The response to my invitation was extremely gratifying. Let me begin with the easiest responses. John Williams writes “I am interested in what you have to say about G.A. Cohen and analytic Marxism more generally.” As it happens, 32 years ago I published a lengthy critique of a book by Jan Elster in which in some considerable detail I came to terms with “analytical Marxism.” If you follow the link at the top of the page (which is, I am afraid, not clickable but has to be copied and pasted – my apologies), you will find a very large repository of my writings, among which is something that is simply identified there as the “Elster paper.” Elsewhere – it will take me a while to find it – I have published a detailed critique of one argument by G. A. Cohen. I hope that will satisfy your curiosity.
A number of you asked for my opinions about things I either
have not read or do not have opinions about and I am afraid I cannot help you
there. For example, although I studied Spinoza 70 years ago with a great
scholar, Harry Austryn Wolfson, I have never written about his works and really
have nothing to say about them. Rather more surprising, perhaps, is the fact
that I have spent almost no time reading or thinking about Wittgenstein, a fact
that is very much to my discredit, I should think. Sorry about that.
The same thing is true about Dick Rorty. I knew him back in the day and found him
quite unimpressive. I was genuinely surprised when he became a really big deal.
I do not think I have actually ever read anything by him so once again chalk
that up to my inadequacy, not his.
My favorite comment was by Achim Kriechel. Back when I was able to take long walks, one
of my favorite early-morning routes in Paris took me along Boulevard Saint
Germain past Café Flore and Deux Magots, opposite Brasserie Lipp. It was always early in the morning when I
walked there and the waiters were just setting the tables and chairs out. I do
not think I ever stopped for coffee but that little spot is burned into my
Enough for the moment. Tomorrow I will start to address
some of the serious questions which I have something resembling answers.