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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Friday, November 2, 2018

DOIN' WHAT COMES NATURALLY

In 101 hours, the very first election results will come in.  To pass the time, I am preparing my next Columbia lecture.  As in my first lecture on Marx, I shall begin by invoking the world of Jane Austen.  From there, I shall move on to the work of the historian of 18th century England Lewis Namier, then review the ethnological system of recording kinship structures of "primitive" peoples, quote a pregnant and surprising observation of Edwin Wilmsen, segue into a discussion of the property rights of indigenous peoples, and wind up this first part of the lecture with a discussion of the incompatibility of Political Economy and the Ethnographic conceptualization of of prehistoric human groups, all in the service of explicating Wilmsen's ideological critique of the field of Anthropology.  A  seamless chain of argument.

I love doing this sort of thing much more than I like troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

5 comments:

David Zimmerman said...

"Austen" with an "e".

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Whoops. Thank you. Corrected.

David Zimmerman said...

Sorry for the pedantry... My wife calls me "Professor Wiki" at such moments... no compliment that from her.

s. wallerstein said...

Professor Wolff,

You yourself have advised us, if we want to participate in leftwing politics, to find a slot that feels good and natural and to keep at it. Your slot, as far as I can see, is talking to people about Marx, ideological critique and similar matters. That's a real contribution to the level of consciousness and you should be proud that you do it so well.

So why torture yourself about how the semi-educated masses (and it's not your fault or your responsibility that they're semi-educated) will vote? Don't you recall what Epictetus tells us: our virtue has to do with how we deal with what we can control?

You did your part and a maybe a bit more. Be proud of it and relax.

MS said...

Prof. Wolff,

Your list of intellectual pursuits is not quite what Irving Berlin had in mind when he wrote Doin’ What Comes Naturally, but at our advanced age – even at my 70 yrs. – perhaps we have to settle for the less physically demanding. (I hope this comment leaves you laughing, rather than scowling at me.)