical language. If a group of psychiatrists describe my personality and its disorders, I may be surprised by the terms that they use and I will probably have to resort to Wikipedia to understand them.

Now it may be that the technical psychiatrist language serves an agenda of dominance or of exclusion (e.g. it's constructed so as to categorize certain personality traits commonly found in rebellious people or in non-white people as
pathological and to categorize conformity as non-pathological), but that's another question.

Unknown said...

Still in my ringside seat and finding your summary of the Wilmsen book intriguing. Would like to hear your response to Mr. Wallerstein. I suspect it may turn on the distinction between hearing your situation described in a foreign jargon, which you could then presumably study and understand, vs. not being able to recognize or connect with the description even after you understand it because it misinterprets the meanings attached to various things and events in the real world. Isn't that the point Husserl makes about meanings in the lebenswelt vs. detached, "objective" interpretations. Actually, that may be the point Mr. Wallerstein is making, but unlike the physician, who finds her jargon useful because she's going to use it for another purpose (treatment), the anthropologist is supposedly only DESCRIBING the world of that tribe, and for that description to avoid serving some other benign or not-so-benign agenda, that description ought to be one that reflects the understanding of the members of the tribe themselves. Tom Unknown

Andrew MacDonald said...

Robert. I was especially struck by the example of your student from Sierra Leone. Part of the lesson you drew from his story was that a presumption of superiority (knowledge, intelligence, culture, etc.) may actually stand in the way of one grasping the deeper and sometimes more complex meanings in what is said or observed. This presumption, as you explain, shows up in the work of some anthropologists and is especially exemplified in slave owners whose underestimation of their slaves undermined their ability to grasp the irony underlying much of their discourse. But I thought this might also show up in the study of the history of philosophy. Often I am struck by the treatment some of the greats get from contemporary philosophers. But if the latter are working under the presumption of superiority, then it would explain why they seem unable to grasp more than the most superficial meanings such works.