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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, February 3, 2019

DEAD METAPHORS

When Susie and I moved to our retirement community apartment, we put up several bird feeders on the outside of the window in our sun room.  It draws a steady clientele of goldfinches, house finches, wrens, and even the occasional bluebird.  Our new cat is mesmerized by the birds and spends long hours perched on a little step stool, inches from the birds, hoping against hope that the pane of window glass will disappear so that she can get at them.

This morning, unexpectedly, a robin showed up at the feeder.  For those of you who are not bird enthusiasts, a robin is a rather large bird, six or eight times as large as a goldfinch.  As the robin ate its fill of bird seed, the finches and other little birds flew around, intimidated by the robin and afraid to land in the feeder.

For the very first time, I came to understand the original meaning of the familiar phrase "pecking order."

3 comments:

Michael Llenos said...

Thank you for being an animal lover, Professor Wolff. And thank you for sharing that story. There are many people who love animals and many people that can't stand them. I think it's a bonus to love them instead of hate them. Off the top of my mind, I'll try to write what the three top monotheisms say about being kind to animals:

Talmud: The righteous man feeds his cat before sitting down to eat.

Hadith: A woman drew water from a well and gave it to a thirsty dog to drink. And her sins were forgiven her.

Gospel: The birds of the air sow and reap not, nor gather into barns, yet God feeds them.

Andrew C. said...

Well now you've piqued my interest, Professor. What are you feeding them? It is unusual for a robin (or any thrush species, for that matter) to eat from a feeder given that their diet consists entirely of fruits/berries and invertebrates.

Are you particularly interested in birds? If you are so inclined, you might consider creating an eBird account (https://ebird.org/home) and logging your feeder sightings. The site is a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is an incredible testament to the power of citizen science and crowd-sourced data. Thanks to an army of "ebirders" the world over and the team at Cornell that analyzes and distills the data, our understanding of species distribution, frequency, migration timing and patterns, and much more, is presently more fine-grained and detailed than ever before.

David Auerbach said...

When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.