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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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 2, 2016

NORTH TO FREEDOM

On April 21st and 22nd I shall be heading north from Chapel Hill to give two lectures.  At Brown, I shall be offering the last in a series of Political Theory workshops that have been taking place every second week throughout the year.  Then on the 22nd, I shall speak to a faculty study group at MIT organized by a young Political Scientist there.  On both occasions, my topic will be the work I have done over forty years on the thought of Karl Marx.  My theme, I am a trifle embarrassed to say, is rather self-congratulatory.  I shall be arguing that my work on Marx is quite literally unique.  I am unaware of anyone else who has ever attempted to do what I have done.  Indeed, I am unaware of anyone who has even conceived the idea of doing what I have done, namely, merging a philosophical and literary critical analysis and interpretation of Capital with a mathematical reconstruction of the economic theory set forth in that text, thereby producing not simply several disparate interpretations side by side but a unified, integrated literary/mathematical understanding of Marx’s reading of bourgeois capitalism.

There is a deeper and broader thesis underlying this work, viz. that because society is inevitably and unavoidably ideologically encoded and mystified, all fully satisfactory social theory must be written in an ironic voice that acknowledges and communicates that mystification, all the while seeking to penetrate and supersede it.  One of the secondary implications of this thesis, incidentally, is that successful works of social theory, like great works of fiction, cannot be redacted in textbooks but must be read in the original authorial voice.   That is why we read Capital itself even though we can quite well acquaint ourselves with Chemistry without reading Lavoisier.

The MIT folks have promised to read the brief 25,000 word summary of my work that I posted on this blog under the title “A Unified Reading of Marx.”  [I sent it to them as an email attachment seven months ago.]  The Brown group, alas, have not made that commitment, so I shall have to try to communicate in thirty minutes some elements of what it would take me two hours or more to summarize.


I shall report on my success or failure. 

7 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

What would be some of the other works of social theory that one has to read in the original text?

By the way, I've never been able to read Capital. I find it hard going and Marx, as a narrator in Capital (I enjoy his historical works), does not attract me or capture my attention. Lately, I've been reading David Harvey about Marx and I find that more to my literary taste.

Ian J. Seda Irizarry said...

Professor, Marx would be great as your next adventure with recording and uploading lectures!

Wallace Stevens said...

I second Ian's comment!

enzo rossi said...

Prof. Wolff, I must've missed this essay and I can't seem to be able to find it with the search function or in the box.net archive. Could you perhaps re-post a link to it? Thank you in advance! I'll be starting a reading group on Capital with colleagues from history and anthropology in a couple of weeks' time -- I confess that I failed to make it through much of Capital in previous attempts, so your essay should help.

wallyverr said...

Enzo, I think the link you want is

https://app.box.com/shared/n72u3p7pyj/2/79244772/6754022563/1

It is on the second page of the box.net link given on the "Philosopher's Stone" home page. Title of "A Unified Reading of Marx on the box.net menu, fuller title of "The Literary, Economic, Philosophical, Historical and Sociological Unity of Das Kapital" in the actual document.

enzo rossi said...

Thanks!

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Wow. Thank you all. I can just go fishing! Have just spent a frustrating but ultimately successful half hour signing my wife up for a course in the adult education program at Duke. Now I can return to commenting on the clown show that passes for politics in this great nation.