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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AT LAST!

Here it is.   Lecture Four, replete with irrelevant stories and deep insights.  Enjoy.

9 comments:

Michael Llenos said...

Dr. Wolff,
Good lecture. I want to add something to your comments on the election. A famous Republican by the name of Glenn Beck made the point on the Factor (I believe), a month or two ago, that there is presently happening a great parallel in history with the event of the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st cen. B.C. and current U.S. events. I believe Republicans are prone to do this sort of parallel thing since their conservatism makes them embrace history and especially all political history. And I am not making fun of Republicans in saying this. There is a need for conservative Republicans to parallel the past, e.g. Glenn Beck is the modern Thomas Paine and Dick Morris is the modern Machiavelli. That got me thinking: who is parallel in history to Mr.Trump? The closest parallel I have concerning Mr. Trump is the triumvir Marcus Crassus. Crassus hated the Parthians but was defeated by them in northern Syria (at Carrhae) in 53 B.C.. If Trump becomes pres. he will definitely go after the terrorists of the Middle East with ground forces. I hope a President Trump will have more luck and military smarts than Crassus ever did. I would hate to see history repeat (or rhyme) itself.

Michael Llenos said...

Oops! Fact check. The Battle of Carrhae took place east of Syria though Crassus was logistically based in Syria. Close enough.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I hope all of this remains securely in the realm of speculation!

LFC said...


If Trump becomes pres. he will definitely go after the terrorists of the Middle East with ground forces.

Difficult to extract this or any other prediction from the contradictory things Trump has said on foreign policy. But I see little indication Trump wd make this particular move. The dominant tenor of his f.p. remarks is Buchananite ('America first'). He refers to crushing/destroying/smashing/etc. ISIS but avoids giving specifics on how he wd do it. The f.p. part of the first debate was the worst section -- e.g., no discussion of Syria, which is sort of hard to fathom given what's going on there.

Ted Talbot said...

Re the question asked at the end of this lecture:
“objektive Gültigkeit” = “objective validity” of concepts (Begriffe); cf. footnote to B XXVI. Concepts have objective validity if they are “more than mere thoughts”, i.e. real objects given in experience fall under them.
“objektive Realität” = “objective reality” of (e.g.) external intuitions; cf. footnote to B XXXIX.
I take it that intuitions are not said to have objective validity because nothing real “falls under them”, i.e. they do not apply to objects as do concepts.
I assume Kemp Smith translates these two German phrases consistently, but I haven’t checked this.

(I’m not a professor, by the way, but thanks for the thought).

Jim said...

Regarding historical comparisons to Donald Trump, the most accurate one that I have come across is Josiah Bounderby from the famous Dickens novel, Hard Times. Think about it: his relentless bragging about his own achievements; his false claims of humble origins; his contempt for the working class; his propensity to marry women a third his own age. Donald Trump is the modern day Josiah Bounderby.

Michael Llenos said...

For the record, I did not mean that Mr. Trump was like Marcus Crassus in a bad way, but rather that he was like him in a historically accurate way. Both men made their fortunes off of 'real estate'; both men politically are conservatives (Trump is a Republican and Crassus was a Optimate); both men are politically and militarily ambitious; both men are not much different in age (Trump is now 70 while Crassus was 62 when he passed away); and Trump is a billionaire while Crassus was the richest Roman of his time. However, both men do have their many differences I admit. One difference is where Mr. Trump, in his first debate with Hillary Clinton, said he didn't want to sound 'braggadocious' about his wealth or business achievements. A very far cry from Marcus Crassus who once boasted that you are not a rich man unless you can afford to pay an army's wages.

s. wallerstein said...

I have no idea about Marcus Crassus's personality, but Trump is a braggart.

Trump's need to brag is so strong that he cannot resist it even when it probably hurts his campaign. For example, when Clinton suggested that Trump pays no income tax (and thus, does not want to publish his tax returns), Trump could not resist bragging that shows how smart he is. I imagine that most voters, especially the working class and lower middle class voters whom Trump wants to seduce and whose income tax is deducted directly from their paychecks, would find off-putting Trump's bragging that his tax evasion shows his smartness.

Ted Talbot said...

While Kemp Smith may be consistent in his translation, I see that Kant may be using "obj. Gültigkeit" and "obj. Realität" interchangeably. Thus in B 117 he speaks of establishing/proving the objective reality of empirical concepts from experience.