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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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

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Friday, June 2, 2017

THIS AND THAT

The events of the past few weeks have been quite dramatic, what with Trump abdicating the role of “Leader of the Free World” [I have always loved the naïve egomania of that phrase] and then choosing Nicaragua and Syria over the remainder of the world as playmates.  What fascinates me, as a long-time fan of realpolitik, is the ease with which China, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, without missing a beat, slide into the space left vacant by Trump’s retreat.  I am not sure it makes much difference in the short run, and perhaps not even in the long run, but it is interesting to watch.

Why on earth doesn’t a wind power or solar energy company waltz into coal country and offer training grants to out-of-work coal miners who want to tool up for renewable energy jobs, complete with a national publicity campaign?  Who knows, maybe they have.


Meanwhile, on the cultural front, if you want a really lovely little movie that manages to be gripping despite a total absence of sex or violence, take in Richard Gere in Norman.  

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the workers should move to where better jobs exist?

I believe many options are available to those workers but it requires training and patience from an employer. Unfortunately too many employers do no understand no one will ever fit 100% of the requirements of a position. An eager person is usually good enough for 90% of jobs.

Maybe there should be some regulation on who can work on wind/solar power and the government should subsidize/train coal workers to pass those tests/requirements.

Professor Wolff, what are your thoughts on accelerationism?

https://monoskop.org/Accelerationism



Jerry Brown said...

"Why on earth doesn’t a wind power or solar energy company waltz into coal country and offer training grants to out-of-work coal miners who want to tool up for renewable energy jobs, complete with a national publicity campaign?"

Maybe because private companies do not like to spend money unless they think they will get something they value at least as much in return. I doubt the publicity of helping a few ex-coal miners is worth very much. Americans have never very much cared about the welfare of coal miners, or most laboring workers of any sort, except in brief periods after tragic events, and I don't think Trump's election has changed that at all.

Jerry Fresia said...

Nicaragua was against the Paris agreement because it didn't go far enough (see below). So the US is standing only with Syria - against the world. Rather ironic.

"Because the agreement doesn’t do enough to fight climate change. Nicaragua’s Paul Oquist, who represented the country at the Paris negotiations in 2015, has said that Nicaragua’s main problem with the Paris Agreement is that countries’ pledges to fight climate change—known as “intended national determined contributions”—are voluntary. Oquist says that because the commitments aren’t binding, the climate change agreement will fail to meet its goal.

"'[We’re not going to submit because] voluntary responsibility is a path to failure,' Quist said in 2015 to a reporter from Climate Home. “We don’t want to be [an] accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents.” The Paris Agreement calls to limit climate change to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels,” though there is disagreement about how useful that goal is.

"Oquist also argued that the responsibility for fighting climate change needs to fall on the countries that emit the most greenhouse gases, not the smaller countries that barely emit any by comparison. As you might expect, Nicaragua has far less of an impact on the state of climate change compared to the United States. While the U.S. ranks second in the world for carbon-dioxide emissions (behind China), Nicaragua ranks 131st, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Oquist seems to see himself, and Nicaragua, as taking a stand for many other countries. “A lot of developing countries have conditioned their [intended national determined contributions] on receiving finance and that finance is nowhere to be seen,” he said in 2015."

LFC said...

Also ironic, for lack of a better word, is that since the commitments under the Paris Agreement aren't binding, Trump can do roughly what he wants in this area (e.g., roll back emissions targets, repeal Obama's power plant regs. -- which Trump has done or begun to do by executive order) without leaving the Paris accord.

So the withdrawal is really, as various commenters have noted, more about symbolism, truculent America First-ism, and keeping promises to his base. Which is not to say that the symbolism here is unimportant. It is important, and it sends a terrible message.

Michael Llenos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Llenos said...

I hope this website still accepts philosophical arguments on God. Here is my last night 70+ minute reflection for a new ontological argument. I invite the critic, whomever you are, to critique the following: even though I am probably too brain dead to mount a good defense....

"Everyone would probably agree that God is the greatest nonexistent thing if God does not exist. (Hence, the basis for St. Anselm's ontological axiom about God being the greatest in the mind.) Now to exist is greater than not to exist. Therefore, the greatest nonexistent things would be those things which have already become existent from past nonexistence. Therefore, if God was nonexistent--in the past--he (being the greatest nonexistent thing) must now necessarily be existent."

Of course, the best way to refute this argument of mine would be to tackle and refute the idea that: if God is nonexistent, he is the greatest nonexistent thing....

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Ho hum. I leave it to others to deal with this.

Michael Llenos said...

[Michael's Ontological Paradox]

I previously wrote:

"Everyone would probably agree that God is the greatest nonexistent thing if God does not exist. (Hence, the basis for St. Anselm's ontological axiom about God being the greatest in the mind.) Now to exist is greater than not to exist. Therefore, the greatest nonexistent things would be those things which have already become existent from past nonexistence. Therefore, if God was nonexistent--in the past--he (being the greatest nonexistent thing) must now necessarily be existent."

Now I'll add the following I thought up during 40+ minutes of deep thought this morning:

'God must be the first existent thing from nonexistence. For if any nonexistent thing became existent before God, God wouldn't be the greatest nonexistent thing for all time, since that former nonexistent thing would exist first and be existent longer than God. And I think most would agree that to exist is greater than not to exist. And to exist longer in time is greater than existing shorter in time. And like I said: if God is nonexistent, he is the greatest thing not to exist. So if God exists or if he is nonexistent: he automatically exists before all other things.'

Q.E.D.