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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Sunday, December 31, 2017

CHATTELS MOVABLE AND IMMOVABLE

I wrote too quickly, and mesnenor offered a more accurate account of “chattel slavery,” but the situation was actually more complicated even than he or she indicates.  In the English Common Law [and elsewhere] a distinction was drawn between chattels movable and chattels immovable or real.  Furniture, clothing, jewelry, cattle, etc. were chattels movable; land was chattels immovable.  [Hence in French, meuble is furniture and immeuble is real estate.]  When a man of property died, his chattels movable were the first parts of his estate to be sold off to pay his debts, thus protecting the land.  You would think that slaves would be chattels movable, but if they were sold off first with the furniture, the widow would be left with land and no one to work it, so in a series of court cases in the American colonies that defied logic, slaves were declared chattels real or immovable, thus safeguarding the heirs.  The best detailed account of this can be found in a fascinating book called Southern Slavery and the Law, by Thomas Morris.  [At least, I found it fascinating.  I got it put on the list of Fifty Major Works of Afro-American Studies that we required all doctoral students to read and write papers on in the first year Major Works seminar, but the students hated it and it was dropped from the list.]

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