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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, September 16, 2018

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE


Some of you may recall Whiplash, a 2014 movie about a brutally demanding music instructor and a promising young drummer.  The movie won an Oscar for J. K. Simmons, an old, familiar character actor who plays the instructor.  Currently, the Farmers Insurance Company is running a series of ads featuring Simmons, with the tagline, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” 

One of Farmers’ competitors is Progressive Insurance, famous in the ad world for a series of commercials featuring Flo, a character played in countless ads by actress Stephanie Courtney.  Flo has become as famous as the GEICO gecko, a cartoon character with a Cockney accent advertising yet a third insurance company.

In the most recent Progressive Insurance ad, a group of salespeople are rehearsing a commercial song under the direction of a choral conductor who, in a brilliant bit of interior homage, imitates the character played by J. K. Simmons in Whiplash.

The idea of doing an advert sendup of the character played in the movies by the actor now making competing ads is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant.  I have no idea who in the ad company working for Progressive had the idea, but he or she should get a Clio [the ad world’s Oscar.]

How can I be so sure the ad was the idea of a single ad writer, and not the product of a committee?  Because it is a really good idea, and I know a thing or two about really good ideas because I’ve had a really good idea or two.

3 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

The fact that your really good ideas have never been the product of a committee does not mean that no really good ideas have ever been the product of committees.

Anonymous said...

Oh good lord. Red Delicious apples are not delicious.

Michael Llenos said...

Dr. Wolff,

Here is an idea... Why I believe the Gospel invites the truth about piety...

[On Plato's Euthyphro Genius: God's Transcendent, Truthful Understanding of Piety vs Man's Relative Understanding of Piety]

1. I believe only an infinite mind (or God) can know the 100% truth about piety.

2. For only the infinite mind of God could know every specific act of piety that did occur, is occuring, or will occur.

3. Socrates is not vexed by Euthyphro's specific understanding of piety, but is vexed because Euthyphro has no generalized (or categorical) definition & understanding of piety. For I think Socrates believed the category should be able to prove the specific, and the specific should be able to prove the category. However, since specific examples of piety are endless, and their category is really just one, Socrates thought it would be more practical to learn the one category of all endless, specific acts of piety first.

4. So I conceive it is not inconceivable that if piety is to be known categorically, only the infinite mind of God can originally know the true category of piety, since only God has the omniscience to know all of the specifics of future (& past and present) individual acts of piety for all eternity.

5. For to know a true category 100% of the time, there must not be a new particular precedent in all eternity. Perhaps, Socrates is not wrong that a particular instance of piety cannot lead to a 100% true category & definition of piety, but what he fails to mention to Euthyphro is that all specifics (or particulars) of piety, if known in their entirety for all eternity, would be able to reveal (or point to) their single categorical definition with the fullest accuracy.

6. If all of the above is true, men must always be in need of pious instruction and understanding, from the voice or word of God. So when man cannot be taught what piety is (and how to live piously in a community) from the voice or word of God, then John S. Mill's Utilitarianism is the next best thing. The difference is, God's mind is infinite and all knowing, whereas man's mind is finite, fickle, and limited. So the unchanging wisdom of God should be sought after for instruction in truth since it is infinitely greater than the fickle, changeable opinions of men. "...To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." --John 18:37