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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS

As I have several times observed, the development of modern social science can be viewed as the progressive taking seriously of spheres of human experience that were previously ignored as infra dignitate.  Economics treats of the buying and selling of goods in the marketplace, a banausic activity that no gentleman would contemplate.  Anthropology began when the practices of South Sea Islanders were accorded the respect previously reserved for the amusements of lords and ladies, and graced with the epithet “culture.”  Durkheim launched Sociology with a detailed analysis of the phenomenon of suicide.  Freud created an entire medical specialty out of such detritus of human experience as dreams, jokes, and slips of the tongue.  And modern literary critics, weary of their endless contemplation of Greek tragedy and Romantic poetry, turned their attention first to that middle class amusement, the novel, then to movies, which were rechristened “films,” and finally even to such ephemera as television and comic books.

I have always admired this ability to – as my old friend Esther Terry would say – make chicken salad from chicken shit, but alas, I lack the gift.  Thus it is that the endless contemplation of the Trump presidency, rather than inspiring me to flights of creative imagination, has had the effect of making me stupid.


In an effort to recapture the life of the mind, I have decided to offer a short series of lectures on The Thought of Sigmund Freud, to be delivered – if they agree – at UNC and preserved for eternity on YouTube.  The arrangements are still being explored, but my hope is to record the lectures in March and April.  Later in this sesquicentennial year, I plan to mount a more extended series on The Thought of Karl Marx.

6 comments:

TheDudeDiogenes said...

Excellent. Best wishes, Prof., in these endeavors!

s. wallerstein said...

Freud, great!

I read through most of what I could find in paperback of Freud about 20 years ago, and I learned a lot about myself and others.

I'm looking forward to your lectures.

David Palmeter said...

I look forward to both, particularly to Marx. I've never studied him at all systematically--just reading the Communist Manifesto and selections on the Portable Marx. When I was in high school and college in the 1950s, no school I attended dared mention his name lest Joe McCarthy or HUAC come calling.

Anonymous said...

I too am looking forward to those lectures. I think you also should take a look at,
The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
by Armand M. Nicholi Jr. It's a fascinating book by one of Harvard's finest professors.

Chris said...

Very excited!

LFC said...

Happen to have on my shelf an old paperback -- B. Nelson, ed., Freud and the Twentieth Century (Meridian Books, 1957). From a short piece in that collection by Abraham Kaplan, "Freud and Modern Philosophy":
"Freud is not so much a pessimist as a realist, possibly the most thoroughgoing realist in western thought." (p.229)

Reproducing that sentence and the word "discuss" would make a great final exam question in some course or other.

---

p.s. "Banausic" is a nice, rather underused English word. I had to look it up in the dictionary to remind me of the derivation and meanings.