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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, April 20, 2020

SIMPLE PLEASURES

I just spent a delightful hour watching this lecture by Noam Chomsky delivered seven years ago.  This is not the political Noam, but rather what I think of as the real Chomsky, the linguist.  His mind is so clear, so sure, so elementary, so powerful, it was a great pleasure watching.  I recommend it.

8 comments:

ES said...

Actually, this was published 7 years ago. Recorded 9 years ago.
(Only because I know you care about the details, prof.)

Vince said...

This is unrelated to the linguist Chomsky, but I'm curious to hear you're thoughts on Chomsky's dire warnings regarding climate change, Professor Wolff. For years now, Chomsky has been telling audiences and journalists that the world is quite literally on the precipice of irreversible disaster and that the US, with Trump in charge, may well take us over. More recently he has been saying that this upcoming election in November is the most important election in human history because of this.

Are you as concerned with climate change as Chomsky? Do you agree with him on the historical importance of the election?

Dean said...

Entirely delightful! I had to replay the conclusion from about 54:30, almost as if I were listening again to the final movement of a piece of music. He notes the "not quite arbitrary" meaning-associations of words, a thrilling qualification that brings to mind etymology (which may very well be not at all what he intended). About five minutes later he refers to 17th and 18th century scholars who already understood that words convey, at most, a kind of perspective. Does anybody know to whom he's referring?

As an aside, when our first child was born we needed to find a nanny/sitter for him. We went to a local, longstanding non-profit devoted to parenting and found a lead. The family with whom we shared the nanny, who continued with us for several years until our second child started preschool, also had one young child at the time. That child is one of Noam Chomsky's grandchildren.

Mazen said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Really great stuff.

Mazen said...

Also, one of my favorite video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=068Id3Grjp0
Q&A starts at 1:04. You see Chomsky respond to critics...brilliant!

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Dean,
Chomsky may have been thinking about a group that has Giambattista Vico as a member. Vico was the first assert that history is made by man and not the working out of God's plan, and he proposed that people in different times and place thought about thing differently, i.e, from their own perspective. He is often credited with being the founder of modern history as well as the field of ethnology.

Dean said...

Good guess, and thanks, CJM, Ph.D. I've been meaning to get around to reading Vico sooner rather than, well, never. I have Hazard Adams' anthology of Critical Theory Since Plato, in which an excerpt from The New Science appears. In the introduction to the excerpt Adams writes, "Vico reverses the usual rationalistic definitions of the poetic tropes as special kinds of deviation from rational linguistic procedures. He sees them as both temporally and logically prior to abstract thought; they are "necessary modes of expression." I think you nailed it.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Dean,
Thanks, it's is always good to hear one has nailed something!

I'm relieved to know my guess was right. I dare not venture into the realm of poetic tropes, but musical modes seem to be prior to language and formal music as well. Like you, one of these days I'll dig into Vico - Marx, after all, quoted him Capital, V. 1.