Robert Paul Wolff was born on December 27, 1933 in New York City. He was educated at Harvard, earning his doctorate in philosophy in 1957. He has taught at Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, and the University of Massachusetts during a career spanning 50 years. He has written or edited 21 books, the best known of which is In Defense of Anarchism. Robert lives in retirement in Chapel Hill, NC, where he blogs at The Philosopher's Stone.
Why do you blog? > Because I love to write, and blogging puts me in touch with an international audience of readers.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Publishing my 800 page Autobiography online as I wrote it, and receiving hundreds of comments and reactions to it.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Being bothered by a troll.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant, David Hume.
What are you reading at the moment? > A new schlock James Bond novel by Jeffrey Deaver.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Paul O'Dette.
What is your favourite poem? > Emily Dickenson's 'I'm nobody. Who are you?'
What is your favourite movie? > There are too many.
Who is your favourite composer? > Bach.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The Labour Theory of Value.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The non-existence of God.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Das Kapital. It helped me to see that capitalism rests on the exploitation of the working class.
Who are your political heroes? > Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Barney Frank.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Most people do most things the way they do most other things.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > The reversal of America's imperial foreign policy.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The chasm between the well off and the poor.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Well, I have certainly passed my best point. I leave the world to take care of itself.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Generosity, both material and emotional.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save a life, to prevent human suffering, to get out of a social engagement with George W. Bush.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I am deeply prejudiced against born-again Christians, Orthodox Jews, and devout Muslims.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching soccer.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Are you kidding? What don't I worry about?
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Some small things, but no big thing.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Paris.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to speak foreign languages fluently.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Classical violist, if I could hack it.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > A sharp turn to the left in American politics. (Too unrealistic?)
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would drink better wine.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > David Hume, Jane Austen, and Emily Dickenson.
What animal would you most like to be? > Homo sapiens.
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