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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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, April 28, 2019

BOOK REPORT


Faithful readers of this blog will have noticed that I do not actually read very much, for all that I strive to lard my posts with arcane references, but at the moment, I am actually reading three books, one suggested by my sister, Barbara, one suggested by my son, Patrick, and one suggested [at my request] by my son, Tobias.  Barbara recommended Frans de Waals’ Mama’s Last Hug, a book, as the subtitle says, about “animal emotions and what they tell us about ourselves.”  Patrick recommended Modern Monetary Theory, by L. Randall Wray.  Tobias recommended the late Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet.  I am a very slow reader, so I am only 25 pages into the de Waal, 102 pages into the Wray, and I have barely completed the Preface to the Sedgwick.  I will let you know how they turn out.

14 comments:

David Palmeter said...

A dozen or so years ago, when OLLI in DC was meeting in the Sunday School classrooms of the Temple Baptist Church adjacent to American University, your sister Barbara led a study group called “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” using Daniel Dennett’s book of that title. The Baptist minister would have none of it, so OLLI got the use of an AU classroom for all courses in which Darwin was mentioned or even thought of. Another study group leader, Ed Goldin, a physicist, led a group entitled “The Cosmos,” using Simon Singh’s book, The Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe. That, too, was sent to the AU classroom.

Dean said...

I'm a very slow reader, much more so since the arrival of the first of two children, though that circumstance is improving. Currently on the proverbial nightstand: Charles Altieri's Reckoning with the Imagination: Wittgenstein and the Aesthetics of Literary Experience; a law journal article surveying the history of Article III judicial powers and so-called causes of action; and Christopher Middleton's collected poetry. I have no expectation that I'll read the last one cover to cover. There's also a study of Caillebotte that I enjoy dipping into now and then.

Charles Perkins said...

I--a little bit more than halfway through the coursework stage of my PhD--have given myself a break and am reading _The Boy is Back_ by Meg Cabot. I don't think I've read anything this light since middle school. From the blurb on the back of the book: "Reed Stewart thought he'd left all his small-town troubles--including a broken heart--behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit. Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return...with a vengeance."

Dean said...

For top quality light reading, one can do worse than Sid Fleishman's By the Great Horn Spoonn (1963!).

Jerry Brown said...

Professor- if you don't read much why would you read three books at the same time if you don't have to?

F Lengyel said...

Reading John Quiggin's "Economics in Two Lessons." The book makes opportunity cost the central notion, and points out that the assignment of property rights is not preordained as in libertarianism, but comes with opportunity costs. I have long believed that assignments of property rights impose opportunity costs on others (this to me is obvious, but not to libertarian thinking), so I was greatly anticipating the publication of Quiggin's book, eight years in the making. The title is a response to Henry Hazlett's "Economics in One Lesson," the lesson being the free market dogma that market prices always equal opportunity costs. This leads Hazlett to the conclusion that government intervention is always counterproductive. This excludes the possibility of market failures. Quiggen states that the "free market" is one in which the current assignment of property rights takes precedence over all other such assignments.

Jim Westrich said...

I would be very much interested in your views on Wray's *MMT*.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Well, Jim, I am up to page 133 and it is slow going. Give me a little time.

Dean said...

The Wray title is still Modern *Money* Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, is it not?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Yup. My mistake. I find it hard, but interesting and in an odd way unettling, as I think it is intended to be.

NN said...

MMT is Keynesian economics, more or less.

Jerry Brown said...

Like Jim, I am interested in your views on Wray's book. Not that I'm trying to rush you :) . I believe I have read that one, but even reading only one book at a time, I find my memory is far from perfect. So maybe I have it confused with one of his other books.
Anyways. I find that I am a big fan of Modern Monetary Theory and am interested in your thoughts about it. Especially since you are actually reading one of the books about it. That's no joke- most economists who have critiqued MMT seemingly haven't thought to actually read what MMT theorists have written before critiquing it.

stephendarling said...

Regarding the textbook on MMT it is also co-authored by Bill Mitchell, a leading MMT advocate himself based at Newcastle University (Australia) and part founder of the "CofFEE" centre. He has a blog site called "billy blog". This edition is also a second and expanded edition. Mitchell has also (amongst many others) co-authored another book called "Full Employment Abandoned: Shifting Sands and Policy Failures". This book is really worth reading for its critique of how full employment as a policy agenda has become completely abandoned by western neo-liberal governments like in the UK and here in Australia. Australian governments - whether conservative (the Liberal-National Coalition) or socially democratic (the ALP) - on this matter has seemed to punched higher than anyone else in the western world. Also, if none of you have done so, you might like to see the film "I, Daniel" - which is all about the horrendous impact on the plight of the unemployed (a very difficult film to watch I must say).

Matt said...

I haven't read that De Wall book (which sounds like it might be sad - please let me know if not) but did read his Tanner Lectures, published as _Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved_ (with replies by Robert Wright, Christine Korsgaard, Philip Kitcher, and Peter Singer) and thought it was very interesting and useful. (I particularly found Kitcher's reply useful.) I'd highly recommend it, and not only because it's fairly short - a strong virtue in books outside of my main area of work!