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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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 9, 2018

THE PASSAGE OF TIME


I have been blogging for somewhat more than nine years, during which time I have written a staggering number of words for The Philosopher’s Stone.  When I began, I was a youthful seventy-five, recently retired after half a century of teaching.  Now I am a mature eighty-four, launching a new career as a Peripatetic Philosopher and wondering whether I will make it to the century mark.  Recently, this blog seems to have reached beyond lift-off to a sustainable orbit.  The comments section is filled with essay-length contributions even when I am away.  I feel like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein who, after pounding on the breast of the monster and shooting it with repeated electric shocks, finally cries out exultantly: It’s alive!”

I shall probably write fewer lengthy posts during the time that I am teaching at Columbia, not merely because of the need to prepare but also because the class gives me an opportunity for expression that has for the past decade been provided by this blog. 

Not to worry.  You cannot keep a garrulous old codger quiet.

Now, anybody have a clue who wrote the anonymous Op Ed?

8 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

I sincerely hope that you make it to the century mark, with the same lucidity that now characterizes you. My father lived to 98 and until the last year when heart problems meant that his brain received less oxygen, was very sharp. I also hope that I can accompany you in the comments section until the century mark.

NS said...

My candidate would be either Jim Mattis or Dan Coats. Less confident about Mattis, since, as a military person, he would hold high respect for the principle that under the Constitution, the military is subject to civilian control. Dan Coats, because of his scornful public reaction when he was advised that Trump was considering inviting Putin to visit the White House. The consensus is that the individual must be in the highest echelon of the government, since the NYT would not have trusted any subordinate to accurately report what was going on.

I don’t know what prompted the individual to go public with this news. Perhaps s/he thought there was a need to reassure the public that there was sufficient resistance in the White House to prevent Trump from doing something truly catastrophic. I would have preferred that s/he had remained silent. By disclosing this information, s/he has exacerbated Trump’s paranoia and further emboldened his base.

Any thoughts on whether, even if you dislike Trump, creating a shadow government within the White House presents even a greater threat to the republic than allowing Trump to operate unhindered?

Postscript: Don’t worry about the passage of time or aging. As a previous commenter pointed out, according to J. M. McTaggart, time is just an illusion.

David Palmeter said...

There's a part funny, part perceptive column in the Washington Post this morning suggesting that Anonymous is none other than Jared Kushner:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-only-solid-bet-is-on-trumps-panic-but-the-op-ed-was-probably-jared/2018/09/07/8c7b2aa0-b2d1-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html?utm_term=.61f96fd0abd1

"And the theory addresses the venerable standard: Cui bono? Who stands to benefit when Anonymous is eventually unmasked, as surely the author will be in the city that keeps no secrets? A dramatic “Aha!” could serve as the perfect cliffhanger from which to launch a new season of the Trump family reality show. In this one, Jared and Ivanka return to New York and resume their climb to the top of Manhattan society.
"Having been so close two short years ago, now they’d have a hard time getting invited to the opening of a vape shop in Hell’s Kitchen. But errant sheep returning, shall we say, sheepishly to the fold is one of the great plotlines of literature and Page Six. If a bookie will give me 15-to-1 odds, I might lay a bet Chelsea Clinton hosts their inevitable book party."

Écrasez L'infâme said...

*I* must be getting old: I read RPW’s question on “anonymous’s op ed” and started reading the coments below his previous few posts to see if there was a more than usually interesting one from one of the board’s several anonymouses (anonymii?). Then half way through something from S Wallerstein that I’d missed I realised. Time for a strong coffee.

David Palmeter said...

I understand why our Anonymati want to remain anonymous, but I wish they'd adopt pen names as you have done. That would allow the rest of us to keep track of who is saying what. There are many possibilities out there--e.g., Jared, Ivanka, Donald, Melania, Hillary...the list goes on.

Dean said...

Relax, everybody. I'm the anonymous op-ed author. I also wrote The Sound and the Fury.

Anonymous said...

Professor Wolff,
I am excited to hear that you will be teaching a class at Columbia. I have much enjoyed your Marx and Kant lectures on YouTube. Will you be recording your Columbia teaching in either audio and/or video?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I am afraid not. No recording, just the old fashioned way, talking with students.