Sunday, September 25, 2016
PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS
Tomorrow I deliver and record the fourth Kant lecture. I have decided to say something briefly about the fact that the election looms over this effort. It seems odd not even to acknowledge it. Even though I am still shunning the TV news and commentary and the web commentary, the anxiety remains. I have been watching some Robert Sapolsky lectures on YouTube, and have learned that high levels of continuing stress are neurologically bad for you. Not surprising. Six weeks to go. How on earth will I survive?
Posted by Robert Paul Wolff at 2:09 PM
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Since you've probably had the same anxiety-prone personality your whole life (although maybe you've become more aware of it recently) and you've reached age 82 with solid health (for your age), I doubt that the anxiety of the next 6 weeks is going to do that much damage to your health. In fact, anxiety about being anxious seems to be the chief issue here.
I know you've been drinking the Clinton's Kool-Aid these many weeks, but she should narrowly beat the Con Man. In the unlikely event she doesn't, we've been here before -- with an idiot running the show -- and the checks and balances and the basic propensity of government to continue serving its masters without unnecessary drama ensures that not much will change, despite all the bloviation. In other words, it's going to be a mess no matter who wins. And it's not going to be much worse if the Con Man wins. I may not be as old and wise as you, but I'm old enough to remember that Goldwater was going to be the big warmonger -- until he lost and Johnson did it for him.
David E., you mention checks and balances, but keep in mind that Republicans will keep the House and possibly (probably?) the Senate as well. Add to that the SCOTUS vacancy (which is rightfully Obama's to fill) and it's clear that the country is up shitcreek should Trump prevail. One can only hope that once the extreme austerity kicks in, coupled with the appearance of Trump's goon squads, voters will realize the error of their choice and do something to correct it (if not open revolt, then impeachment, or at least a landslide victory for Dems in the next midterm election).
Professor Wolff, I too have been inflicted with an anxiety disorder as a result of this election. I've also been doing my best to look away. But let's not fail to steel ourselves for the worst. Right now some polls show Virginia and Pennsylvania tightening. Even worse, they show Colorado as a dead-heat. If Clinton loses Colorado and can't pick off a Nevada or Ohio (and those don't look promising), it's game over. Also, early voting surveys show a high Republican turnout in Florida, a reversal of previous election-year trends. And nationally Trump is up about 5% among Independetns. I hate to spoil the rest of your weekend, but that's the situation.
After watching the first three lectures, I had a Kant-related question that I did not want to ask here because I thought it was too naive/elementary/etc. So I pulled from my bookshelf a couple of days ago The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (1st ed.) and glanced at the Kant entry, but it didn't seem that helpful in terms of my question. Just now I looked at (i.e. skimmed) the main entry on Kant at the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), and it seems to be relatively clear and well-written; it seems possibly helpful, from my standpoint, so I've bookmarked it for closer perusal later. (The author of the main SEP Kant entry is a professor named Michael Rohlf.)
I mention this here in case there are others who have Kant-related questions that, for whatever reason, they prefer not to ask on the blog and who are in search of an overview for non-experts etc.
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