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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, June 25, 2018

ON A LIGHTER NOTE


When computers, digital information, the internet, and all that jazz came in, a number of efforts were made to humanize them by drawing analogies between the mysterious strings of ones and zeroes, and the electric networks that underpinned them, and more familiar aspects of living organisms.  One of the most popular was the description of pieces of computer code that could be attached to existing programs in such a manner as to be copied onto other programs as viruses.  This usage seemed particularly appropriate in cases where the copied computer code interfered with the intended usages of the existing program, in a way analogous to that of living viruses infecting organisms, bring reproduced in other organisms, and hurting or even killing the host organisms.

By an odd quirk of language, the sudden and very rapid popularity of a video or bit of text which is accessed and reproduced quite rapidly by thousands or even millions of end users is described as the text or video going viral, although there really is little connection between the two neologisms.

As I have reported here before, my first lecture on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, recorded and posted on YouTube, has been unexpectedly popular.  It has now been viewed more than 68,000 times, and is racking up new views at more than 2000 a month.  This is small potatoes compared to a clip from The Big Bang Theory or a classic Monty Python sketch, but considering the topic, it is still rather remarkable.  It can hardly be said to have gone viral, but I do think it might plausibly be described as having

gone bacterial.

3 comments:

Michael Llenos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Fresia said...

It is in contemporary parlance, and in all seriousness, huge.

LeanMcHungry said...

It is remarkable that 68,000+ people have viewed your Kant lecture, it brings to mind a thought expressed by the Canadian academic Jordan Peterson.
According to Peterson there has been a revolution, the spoken word is now as accessible as the written word. Peterson claims that online video on demand is a new technology which is a Gutenberg revolution. The spoken word is now as powerful as the written word, it is just as distributable and in fact more people can access it because you don't have to be able to read.
I have recently finished your Marx lectures, I found them a very helpful introduction for reading vol one of Capital, which was quite an undertaking for a non academic schmuck. I hope the Marx lectures will go viral too.