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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Saturday, April 9, 2016

DARK THOUGHTS

On the 21st of this month I will travel to Providence, RI and Boston, MA to speak at Brown and MIT about my work on Marx.   I genuinely believe that my work is unique.  No one else, to my knowledge, has so much as asked how one might unite the literary and mathematical dimensions of Marx’s theory of capitalist exploitation, let alone attempted to do it, as I have.  But alas, my work has received very little attention.  Brooding on this has put me in mind of a story from sixty years ago.

In 1956, when I was a twenty-two year old doctoral student in the Harvard Philosophy Department finishing up my dissertation, the Graduate Philosophy Club invited a retired Michigan professor, Roy Wood Sellars, to speak.  Sellars, father of the much better known Wilfred Sellars, was unimaginably old.  He must have been five or six years younger than I am now.  He delivered a long, plaintive, cranky, complaining speech, the message of which was that his Mid-Western version of causal realism had never received a fair hearing in the profession because the East Coast version of causal realism dominated the journals.  We all sat there in stunned silence, desperately trying to remember what causal realism is.

And here I am, preparing to travel north from Chapel Hill to complain that my version of Marx has not received the attention it deserves because Analytical Marxism is all the rage.


I hope that in half a century, when those young folks are my age and tell this story, they will be kind.

4 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

If an old person (I'm old myself) complains to young people about how the world has not recognized their worth, they're finished. Young people still imagine that the race is to the swift, the battle to the strong, bread to the wise, riches to men of understanding and favor to men of skill: that the world is somehow fair.

However, if there were a moment when someone who has studied Marx all his life (as you have) might find a bit of recognition, it's now: post 2008. It's evident that the 2008 crisis has shaken capitalist hegemony: that's why another old guy, Bernie Sanders, is doing so well, why still another old guy, Jeremy Corbyn, now leads the Labor Party and why yet another old guy, David Harvey, now sells a lot of books about Marxism.

So I imagine that you'll do better than you imagine with your talk.

Simon said...

I love your work on Marx. It's both rigorous and insightful, which is a rare combination. I have no doubt that young philosophers will be reading your work on Marx for many, many years.

formerly a wage slave said...

Analytical Marxism?.....Anwar Shaikh has something interesting to say about that in the Second Lecture based on his new book....http://www.hgsss.org/anwar-m-shaikh-capitalism-competition-conflict-and-crises/ Around about minute 57....the "most bizarre" of bizarre ideas......

Chris said...

At a minimum I haven't let a semester go by without making my students read In Defense of Anarchism.