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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A RESPONSE TO RICHARD

In response to the re-posting of my Credo, Richard asks some questions:

(1) Are all human activities transformative of nature? Is the activity of knowing that, say, there are billions of galaxies transformative of those galaxies?

(2) Are all of any one person's acts of knowing completely dependent, i.e., dependent in all aspects, upon those of others?

(3) Are these things matters of choice? Is the choice of a thesis opposed to the one you have chosen the choice of an error?

By the way, the proof that I am not a robot was truly ridiculous? Is the post one which a sign is posted a sign or not?

Herewith, some quick responses:

1.  Not all human activities are transformative of nature, and of course I did not say that.  But as it happens, the activity Richard cites is indeed part of a human transformation of nature [not of the galaxies, of course.]  It is part of the collective activity we call science.

2.  Of course not, but they are far more dependent on the previous activities of others than one might at first suppose.  At the very least, they are likely to be couched in some natural language, which quite obviously is a collective human product.

3.  I am not sure what “these things” refers to.  In many cases, the answer to the question in the second sentence is, sometimes yes, sometimes no [I think – the question is not very clear.]


Finally, I have not a clue about this robot thing.  I think you have to tell Google [good luck with that!]

3 comments:

Howard Berman said...

Professor Wolff:

A little more is needed to persuade me. Just because everyone's connected doesn't mean all resources should be collectivized, anymore than that God owns me because he created the world. The essential thing is what's the best for all of us as individuals rather than who should call the shots. And putting people first rather than the people does not resign us to plutocracy.
This is a genuinely liberal attitude and is consequentialist.
What is best for individuals all of us.

I'm sure you have a reply because you or someone else way smarter than me has given the matter consideration.

Thanks

Michael Zack said...

Interdependence does not mean communism or the loss of private property. Nor would it mean a loss of personal autonomy.

We live in a world where we rely on each other for survival. I need my doctor. I need farmers. I need construction workers. I need scientists. I need inventors. Recognizing this need means I ought to behave in such a way to recognize the need as valid and insist on ways to ensure the ones who I need to survive have the same rights and benefits as I do.

Richard said...

First, thank you for making me the celebrity I now am.

Then, re your reply to my first question: it was a genuine question, not a subtle assertion that you had said that all human activity is an activity transformative of nature. But now I see you saying, if I have you right, that scientific knowledge, of which the knowledge that there are billions of galaxies, is a part, is a human transformation of nature. So now my question is that of whether, not all human activity, but all human science or even all human knowledge is activity transformative of nature. I'd say that though human science (science empirical and mathematical) gives us the power to transform nature (not an unqualified blessing), it is itself not as such transformative.

As you may have surmised, I am seeking to understand your Marxism.

By the way, I found the buses much easier to deal with than road signs in my effort to convince blogger.com that I am not a robot. By yet another way, the "proofs" that I am not a robot are hardly proofs at all.