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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

COMPENSATIONS

Let me tell again a story I have told here before, five years ago [which is, I believe, in the world of social media more than several lifetimes.]  Here it is:  I had a brief encounter with Hannah Arendt in the late 60's, during my time as a Columbia University philosophy professor.  I gave a lecture on John Stuart Mill at a session of a faculty seminar series at Columbia, and Arendt, whom I knew casually, attended.  My lecture was taken from an essay I had published as my contribution to a little volume called A Critique of Pure Tolerance authored by Herbert Marcuse, Barrington Moore, Jr., and myself, in which I beat up on old J. S. pretty bad.  At the end of the lecture, Arendt came up to say hello.  She was clearly not too thrilled with my talk, but she asked, politely, what I was working on.  I replied that I was hard at work on a book on Kant's ethics.  When I said this she brightened visibly, smiled, and said, "Ah, yes.  It is so much better to spend time with Kant!"


Much of my day is spent staying current with the appalling doings of Trump and his henchmen, but part of each day is devoted to my lectures.  If I may echo Arendt [although not in a way she would have approved], it is so much better to spend time with Marx.

5 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Being able to listen to your lectures on Marx (and learning about Marx in general) is a compensation for so many unappetizing aspects of life.

Thank you for them.

Warren Goldfarb said...

Beating up on JS Mill? I'm leading a small seminar on translating German philosophical works, and although I know Frege very well in translation, to go back to the German is revelatory. His condescending tone about Mill is absolutely hilarious. (He doesn't take this tone with Leibniz or Kant, although he is certainly critical of them.) Anyway, it's good for my students to learn about different tones of voice auf Deutsch.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Warren, it sounds like a classy little seminar. What else are you doing besides Frege?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

S Wallerstein, I am delighted that you find them of intgerest. Thank you for your many and valuable contributions to the comments on this blog.

Warren Goldfarb said...

In my small seminar we get through only about two pages a week, as we go into great detail about the fine points of translation and the associations the words call up. When the students have their fill of Frege, one student wants us to turn to Schlick's Naturphilosophie and another wants us to do some Brentano. Meanwhile, I've started the practice of giving them two 19th C. poems a week; this week it was Heine, next week I'll probably do Eichendorff. The problem with most language classes aimed at grad students is that they aim only at getting them to read text in their subject, and don't surround it with more general culture.