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.