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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, August 7, 2017

LIKE HE SAID

Having finished my walk and morning coffee, I was reluctantly girding up my loins for battle with the abusive but not inconsiderable Professor Egmont Kakarot-Handtke of Stuttgart when I read the delicious response of F. Lengyal, who reveals himself to be none other than I. M. Flaud.  I am most grateful for the assistance.  Now I can turn my thoughts to a lighter post inspired by several other comments.

By the way, one of the themes lately touched upon in the comments section of this blog is the perennial question of the purpose, function, or justification of Philosophy.  It is, I think, rather odd that this question has never exercised me in the slightest.  Having identified myself as a philosopher before I was old enough to drive, I somewhat illogically concluded that anything I was interested in was philosophy, including Game Theory, Freudian theories of personality, the economics of Marx, and nuclear deterrence theory.

If I were pressed to say what it is that I imagine myself to be doing as a Professor of Philosophy, I would reply that I grapple with deep, powerful, beautiful ideas and turn them over in my mind until they are transparently clear to me, at which point I show them to others, either in a lecture or in print, so that they too can see how beautiful they are.  That is what I was doing in my first book on Kant's First Critique, in my two books on Marx, in my early essay on Hume's Treatise, and in many other writings as well.  Is this, as Callicles pointedly asks in the Gorgias, an appropriate way for a mature adult to spend his or her time?  I leave it to others to answer.  However, I can report, after a long life devoted to such activity, that I have found it deeply satisfying, and not obviously harmful to others.


1 comment:

s. wallerstein said...

Philosophy gives pleasure to those who practice it (some say it can make them wiser) and it harms no one, as you say and does not contaminate the environment nor produce climate change. Isn't that justification enough?

How many human activities, except the outright do-gooder activities, medicine, nursing, defending the penniless as a lawyer, working with the homiless, etc., can show as positive a balance sheet?