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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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




Total Pageviews

Thursday, November 30, 2017

MORE FROM MY FILES

As I continued my excavation of my file drawer of unpublished papers, I came upon a 6,500 essay entitled “Exploitation and Surplus Labor,” which I had quite forgotten writing.  It is clearly a working paper that led to my 1981 journal article, “A Critique and Reinterpretation of Marx’s Labor Theory of Value,” which is archived in box.net, accessible via a link at the top of this blog.  The 1981 journal article, which I have just re-read, is, I think, the technically most advanced thing I have every written about Marx, and I flatter myself that it is entirely original and even, dare I say it, important.  But I made the tactical mistake of publishing it in Philosophy and Public Affairs.  That journal was read principally by philosophers, most of whom were not equipped to understand the long stretches of linear algebra that I employ in making my argument.  As a result [or so I like to tell myself] it has received no attention at all by serious students of the thought of Marx.  The working paper has no math in it at all to speak of but it explores many of the same themes and ideas.


I don’t suppose there is anything I can do to thrust my journal article into modern discussions of Marx.  Should anyone want to read it, it lies ready in Box.net.    As for the working paper, I scanned and converted it without success, but as a .pdf file it is easily readable.  I have uploaded the .pdf file to box under the title “Marx Working Paper,” and if anyone wishes to read it, I would be very interested in reactions or comments.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Professor, with all the bitcoin craze, some commentators have declared bitcoin having a Marxian notion of value due to its exchange value with electricity and processing time. Do you have any thoughts or opinions on why every day wall street types feel it is a sham or dangerous? Why do capitalists find this threatening?

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-marxs-theory-history-1406321399/

Matt said...

For what it's worth, the 1981 PPA article has 41 citations on Google Scholar, which, while not a _huge_ number, is an awful lot more than most articles get. (Google Scholar also fairly significantly under-counts citations, leaving a lot of them out.) It's cited by people like Philippe Van Parijs, John Roemer, Alan Buchanan, Carol Paterman, Adam Przeworski, among others. Many of the citations are to articles in good journals and books. At least some of these people are serious Marxists scholars, in any sense that matters, and while not all are philosophers, some are excellent philosophers and many others are regularly read by philosophers and engage with them. (At least some of them obviously have no trouble with the math, too, though I can't say for sure about all of them, just from lack of personal knowledge.) So, to sum up, most of us should be so lucky to have this "little" impact with our writings. My rough impression is that there was a fair amount of disagreement as to the best interpretation of and importance of the results, but that's not unusual. It hardly counts as falling still-born from the presses, for a journal article - not even close.

Charles Pigden said...

Matt,
Google scholar both overcounts and undercounts but is in my experience (and this matters to me for promotions purposes) a net undercounter. The overcounts come in principally because it misreads the Philpapers website. When nobody has posted a copy of the piece in question, the Philpapers algorithm lists papers which it guesses are relevant, and Google Scholar misreads these as citations. It also does not distinguish between what like to think of as *genuine* citations and self-citations by a paper's principal authors. (When compiling my personal citation statistics. I always exclude self-citations) It undercounts because it doesn't always pick up citations in books, MA and PhD theses, online semi-journals like the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective and non-English academic journals, especially from Central and South America to which it appears to be blind.

Returning to Professor Wolff's article, it has indeed got a great many more citations than most philosophy papers tend to generate. I have seen different estimates in different places, but it seems that the average citation-rate for a philosophy paper published nowadays is somewhere between 0.5 and 1.5 and this is NOT excluding self-citations by the author. I've even seen somewhere the suggestion the median level of citations for philosophy papers is zero with most going uncited even by their authors. So you are on the winning side (so to speak) if your paper gets more than three citations from somebody other than yourself and if your average citation-rate per paper is over ten, then you are a member of the citation-aristocracy. If Professor Wolff's PPA article is his idea of an undercited paper than he is not just a citation-aristocrat - he's a Duke or at least a Marquis. And may I say his lordly status is well-deserved!
Charles Pigden