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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Sunday, August 27, 2017

ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY

Having taken note recently on this blog of a thirtieth wedding anniversary and a sixty-ninth first date anniversary, it occurred to me that I ought also to observe another anniversary, this one of my service in the U. S. military.  At this time sixty years ago, I was approaching the end of my eight week stint in Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  I have devoted an entire chapter of my Autobiography to the experience, so I shall not re-tell my stories of that six month hiatus in my career.  I am virtually the only philosopher I know of my generation or younger to have served in the military, but many of those half a generation older saw real and very dangerous service during World War II.


I can still recall sitting at a table at an annual meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, having a cup of coffee and listening wide-eyed to Sylvain Bromberger and Jack Rawls swap war stories.  Sylvain, born in Belgium, actually fought in the famous Battle of the Bulge in the winter of ’44-’45, and Jack served in the South Pacific.  Sylvain and I were graduate students together at Harvard and then colleagues for two years at Chicago.  He taught for many years at MIT, where he is now Professor Emeritus.  When my first wife and I drove to Cambridge from Chicago so that I could do a visiting year at Wellesley, he helped us load the UHaul van.  Sylvain is one of my favorite people in the world, and I was delighted to visit with him briefly during my talk at MIT a year or so ago.

4 comments:

David Auerbach said...

Sylvain was one of my mentors at MIT and I love him. I instantiate, in this case, a cliché of education--namely, that I appreciate him more and more as the years go by and feel a bit pissed at my younger self for not appreciating him then.

Matt said...

I am virtually the only philosopher I know of my generation or younger to have served in the military

Not that you'd have any reason to know him, but one of my philosophy professors at Boise State University, where I was an undergrad, Alan Brinton, served in Vietnam. (I believe he was in the Army, but it's possible that he was in the marines. A history professor was certainly in the Marines in Vietnam.) In his office, Brinton had a picture of himself sitting against a tree in Vietnam, reading the Critique of Pure Reason. (He must have served between college and graduate school, as he got his PhD from Minnesota in 1974, I think.) He was a very good mentor, who helped students a lot to write and think more clearly.

Charles Parsons said...

At Columbia you will have known Jim Higginbotham, who had been an M.P. in Vietnam (I think before 1965).

A fellow member of the Harvard class of 1954, Cy Banning, wrote in a reunion year report that from 1954 to 1957 he was in Army intelligence and served in Korea. He taught philosophy at Kenyon College for many years.

My friend and fellow Junior Fellow Louis Kampf (not a philosopher), a few years older than we, served in the artillery during the Korean War.

Charles

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I knew Jim, of course. Louis was in the Korean War?!!! Good grief, I had no idea. I cannot imagine him in the military.

Good to hear from you, Charles.