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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, February 15, 2016

MY RELIABLE READERS

I just knew that the older folks who visit this blog would come up with a raft of great old movies.  I have seen most of the ones mentioned, but David Auerbach is clearly way beyond me in movie knowledge.

By the way, some of you may have missed Donald Trump saying that George W. Bush should have been impeached for lying us into the Iraq war.  I mean, the LEADING candidate for the Republican nomination saying that!   This is a year to remember.

2 comments:

Wallace Stevens said...

I'll move this to the top, since the notice of the posting of lecture six is now well below the fold. I continue to enjoy the series, please keep it coming. The numbers may be down from the heady, early days, but 100 or so is still huge if you think of a university class.

One suggestion: maybe try attaching your mike to your sweater collar instead of the shirt collar, since at times there is a scratching sound of the mike against what I assume is your beard. Sometimes it is hard to hear when you put your chin down to read from a book. Or maybe time to pull out that tweed jacket and attach it to the lapel!

It appears that Wilmsen, with convincing evidence, pretty well knocks the stuffing out of the idea that the Zhu people are intact representatives of pre-Neolithic, pre-agricultural times. But I am still curious about what can be said about human society in Paleolithic times, while concurring that the Zhu, and other people like them living today, are not a reliable guide.

You seem to suggest that property, surplus and social hierarchy all begin with agriculture and settled living, although I may be misunderstanding you on this point. But for true hunter-gatherers (I assume that Wilmsen doesn't dispute the existence of such people at SOME time in our past)property would be equal to territory--the land that you used to hunt and to gather. And one can easily imagine blood being shed over such property and hierarchies being established based on control of such property. And why not a surplus too? If game and other items were bountiful through some natural good fortune, or if weaker or less well equipped tribes could be excluded from lands rich in food of various kinds. And if a surplus, then why not trading? It all seems quite plausible, without there being any agriculture or agricultural surplus. Notwithstanding the foregoing, what we do know for near certain is that there were periods of thousands of years where almost nothing changed, in terms of art and technology. These were extremely stable cultures, even if they did, as I am conjecturing, exhibit many features of post-Paleolithic societies.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

Michael Llenos said...

This is off topic. The war the U.S. had in Somalia (in the '90s) was considered a military botch of President Bill Clinton by many U.S. veterans throughout the nation. The idea was that the president didn't have the military acumen to go back in and finish the job because he knew nothing about martial decision making. However, my view is the opposite and that the president reinvented or even duplicated the particular advice of 19th century military-scientist Carl Von Clausewitz. In Book 1, Part 11 of his On War, it reads in one passage that the smaller our nation's political objective the more prudent it is to give up any military goal for the sake of national unity. E.g. read the last sentence of this quote: "The smaller the sacrifice we demand from our opponent, the smaller, it may be expected, will be the means of resistance which he will employ; but the smaller his preparation, the smaller will ours require to be. Further, the smaller our political object, the less value shall we set upon it, and the more easily shall we be induced to give it up altogether." (PUBLIC DOMAIN of On War Book 1, Chapter 11.) When I think of the loss of more American lives if the president would have gone back into Somalia and fought a war of attrition, and my belief that the Somali leadership would still have found new ways to steal the food supplies meant for the unfortunate Somali civilians, I believe President Clinton made the best tactical decision. A Frenchman once told Niccolo Machiavelli that the Italians knew nothing about war, and he responded that that might be true, but that the French knew nothing about politics. In the same context we can judge the Clinton's martial leadership: although Bill and Hillary did not go through boot camp, they sure know how to strategically keep America's public interests in the forefront--including the safety of U.S. service men and women, by keeping them out of deadly Vietnam types of war.