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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, May 21, 2018

HAVE PEN, WILL TRAVEL


Like one of the old Greek sophists, I go to any city state that will have me and talk on anything I am asked about.  My first publication was in the Harvard Crimson, my second in Astounding Science Fiction.  Over the years, my words have appeared in many settings, but this morning is a first.  I have been asked to contribute to a comic book.  A scholar at UPenn is soliciting one sentence statements about Herbert Marcuse for a comic book on him to be introduced by Angela Davis [I am not making this up.]  Naturally, I agreed.  There seem to be thirty or more others.  Here is my sentence:

“Herbert Marcuse, the imposing presence who teased me, just after I had published my first book on Kant’s Critique, by proposing to Barrington Moore and me A Critique of Pure Tolerance as the title of our little volume, reassuring me when I objected that “No one will ever read it,” the Germanic philosopher who sat on the floor with my three year old son twirling a toy globe to show him the countries of the world, the world-historical presence who was that rarest of beings in the exalted realm of high theory and kulturkritik, a good friend.”

9 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Considering the attitude of the Frankfurt school towards pop culture, it's ironic that Herbert Marcuse will end up in a comic book.

I realize that Marcuse is not as elitist as Adorno, but still I doubt that he said a single positive thing about pop culture in his entire published work.


Anonymous said...

That’s one sentence? Oh boy

Robert Paul Wolff said...

You should see some of the others! I took some literary license.

LFC said...

Off topic, but this weekend I finally got around to viewing on YouTube the seventh (and last) of your Marx lectures.

I should probably watch the last ten minutes or so again, but I guess I wanted a little more unpacking of "putting the irony into the equations," though I can see, more or less, how your revised equation(s) are an improvement on what they replace (with that omega [or whatever the letter is] showing labor's different, lower 'rate of return' on its 'capital'). I found myself wondering what the audience in the room might have made of it all, and whether they would have found the closing injunction to "go out and change the world" a bracing reinforcement of something they already were planning to do or a somewhat jarring non-sequitur (or something in between).

I think the point about how capitalism misrepresents itself as a fair, market exchange between equals when it's really a system of exploitation was clearly made and tied to some key passages in Capital. And even if there hadn't been more (which of course there was), I think the lectures were worth watching for that alone. Not that I was unaware of the point before, but I think the lectures did a good job of communicating it in an accessible way.

Plastic injection molding said...

A good friend.

David Auerbach said...

Marx was on the front page of the NYTimes business section today. Sort of.

s. wallerstein said...

Completely off topic, but John Le Carré's characterization of Christopher Hitchens seems worth wider circulation:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/22/john-le-carre-letter-british-politics

Anonymous said...

Wait, was the sentence ("sentence") to be about Marcuse, or about you?

Jerry Fresia said...

bravo!

Who is the audience for this "comic book"?