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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, October 15, 2017

WHAT'S UP

A week from today, Susie and I go to Paris, returning November 9th.  As usual, I shall continue blogging.  A week from Thursday, we dine with our friends Anne Berry and Philip Minns.  Philip runs this blog on all matters French, and I find it an indispensable aid to understanding life and politics there.  Philip worked for many years as a simultaneous translator, both for governments and for corporations, a calling that leaves me speechless with astonishment. 

I hope and expect that my Columbia talk with go up on YouTube some time before we leave for Paris.  I will be very curious to read your reactions, should you spend some time watching it.  One word of explanation for those of you who have no connection with Columbia.  At the very beginning of my remarks, I tip my hat to Bob Belknap and Carl Hovde, two friends, now both dead, who were, like myself, young members of the faculty half a century ago.  The older people at the talk will know that both became, in their day, much loved Deans of Columbia College.  I did not mention Edward Said, whom I was privileged to know, although not as well as I would have liked.  Those opening remarks were just a little inside baseball to establish my street cred with the locals.


As for the Marx lectures, I still have not found any takers willing to offer me a venue for the talks.  You will recall that I tried standing in front of my bookcases and lecturing to my desk for the Ideological Critique lecture series, but I found that so weird that I decided not to do it again.  I may be forced to return to my desk and bookcases for the Marx lectures if no one at Columbia is interested in sponsoring them.

4 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

I remember Belknap. As a freshman, I took a course in Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky with him.

Then later for some reason I don't recall I went to talk to him while he was the dean, and I do remember thanking him because, as I told him, he had made a genuine attempt, so rare in this world, to understand my situation.

Said was brilliant and because of his situation as a third world intellectual in a university where almost all the faculty were white male Americans, he had "something to say". I took a course with him as an undergraduate and then did a graduate seminar with him. I once even went to a party in his house where a joint was passed around, although
I'm not sure if Said himself partook of it.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I think in that case that you knew Said better than I. Belknap lived in the apartment next to mine at 415 w. 115th street [we were in apartment 51, he in apartment 52]. I played string quartets with his wife several times.

s. wallerstein said...

I didn't know Said well at all. It was a party with some faculty members and some English majors.

I first had classes with him in 1965, and I had no idea he was Palestinian. He looked Middle Eastern of course, but he never talked about Palestine. Then I had him again in graduate school in the academic year 1969-70 for a seminar in Modern Literary Criticism. That was the first time I had heard of lots of people, whom we read: for example, Lukács and Foucault. I believe that he was among the first, if not the first, to introduce these thinkers in Columbia.

In spite of his dedication to the Palestinian cause, he was maybe the most cosmopolitan person I've ever met.

There's a video in YouTube in which he was supposed to debate Netanyahu, then Israeli ambassador to the UN or to the USA (I don't recall which) and Netanyahu refuses to sit down in the same room with Said because he (Netanyahu) will not share a room with a terrorist.
Anyone who ever met Said knows that he was one of the most gentlemanly and courteous persons who has graced this planet.

Like you, I regret not making an effort to get to know him better.

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