Mortimer J. Adler

Easton Press Mortimer J. Adler books

The Four Dimensions of Philosophy - signed first edition - 1993
Adler's Philosophical Dictionary - signed first edition - 1995
The Great Ideas: a Lexicon of Western Thought - 2001

Mortimer J. Adler biography

Mortimer Jerome Adler, born on December 28, 1902, in New York City, was an American philosopher, educator, and author. Throughout his prolific career, Adler made significant contributions to the fields of philosophy, education, and the promotion of intellectual inquiry. Adler's early education at Columbia University laid the groundwork for his intellectual pursuits. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 14, followed by a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia at 28. His academic journey set the stage for a lifelong commitment to learning and education.

In the realm of philosophy, Mortimer Adler became widely known for his association with the Great Books of the Western World series. This monumental project, initiated in the 1950s in collaboration with philosopher Robert Hutchins, aimed to compile and make accessible the most influential and essential works of Western literature, philosophy, and science. The series, comprising 54 volumes, became a cornerstone in Adler's mission to promote a classical liberal education. Adler's emphasis on education led him to serve as the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica's Great Books of the Western World series. His passion for fostering intellectual inquiry and critical thinking skills extended beyond academia. He played a key role in the establishment of the "Great Books Foundation," an organization dedicated to promoting discussion and exploration of classic texts in various educational settings.

In addition to his work on the Great Books, Adler authored numerous books and essays on philosophy, education, and ethics. His book How to Read a Book (co-authored with Charles Van Doren) became a popular guide on the art of reading and comprehension.

Throughout his career, Mortimer J. Adler was associated with the University of Chicago, where he served as a professor and associated with the university's Committee on Social Thought. His engagement in public discourse through lectures, writings, and educational initiatives helped bridge the gap between academia and the broader public. Mortimer Adler passed away on June 28, 2001, leaving behind a legacy of intellectual curiosity, educational reform, and a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge. His influence on the fields of philosophy and education endures, particularly in his advocacy for a classical education that emphasizes the great ideas and works of Western civilization.

The Four Dimensions of Philosophy: Metaphysical, Moral, Objective, Categorical

This book is about philosophy's relationship to and difference from other disciplines, such as history, maths, physics, and even poetry. The author demonstrates how philosophy - like history, but unlike physics - is reflexive. That is, one may write a history of history as well as a history of physics, but not a physics of physics.

The Great Ideas: a Lexicon of Western Thought

The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought stands as a monumental work of intellectual exploration, conceived by the renowned philosopher Mortimer J. Adler. Adler emerged as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, known for his commitment to promoting intellectual inquiry and fostering a deeper understanding of the human experience.

Published in 1952, The Great Ideas represents Adler's ambitious endeavor to compile and elucidate the key concepts that have shaped Western civilization. Drawing upon the wisdom of philosophers, scientists, theologians, and artists from antiquity to the modern era, Adler constructs a comprehensive lexicon that spans the breadth of human knowledge. At the heart of The Great Ideas lies Adler's belief in the power of ideas to illuminate the human condition and guide humanity toward greater wisdom and virtue. Through meticulous scholarship and insightful commentary, he explores a vast array of topics, including ethics, politics, metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and more.

Adler's approach is both erudite and accessible, making complex philosophical concepts understandable to readers of all backgrounds. Each entry in the lexicon serves as a gateway to deeper exploration, inviting readers to engage critically with the intellectual heritage of the Western tradition. The Great Ideas is more than just a reference work—it is a testament to the enduring relevance of philosophical inquiry in our quest for meaning and understanding. Adler's passion for knowledge and his commitment to intellectual excellence continue to inspire readers to engage with the great ideas that have shaped human history and continue to shape our future. Since its publication, The Great Ideas has remained a foundational text for students, scholars, and anyone seeking to broaden their intellectual horizons. Mortimer J. Adler's legacy endures in the pages of this timeless masterpiece, reminding us of the transformative power of ideas to enrich our lives and expand our minds.

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