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Mortimer J. Adler From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [hide]This article has multiple issues.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008) This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic ent ry. (March 2012) Mortimer J. Adler Mortimer Adler, 1988.jpg Mortimer J. Adler Born Mortimer Jerome Adler December 28, 1902 New York City, New York, United States Died June 28, 2001 (aged 98) Palo Alto, California, United States Era 20th-century philosophy Region Western Philosophy School Aristotelian, Thomist Main interests Philosophical theology, metaphysics, ethics Influenced by[show] Influenced[show] Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 June 28, 2001) was an American philosop her, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristot elian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for the longest stretches in New York C ity, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo, California.[1] He worked for Columbi a University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopdia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research. Contents [hide] 1 Biography 1.1 New York City 1.2 Chicago 1.3 "Great Books" and beyond 1.4 Popular appeal 1.5 Controversy 2 Religion and theology 3 Philosophy 3.1 Moral philosophy 3.2 The intellect 3.3 Free will 3.3.1 Three meanings of freedom 3.3.2 Volume two 3.4 God 3.5 Religion in modern times 4 Personal 5 Books by Adler 5.1 Collections edited by Adler 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links Biography[edit] New York City[edit] Adler was born in New York City on December 28, 1902, to Jewish immigrants. He d ropped out of school at age 14 to become a copy boy for the New York Sun, with t he ultimate aspiration to become a journalist.[2] Adler soon returned to school to take writing classes at night where he discovered the works of men he would c ome to call heroes: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, John Stuart Mill and

others.[3] He went on to study at Columbia University and contributed to the stu dent literary magazine, The Morningside, (a poem "Choice" in 1922 when Charles A . Wagner[4] was editor-in-chief and Whittaker Chambers an associate editor).[5] Though he refused to take the required swimming test for a bachelor's degree (a matter that was rectified when Columbia gave him an honorary degree in 1983), he stayed at the university and eventually received an instructorship and finally a doctorate in psychology.[6] While at Columbia University, Adler wrote his firs t book: Dialectic, published in 1927.[7] Chicago[edit] In 1930 Robert Hutchins, the newly appointed president of the University of Chic ago, whom Adler had befriended some years earlier, arranged for Chicago s law scho ol to hire him as a professor of the philosophy of law; the philosophers at Chic ago (who included James H. Tufts, E.A. Burtt, and George H. Mead) had "entertain ed grave doubts as to Dr. Adler's competence in the field [of philosophy]" and r esisted Adler's appointment to the University's Department of Philosophy.[8] Adl er was the first "non-lawyer" to join the law school faculty.[9] Adler also taug ht philosophy to business executives at the Aspen Institute.[7] "Great Books" and beyond[edit] Adler and Hutchins went on to found the Great Books of the Western World program and the Great Books Foundation. He founded and served as director of the Instit ute for Philosophical Research in 1952. He also served on the Board of Editors o f Encyclopdia Britannica from its inception in 1949, and succeeded Hutchins as it s chairman from 1974. As the director of editorial planning for the fifteenth ed ition of Britannica from 1965, he was instrumental in the major reorganization o f knowledge embodied in that edition.[10] He introduced the Paideia Proposal whi ch resulted in his founding the Paideia Program, a grade-school curriculum cente red around guided reading and discussion of difficult works (as judged for each grade). With Max Weismann, he founded the Center for the Study of The Great Idea s in 1990 in Chicago. Popular appeal[edit] Adler long strove to bring philosophy to the masses, and some of his works (such as How to Read a Book) became popular bestsellers. He was also an advocate of e conomic democracy and wrote an influential preface to Louis O. Kelso's The Capit alist Manifesto.[11] Adler was often aided in his thinking and writing by Arthur Rubin, an old friend from his Columbia undergraduate days. In his own words: Unlike many of my contemporaries, I never write books for my fellow professors t o read. I have no interest in the academic audience at all. I'm interested in Jo e Doakes. A general audience can read any book I write and they do. Dwight MacDonald once criticized Adler's popular style by saying "Mr. Adler once wrote a book called How to Read a Book. He should now read a book called How to Write a Book."[12] Controversy[edit] The ethnic composition of Adler's Great Books list was controversial in some aca demic circles, as was his response to accompanying criticism. Some fellow academ ics characterized the list as ethnically exclusive with Henry Louis Gates saying the assembly of the list showed a "profound disrespect for the intellectual cap acities of people of color--red, brown or yellow." Others, such as E. D. Hirsch, Jr., claim the Great Books of the Western World project was inherently unnecess ary, saying that an understanding of shared cultural items within books is more important than reading them. Adler was asked in a 1990 interview with the LA Tim es why his Great Books of the Western World list did not include more non-whites and non-Europeans. He attributed the lack of Latino authors to the lack of reco mmendations by Mexican poet and committee member Octavio Paz, and the lack of bl ack authors to a lack of books good enough to fit the criteria. In the face of c riticism Adler maintained that ethnic quotas were irrelevant to the subject.[13] Religion and theology[edit] Adler was born into a nonobservant Jewish family. In his early twenties, he disc overed St. Thomas Aquinas, and in particular the Summa Theologica.[14] Many year s later, he wrote that its "intellectual austerity, integrity, precision and bri

lliance...put the study of theology highest among all of my philosophical intere sts".[15] An enthusiastic Thomist, he was a frequent contributor to Catholic phi losophical and educational journals, as well as a frequent speaker at Catholic i nstitutions, so much so that some assumed he was a convert to Catholicism. But t hat was reserved for later.[14] In 1940, James T. Farrell called Adler "the leading American fellow-traveller of the Roman Catholic Church". What was true for Adler, Farrell said, was what was "postulated in the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church", and he "sang the same t une" as avowed Catholic philosophers like tienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain and Mar tin D'Arcy. Farrell attributed Adler's delay in joining the Church to his being among those Christians who "wanted their cake and...wanted to eat it too", and c ompared him to the Emperor Constantine, who waited until he was on his deathbed to formally become a Catholic.[16] Adler took a long time to make up his mind about theological issues. When he wro te How to Think About God: A Guide for the Twentieth-Century Pagan in 1980, he c laimed to consider himself the pagan of the book's subtitle. In volume 51 of the Mars Hill Audio Journal (2001), Ken Myers includes his 1980 interview with Adle r, conducted after How to Think About God was published. Myers reminisces, "Duri ng that interview, I asked him why he had never embraced the Christian faith him self. He explained that while he had been profoundly influenced by a number of C hristian thinkers during his life,... there were moral not intellectual obstacle s to his conversion. He didn't explain any further."[17] Myers notes that Adler finally "surrendered to the Hound of Heaven" and "made a confession of faith and was baptized" as an Episcopalian in 1984, only a few yea rs after that interview. Offering insight into Adler's conversion, Myers quotes him from a subsequent 1990 article in Christianity magazine: "My chief reason fo r choosing Christianity was because the mysteries were incomprehensible. What's the point of revelation if we could figure it out ourselves? If it were wholly c omprehensible, then it would just be another philosophy."[17] According to his friend Deal Hudson, Adler "had been attracted to Catholicism fo r many years" and "wanted to be a Roman Catholic, but issues like abortion and t he resistance of his family and friends" kept him away. Many thought he was bapt ized as an Episcopalian rather than a Catholic solely because of his "wonderful and ardently Episcopal wife" Caroline. Hudson suggests it is no coincidence that it was only after her death in 1998 that he took the final step.[18] In Decembe r 1999, in San Mateo, where he had moved to spend his last years, Adler was form ally received into the Catholic Church by a long-time friend and admirer, Bishop Pierre DuMaine.[14] "Finally," wrote another friend, Ralph McInerny, "he became the Roman Catholic he had been training to be all his life".[2] Despite not being a Catholic for most of his life, Adler can be considered a Cat holic philosopher on account of his lifelong participation in the Neo-Thomist mo vement[17] and his almost equally long membership of the American Catholic Philo sophical Association.[2] Philosophy[edit] Moral philosophy[edit] Adler referred to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as the "ethics of common sense" and also as "the only moral philosophy that is sound, practical, and undogmatic ". Thus, it is the only ethical doctrine that answers all the questions that mor al philosophy should and can attempt to answer, neither more nor less, and that has answers that are true by the standard of truth that is appropriate and appli cable to normative judgments. In contrast, he believed that other theories or do ctrines try to answer more questions than they can or fewer than they should, an d their answers are mixtures of truth and error, particularly the moral philosop hy of Immanuel Kant. Adler believed we are as enlightened by Aristotle s Ethics today as were those who listened to Aristotle's lectures when they were first delivered because the eth ical problems that human beings confront in their lives have not changed over th e centuries. Moral virtue and the blessings of good fortune are today, as they h ave always been in the past, the keys to living well, unaffected by all the tech

nological changes in the environment, as well as those in our social, political, and economic institutions. He believed that the moral problems to be solved by the individual are the same in every century, though they appear to us in differ ent guises. According to Adler, six indispensable conditions must be met in the effort to de velop a sound moral philosophy that corrects all the errors made in modern times . First and foremost is the definition of prescriptive truth, which sharply distin guishes it from the definition of descriptive truth. Descriptive truth consists in the agreement or conformity of the mind with reality. When we think that that which is, is, and that which is not, is not, we think truly. To be true, what w e think must conform to the way things are. In sharp contrast, prescriptive trut h consists in the conformity of our appetites with right desire. The practical o r prescriptive judgments we make are true if they conform to right desire; or, i n other words, if they prescribe what we ought to desire. It is clear that presc riptive truth cannot be the same as descriptive truth; and if the only truth tha t human beings can know is descriptive truth the truth of propositions concernin g what is and is not then there can be no truth in ethics. Propositions containi ng the word "ought" cannot conform to reality. As a result, we have the twentiet h-century mistake of dismissing all ethical or value judgments as noncognitive. These must be regarded only as wishes or demands we make on others. They are per sonal opinions and subjective prejudices, not objective knowledge. In short, the very phrase "noncognitive ethics" declares that ethics is not a body of knowled ge. Second, in order to avoid the naturalistic fallacy, we must formulate at least o ne self-evident prescriptive truth, so that, with it as a premise, we can reason to the truth of other prescriptives. David Hume said that if we had perfect or complete descriptive knowledge of reality, we could not, by reasoning, derive a single valid ought. Third, the distinction between real and apparent goods must be understood, as we ll as the fact that only real goods are the objects of right desire. In the real m of appetite or desire, some desires are natural and some are acquired. Those t hat are natural are the same for all human beings as individual members of the h uman species. They are as much a part of our natural endowment as our sensitive faculties and our skeletal structure. Other desires we acquire in the course of experience, under the influence of our upbringing or nurturing, or of environmen tal factors that differ from individual to individual. Individuals differ in the ir acquired desires, as they do not in their natural desires. This is essentiall y the difference between "needs" and "wants." What is really good for us is not really good because we desire it, but the very opposite. We desire it because it is really good. By contrast, that which only appears good to us (and may or may not be really good for us) appears good to us simply because we want it at the moment. Its appearing good is the result of our wanting it, and as our wants cha nge, as they do from day to day, so do the things that appear good to us. In lig ht of the definition of prescriptive truth as conformity with right desire, we c an see that prescriptions are true only when they enjoin us to want what we need , since every need is for something that is really good for us. If right desire is desiring what we ought to desire, and if we ought to desire only that which i s really good for us and nothing else, then we have found the one controlling se lf-evident principle of all ethical reasoning the one indispensable categorical imperative. That self-evident principle can be stated as follows: we ought to de sire everything that is really good for us.The principle is self-evident because its opposite is unthinkable. It is unthinkable that we ought to desire anything that is really bad for us; and it is equally unthinkable that we ought not to d esire everything that is really good for us. The meanings of the crucial words " ought" and "really good" co-implicate each other, as do the words "part" and "wh ole" when we say that the whole is greater than any of its parts is a self-evide nt truth. Given this self-evident prescriptive principle, and given the facts of human nature that tell us what we naturally need, we can reason our way to a wh ole series of prescriptive truths, all categorical.

Fourth, in all practical matters or matters of conduct, the end precedes the mea ns in our thinking about them, while in action we move from means to ends. But w e cannot think about our ends until, among them, we have discovered our final or ultimate end the end that leaves nothing else to be rightly desired. The only w ord that names such a final or ultimate end is "happiness." No one can ever say why he or she wants happiness because happiness is not an end that is also a mea ns to something beyond itself. This truth cannot be understood without comprehen ding the distinction between terminal and normative ends. A terminal end, as in travel, is one that a person can reach at some moment and come to rest in. Termi nal ends, such as psychological contentment, can be reached and then rested in o n some days, but not others. Happiness, not conceived as psychologically experie nced contentment, but rather as a whole life well lived, is not a terminal end b ecause it is never attained at any time in the course of one's whole life. If al l ends were terminal ends, there could not be any one of them that is the final or ultimate end in the course of living from moment to moment. Only a normative end can be final and ultimate. Happiness functions as the end that ought to cont rol all the right choices we make in the course of living. Though we never have happiness ethically understood at any moment of our lives, we are always on the way to happiness if we freely make the choices that we ought to make in order to achieve our ultimate normative end of having lived well. But we suffer many acc idents in the course of our lives, things beyond our control outrageous misfortu nes or the blessings of good fortunes. Moral virtue alone or the habits of choos ing as we ought is a necessary, but not sufficient condition of living well. The other necessary, but also not sufficient condition is good fortune. The fifth condition is that there is not a plurality of moral virtues (which are named in so many ethical treatises), but only one integral moral virtue. There may be a plurality of aspects to moral virtue, but moral virtue is like a cube w ith many faces. The unity of moral virtue is understood when it is realized that the many faces it has may be analytically but not existentially distinct. In ot her words, considering the four so-called cardinal virtues temperance, courage, justice, and prudence the unity of virtue declares that no one can have any one of these four without also having the other three. Since justice names an aspect of virtue that is other regarding, while temperance and courage name aspects of virtue that are self-regarding, and both the self- and other regarding aspects of virtue involve prudence in the making of moral choices, no one can be selfish in his right desires without also being altruistic, and conversely. This explai ns why a morally virtuous person ought to be just even though his or her being j ust may appear only to serve the good of others. According to the unity of virtu e, the individual cannot have the self-regarding aspects of virtue temperance an d courage without also having the other regarding aspect of virtue, which is jus tice. The sixth and final condition in Adler s teleological ethics is acknowledging the primacy of the good and deriving the right therefrom. Those who assert the prima cy of the right make the mistake of thinking that they can know what is right, w hat is morally obligatory in our treatment of others, without first knowing what is really good for ourselves in the course of trying to live a morally good lif e. Only when we know what is really good for ourselves can we know what are our duties or moral obligations toward others. The primacy of the good with respect to the right corrects the mistake of thinking that we are acting morally if we d o nothing that injures others. Our first moral obligation is to ourselves to see k all the things that are really good for us, the things all of us need, and onl y those apparent goods that are innocuous rather than noxious. The intellect[edit] Adler was a self-proclaimed moderate dualist , and viewed the positions of psychoph ysical dualism and materialistic monism to be opposite sides of two extremes. Re garding dualism, he dismissed the extreme form of dualism that stemmed from such philosophers as Plato (body and soul) and Descartes (mind and matter): Strictly speaking, a human being (as defined by the dualistic theory) is not wha t common sense supposes that person to be: one indivisible thing. That person is actually divided into two individual things, as different and distinct as the r

ower and the rowboat in which he sits. If this dualistic theory were true, it wo uld confront us with the most embarrassing, insoluble difficulties should we try to explain how these two utterly different substances could interact with one a nother, as they appear to do in human behavior. Brain injuries or defects produc e mental disabilities or disorders. We also have the reports from neurological s urgery that tell of electrical stimulation of the brain producing conscious expe riences. How can this be so if mind and brain are as separate as the rower and t he rowboat, a separation so complete that it permits the rowboat to be sunk whil e the rower swims away unharmed? Adler also disagreed with the theory of extreme monism. He believed that while m ind and brain may be existentially inseparable, and so regarded as one and the s ame thing, the mental and the physical may still be analytically distinct aspect s of it. He put this theory to the test in the following manner: Let a surgeon open up an individual's brain for inspection while the patient rem ains conscious. Let the surgeon dictate to a secretary his detailed observation of the visible area of the brain under scrutiny, and let that area of the brain be its center for vision. Let the patient dictate to another secretary a detaile d description of the visible walls of the room in which the surgery is occurring . The language used by the surgeon and the language used by the patient will be irreducibly different: the one will contain words referring to physical phenomen a occurring in the brain; the other, words referring to conscious experiences of the room. The extreme monism that asserts not only the existential unity of bra in and mind, but also that there is no analytical distinction between them, thus becomes untenable.[19] Adler was also a harsh critic of the Mind-Brain Identity Theory: One extremist theory about mind and brain asserts their identity. Used literally , the word "identity" must here mean that there is no distinction whatsoever bet "mind" and "brain" ween mind and brain. That, in turn, means that the two words are strict synonyms. If that is the case, we cannot meaningfully ask about the r elation of psychology to neurology because psychology is identical with neurolog y.[19] After eliminating the extremes, Adler subscribed to a more moderate form of dual ism. He believed that the brain is only a necessary, but not a sufficient, condi tion for conceptual thought; that an immaterial[disambiguation needed] intellect is also requisite as a condition; and that the difference between human and ani mal behavior is a radical difference in kind. His reason for this is that their cognitive sensory powers do not and cannot apprehend universals. Their cognitive reach does not go beyond particulars. Hence, we would not be able to apprehend universals if we did not have another and quite distinct cognitive power the pow er of intellect. Our concepts are universal in their signification of objects th at are kinds or classes of things rather than individuals that are particular in stances of these classes or kinds. Since they have universality, they cannot exi st physically or be embodied in matter. But concepts do exist in our minds. They are there as acts of our intellectual power. Hence that power must be an immate rial power, not one embodied in a material organ such as the brain. Adler argued that if such an immaterial power did not exist in human beings, our use of common nouns would not be possible. Particular instances are designated by proper names or definite descriptions. When we use the word "dog," we are ref erring to any dog, regardless of breed, size, shape, or color. To refer to a par ticular instance, we would use a canine name, such as "Fido," or a definite desc ription, such as "that white poodle over there lying in front of the fire." Our concepts of dog and poodle not only enable us to think about two classes of anim als, they also enable us to understand what it is like to be a dog or a poodle. According to Adler, The action of the brain, therefore, cannot be the sufficient condition of conceptual thought, though it may still be a necessary condition t hereof, insofar as the exercise of our power of conceptual thought depends on th e exercise of our powers of perception, memory, and imagination, which are corpo real powers embodied in our sense-organs and brain. Only if the brain is not the sufficient condition for intellectual activity and conceptual thought (only if the intellect that is part of the human mind and is

not found in other animals is the immaterial factor that must be added to the br ain in order to provide conditions both necessary and sufficient) are we justifi ed in concluding that the manifest difference in kind between human and animal m inds, and between human and animal behavior, is radical, not superficial. It can not be explained away by any difference in the physical constitution of human be ings and other animals that is a difference in degree. Adler defended this position against many challenges to dualistic theories. For example, David Hume believed that man is equipped with sensitive faculties only, and has no intellect. As a nominalist, Hume then faced the problem of how to ex plain the meaning of the general words in our everyday language; for example, th e common nouns that signify classes or kinds. Hume attempted to solve this probl em by arguing that when we use words that appear to have general significance, w e are applying them to a number of perceived individuals indifferently; that is, without any difference in the meaning of the word thus applied. Adler found this explanation to be a complete contradiction. To say that we can apply words to a number of individuals indifferently amounts to saying that ther e is a certain sameness in the individual thing that the speaker or writer recog nizes. He argued that if human beings enjoy the powers of conceptual, as opposed to perceptual thought, there would be no difficulty in explaining how words sig nify universals or generalities. They would derive their significance from conce pts that give us our understanding of classes or kinds. As for the challenge that man s understanding is derived only from sense, and to t he denial of "abstract" or "general ideas, Adler cites the following quote: Let any man try to conceive of a triangle in general, which is neither Isosceles , Scalenum, nor has any particular length or proportion of sides; and he will so on perceive the absurdity of all the scholastic notions with regard to abstracti on and general ideas. Adler responded to this challenge in his book "Ten Philosophical Mistakes": There we have it in a nut shell. If all we have are sense-perceptions and images derived from sense, then we can never be aware of anything but a particular tri angle, one that is either isosceles, scalene, or equilateral, one that has a cer tain size or area, one the lines of which are either black or some other color, and so on. What is here said of triangles can be said of everything else. We are never aware of anything except particular individuals-whether by perception or imagination-this cow or that, this tree or that, this chair or that, each with t his one particular instance of a certain kind of thing. We may have a name for t hat certain kind, as we do when we use such words as triangle , cow , tree , and "chair", but we have no idea of that kind as such. We have no idea or understanding of t riangularity as such, or of what any individual must be like to be a particular triangle, cow, tree, or chair. Only our words are general. Nothing in reality is general; everything there is particular. So, too, nothing in the mind is genera l; everything is particular. Generality exists only in the words of our language , the words that are common, not proper, names. Those who regard the human mind as having intellectual as well as sensitive powers have no difficulty in meeting Hume s challenge head on. By means of an abstract concept, we understand what is common to all the particular cows, trees, and chairs that we can perceive or ima gine. Mortimer J. Adler, Ten Philosophical Mistakes, p. 41-42 Free will[edit] The meanings of freedom and free will have been and are under debate, and the debate is confused because there is no generally accepted definition of either freedom o r free will. [20] Freedom and free will are often treated together because free will i ommonly used as synonymous with freedom. [21] Three meanings of freedom[edit] Adler s Institute for Philosophical Research spent ten years studying the idea of fre edom as the word was used by hundreds of authors who have discussed and disputed freedom.[22] The study was published in 1958 as Volume One of The Idea of Freedo m, sub-titled A Dialectical Examination of the Idea of Freedom with subsequent c omments in Adler's Philosophical Dictionary. Adler s study concluded that a deline ation of three kinds of freedom is necessary for clarity on the subject. These t

hree kinds of freedom were delineated as follows:[23] 1. Circumstantial freedom denotes freedom from coercion or restraint, a freedom that allows us to do as we please. Thus, circumstantial freedom was also called the fre edom of self-realization. It has been observed that this is the kind of freedom t hat Thomas Hobbes and David Hume thought was compatible with determinism. 2. Natural freedom denotes freedom of a free will or free choice. It is the freedom to determine one s own decisions or plans. This freedom exists in everyone as a natur al endowment. It is, according to Adler, (i) inherent in all men, (ii) regardless of the circumstances under which they live and (iii) without regard to any state of mind or character which they may or may not acquire in the course of their l ives. 3. Acquired freedom (also called moral freedom ) is the freedom to live as [one] ought to live. In his description of acquired freedom, Adler sometimes used freedom s sy nonym ability. [24] Thus, Adler described acquired freedom as the ability to will as we ought to will and the ability to act as we ought to act. This kind of freedom /ability is not inherent: it must be acquired. To live as one ought requires a ch ange or development whereby a person acquires a state of mind, or character, or pe rsonality that can be described by such qualities as good, wise, virtuous, righteo us, holy, healthy, sound, flexible, etc. As Adler s interest in religion and theology increased, he made references to the Bible and the need to test its articles of faith for compatibility with certaint ies from fields of natural knowledge such as science and philosophy.[25] The art icle Theodicy and the Bible demonstrates the compatibility between Adler s three k inds of freedom and the Bible. Volume two[edit] In 1961, Volume 2, The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of the Controv ersies about Freedom was published. In it Adler revisits the idea of a natural f reedom of self-determination, which explicitly includes alternative possibilitie s and the uncaused self as a cause so our actions are "up to us." The uncaused s elf decides by choosing from prior alternative possibilities. We have employed the following descriptive formula to summarize the understandin g of self-determination that is shared by authors who affirm man's possession of such freedom. They regard it, we have said, as "a freedom which is possessed by all men, in virtue of a power inherent in human nature, whereby a man is able t o change his own character creatively by deciding for himself what he shall do o r shall become. We have further explained that "being able to change one's own character creativ ely by deciding for one's self what one shall do or shall become" expresses the topical agreement about self-determination only when at least two of the three f ollowing points are affirmed: (i) that the decision is intrinsically unpredictable, i.e., given perfect knowle dge of all relevant causes, the decision cannot be foreseen or predicted with ce rtitude; (ii) that the decision is not necessitated, i.e., the decision is always one of a number of alternative possible decisions any one of which it was simultaneousl y within the power of the self to cause, no matter what other antecedent or conc urrent factors exercise a causal influence on the making of the decision; (iii) that the decision flows from the causal initiative of the self, i.e., on t he plane of natural or finite causes, the self is the uncaused cause of the deci sion it makes. These three points, as we shall see, generate three distinct existential issues about man's natural freedom of self-determination. Writers who deny (iii) that, on the plane of natural or finite causes, there are any uncaused causes deny, in consequence, the existence of a freedom the conception of which posits such cau ses. Writers who deny (ii) that an effect can be caused in a manner which does n ot necessitate it deny, in consequence, the existence of a freedom the conceptio n of which attributes to the self the power of causing but not necessitating the decisions it makes. The existence of self-determination is also denied by write rs who claim (i) that God's omniscience excludes a freedom the conception of whi ch involves the intrinsic unpredictability of decisions that are the product of

man's power of self-determination. Mortimer J. Adler, The Idea of Freedom, vol.II, p.225 In points (i) and (ii) Adler has defined a two-stage model of free will like tha t of William James and a dozen other philosophers and scientists.[26] God[edit] In his 1981 book How to Think About God, Adler attempts to demonstrate God as th e exnihilator [the creator of something from nothing][3] of the cosmos. The step s taken to demonstrate this are as follows: The existence of an effect requiring the concurrent existence and action of an e fficient cause implies the existence and action of that cause The cosmos as a whole exists The existence of the cosmos as a whole is radically contingent (meaning that it needs an efficient cause of its continuing existence to preserve it in being, an d prevent it from being annihilated, or reduced to nothing) If the cosmos needs an efficient cause of its continuing existence, then that ca use must be a supernatural being, supernatural in its action, and one the existe nce of which is uncaused, in other words, the Supreme Being, or God The reason we can conceive the cosmos as being radically rather than superficial ly contingent is due to the fact that the cosmos which now exists is only one of many possible universes that might have in fact existed in the past, and might still exist in the future. This is not to say that any cosmos other than this on e ever did exist in the past, or ever will exist in the future. It is not necess ary to go that far in order to say that other universes might have existed in th e past and might exist in the future. If other universes are possible, than this one also is merely possible, not necessary. In other words, the universe as we know it today is not the only universe that c an ever exist in time. How do we know that the present cosmos is only a possible universe (one of many possibilities that might exist), and not a necessary univ erse (the only one that can ever exist)? We can infer it from the fact that the order and disorder, the arrangement and disarray, of the present cosmos might ha ve been otherwise. That it might have been different from what it is. There is n o compelling reason to think that the natural laws which govern the present cosm os are the only possible natural laws. The cosmos as we know it manifests chance and random happenings, as well as lawful behavior. Even the electrons and proto ns, which are thought to be imperishable once they exist as the building blocks of the present cosmos, might not be the building blocks for a different cosmos. The next step in the argument is the crucial one. It consists in saying that wha tever might have been otherwise in shape or structure is something that also mig ht not exist at all. That which cannot be otherwise also cannot not exist; and c onversely, what necessarily exists can not be otherwise than it is. Therefore, a cosmos which can be otherwise is one that also can not be; and conversely, a co smos that is capable of not existing at all is one that can be otherwise than it now is. Applying this insight to the fact that the existing cosmos is merely one of a pl urality of possible universes, we come to the conclusion that the cosmos, radica lly contingent in existence, would not exist at all were its existence not cause d. A merely possible cosmos cannot be an uncaused cosmos. A cosmos that is radic ally contingent in existence, and needs a cause of that existence, needs a super natural cause, one that exists and acts to exnihilate this merely possible cosmo s, thus preventing the realization of what is always possible for merely a possi ble cosmos, namely, its absolute non-existence or reduction to nothingness. Adler finishes by pointing out that the conclusion reached conforms to Ockham s ru le (the rule which states that we are justified in positing or asserting the rea l existence of unobserved or unobservable entities if-and only-if their real exi stence is indispensable for the explanation of observable phenomena) because we have found it necessary to posit the existence of God, the Supreme Being, in ord er to explain what needs to be explained-the actual existence here and now of a merely possible cosmos. The argument also appeals to the principle of sufficient reason. Adler stressed that even with this conclusion, God's existence cannot be proven

or demonstrated, but only established as true beyond a reasonable doubt. However , in a recent re-review of the argument, John Cramer concluded that recent devel opments in cosmology appear to converge with and support Adler's argument, and t hat in light of such theories as the multiverse, the argument is no worse for we ar and may, indeed, now be judged somewhat more probable than it was originally. [27] Religion in modern times[edit] Adler believed that, if theology and religion are living things, there is nothin g intrinsically wrong about efforts to modernize them. They must be open to chan ge and growth like everything else. Further, there is no reason to be surprised when discussions such as those about the "death of God" a concept drawn from Nie tzsche stir popular excitement as they did in the recent past, and could do so a gain today. According to Adler, of all the great ideas, the idea of God has alwa ys been and continues to be the one that evokes the greatest concern among the w idest group of men and women. However, he was opposed to the idea of converting atheism into a new form of religion or theology, and cited many "new theologians " such as William Hamilton, Paul Van Buren, Thomas Altizer and Gabriel Vahanian, who promoted this error: Have any great intellectual events been ushered in by the new and "radical" theo logians? Any new truths in theology? None. Any new insights into the nature of r eligion? None. Any new advances for the reform of religion? None. The authors wh o gave currency to the notions of the new "radical theology" supported their ass ertions with nothing more substantial than the kind of proof that would satisfy the bellman in Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark who cried: "What I tell you three times is true!" There was, however, a close accord between the ambiguous l anguage they used and their purpose. Their purpose was to transform atheism into a new theology "the religionless Christianity," "atheistic religion," "seculari zed Christianity" to preserve some of Christianity's religious teaching while se cularizing and combining it with atheism. So the question emerges again. What is new about the new theology? Again the answer is nothing. Atheism is not new, no r is irreligion, nor is secularism. These are very old even when they sounded in the work of the eminent modern predecessors of the new theologians.[28] Adler saw such movements as obvious and disingenuous attempts to convert atheism and secularism into new forms of religion, rather than calling them by their ri ght names: For my part, I respect the honest clear-minded atheist who denies that God exist s and tries to offer thought out reasons for the denial. I respect the honest, c ritically minded agnostic who denies we can ever know whether God exists or not, and treats religious belief as a pure act of faith, incapable of being supporte d or challenged by rational analysis or empirical knowledge of the world. I resp ect the person who, in his horror of the superstitions and persecutions that hav e attended the practices of religious institutions, rejects the whole of religio n as something from which man should emancipate himself. But I cannot respect th ose who corrupt the integrity of words in the very act of addressing matters of central importance in theology and religion. I cannot respect those who instead of calling atheism by its right name, contrive a peculiar set of excuses for ath eism (as in the "death of God movement") and then in spite of laws against false labeling call the result a new theology.[28] With regard to the apparent increase of secularism or irreligion in Western soci ety, Adler responded: I suggest that the men and women who have given up religion because of the impac t on their minds of modern science and philosophy were never truly religious in the first place, but only superstitious. The prevalence and predominance of scie nce in our culture has cured a great many of the superstitious beliefs that cons tituted their false religiosity. The increase of secularism and irreligion in ou r society does not reflect a decrease in the number of persons who are truly rel igious, but a decrease in the number of those who are falsely religious; that is , merely superstitious. There is no question but that science is the cure for su perstition, and, if given half the chance with education, it will reduce the amo unt that exists. The truths of religion must be compatible with the truths of sc

ience and the truths of philosophy. As scientific knowledge advances, and as phi losophical analysis improves, religion is progressively purified of the supersti tions that accidentally attach themselves to it as parasites. That being so, it is easier in fact to be more truly religious today than ever before, precisely b ecause of the advances that have been made in science and philosophy. That is to say, it is easier for those who will make the effort to think clearly in and ab out religion, not for those whose addiction to religion is nothing more than a s lavish adherence to inherited superstition. Throughout the whole of the past, on ly a small number of men were ever truly religious. The vast majority who gave t heir epochs and their societies the appearance of being religious were primarily and essentially superstitious. [29] Personal[edit] Mortimer Adler was married twice and had four children.[30] Books by Adler[edit] Dialectic (1927) The Nature of Judicial Proof: An Inquiry into the Logical, Legal, and Empirical Aspects of the Law of Evidence (1931, with Jerome Michael) Diagrammatics (1932, with Maude Phelps Hutchins) Crime, Law and Social Science (1933, with Jerome Michael) Art and Prudence: A Study in Practical Philosophy (1937) What Man Has Made of Man: A Study of the Consequences of Platonism and Positivis m in Psychology (1937)[31] St. Thomas and the Gentiles (1938) The Philosophy and Science of Man: A Collection of Texts as a Foundation for Eth ics and Politics (1940) How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a Liberal Education (1940), 1966 edition subtitled A Guide to Reading the Great Books, 1972 revised edition with Charles Van Doren, The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading: ISBN 0-671-21209-5 A Dialectic of Morals: Towards the Foundations of Political Philosophy (1941) How to Think About War and Peace (1944) The Revolution in Education (1944, with Milton Mayer) The Capitalist Manifesto (1958, with Louis O. Kelso) ISBN 0-8371-8210-7 The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of the Conceptions of Freedom (19 58) The New Capitalists: A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savi ngs (1961, with Louis O. Kelso) The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of the Controversies about Freedo m (1961) Great Ideas from the Great Books (1961) The Conditions of Philosophy: Its Checkered Past, Its Present Disorder, and Its Future Promise (1965) The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes (1967) The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense (1970) The Common Sense of Politics (1971) The American Testament (1975, with William Gorman) Some Questions About Language: A Theory of Human Discourse and Its Objects (1976 ) Philosopher at Large: An Intellectual Autobiography (1977) Reforming Education: The Schooling of a People and Their Education Beyond School ing (1977, edited by Geraldine Van Doren) Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy (1978) ISBN 0-684-83823-0 How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan (1980) ISBN 0-02-0160 22-4 Six Great Ideas: Truth-Goodness-Beauty-Liberty-Equality-Justice (1981) ISBN 0-02 -072020-3 The Angels and Us (1982) The Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto (1982) How to Speak / How to Listen (1983) ISBN 0-02-500570-7

Paideia Problems and Possibilities: A Consideration of Questions Raised by The P aideia Proposal (1983) A Vision of the Future: Twelve Ideas for a Better Life and a Better Society (198 4) ISBN 0-02-500280-5 The Paideia Program: An Educational Syllabus (1984, with Members of the Paideia Group) Ten Philosophical Mistakes (1985) ISBN 0-02-500330-5 A Guidebook to Learning: For a Lifelong Pursuit of Wisdom (1986) We Hold These Truths: Understanding the Ideas and Ideals of the Constitution (19 87) Reforming Education: The Opening of the American Mind (1988, edited by Geraldine Van Doren) Intellect: Mind Over Matter (1990) Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth (1990) ISBN 0-02-064140-0 Haves Without Have-Nots: Essays for the 21st Century on Democracy and Socialism (1991) ISBN 0-02-500561-8 Desires, Right & Wrong: The Ethics of Enough (1991) A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror: Further Autobiographical Reflections of a Philosopher At Large (1992) The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought (1992) Natural Theology, Chance, and God (The Great Ideas Today, 1992) The Four Dimensions of Philosophy: Metaphysical-Moral-Objective-Categorical (199 3) Art, the Arts, and the Great Ideas (1994) Adler's Philosophical Dictionary: 125 Key Terms for the Philosopher's Lexicon (1 995) How to Think About The Great Ideas (2000) ISBN 0-8126-9412-0 How to Prove There is a God (2011) ISBN 978-0-8126-9689-9 Collections edited by Adler[edit] Scholasticism and Politics (1940) Great Books of the Western World (1952, 52 volumes), 2nd edition 1990, 60 volume s A Syntopicon: An Index to The Great Ideas (1952, 2 volumes), 2nd edition 1990 The Great Ideas Today (1961 1977, 17 volumes), with Robert Hutchins, 1978 1999, 20 v olumes The Negro in American History (1969, 3 volumes), with Charles Van Doren Gateway to the Great Books (1963, 10 volumes), with Robert Hutchins The Annals of America (1968, 21 volumes) Propdia: Outline of Knowledge and Guide to The New Encyclopdia Britannica 15th Edi tion (1974, 30 volumes) Great Treasury of Western Thought (1977, with Charles Van Doren) See also[edit] List of American philosophers Educational perennialism Liberal Arts, Inc. Liberal education Great Books Western canon References[edit] Jump up ^ ^ Jump up ^ Jump up Jump up ^ Jump up ^ ay 1922). Jump up ^ ^ Jump up http://www.thegreatideas.org/adlerbio_short.html to: a b c Ralph McInerny. "Memento Mortimer" to: a b Mortimer Adler: 1902 2001 The Day Philosophy Died Charles A. Wagner Obituary, The New York Times, December 10, 1986. The Morningside. Columbia University Press. 1922 (Vol x, Nos. 5 6, April M p. 113. ISBN 0-300-08462-5. "Remarkable Columbians" Columbia U. website on Adler to: a b Mortimer Adler

Jump up ^ Charles Van Doren,"Mortimer J. Adler (1902 2001)", Columbia Forum online , November 2002; Peter Temes, "Death of a Great Reader and Philosopher", Chicago Sun-Times, 3 July 2001; "grave doubts": "A Statement from the Department of Phi losophy" at Chicago, quoted on p. 186 in Gary Cook, George Herbert Mead: The Mak ing of a Social Pragmatist, U. of Illinois Press 1993. Jump up ^ Centennial Facts of the Day, U Chicago Law School website Jump up ^ Mortimer J. Adler (1986), A Guidebook to Learning: For the Lifelong Pu rsuit of Wisdom, New York: Macmillan, p.88. Jump up ^ Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler (1958). The Capitalist Manifesto Jump up ^ Rosenberg, Bernard. "Assaulting the American Mind." Dissent. Spring 19 88. Jump up ^ Elizabeth Venant, (3 December 1990). ""A Curmudgeon Stands His Ground" ". The Los Angeles Times. ^ Jump up to: a b c Peter Redpath. "A Tribute to Mortimer J. Adler" Jump up ^ Mortimer J. Adler (1992). A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror: Furthe r Autobiographical Reflections of a Philosopher at Large. New York: Macmillan, p . 264. Jump up ^ James T. Farrell (1940), "Mortimer T. Adler: A Provincial Torquemada". Reprinted in The League of Frightened Philistines and Other Papers. New York: V anguard Press, 1945, pp. 106 109. ^ Jump up to: a b c Mortimer Adler Biography, BasicFamousPeople.com. Jump up ^ Deal Hudson (June 29, 2009). "The Great Philosopher Who Became Catholi c" ^ Jump up to: a b Mortimer J. Adler. "Is Intellect Immaterial?". The Radical Aca demy Adler Archive. Jump up ^ Robert Kane, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, 10 and John Martin Fischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom, and Manuel Vargas, Four Views on Free Will (Blackwell, 2007) 128 and R. Eric Barnes, Mtholyoke.edu, accessed October 19, 2 009. Jump up ^ Ted Honderich, Determinism and Freedom Philosophy Its Terminology, UCL.a c.uk, accessed November 7, 2009. Jump up ^ Mortimer J. Adler, Adler's Philosophical Dictionary: 125 Key Terms for the Philosopher's Lexicon (Touchstone, 1995) s.v. Liberty, 137. Jump up ^ Mortimer J. Adler, The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of t he Idea of Freedom, Vol 1 (Doubleday, 1958), 127, 135, 149 and Mortimer J. Adler , Adler's Philosophical Dictionary: 125 Key Terms for the Philosopher's Lexicon (Touchstone, 1995) s.v. Liberty, 137-138. Jump up ^ Macmillan Dictionary s.v. freedom. Online at http://www.macmillandiction ary.com/us/thesaurus/american/freedom Jump up ^ Mortimer Adler, Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth (Macmillan, 1990; Touchstone reprint, 1992), 29-30. Jump up ^ Two-Stage Models for Free Will Jump up ^ John Cramer. "Adler's Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God". Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, March 1995, pp. 32 42. ^ Jump up to: a b Mortimer J. Adler. "Concerning God, Modern Man, and Religion ( Part One)". The Radical Academy Adler Archive. Jump up ^ Mortimer J. Adler. "Concerning God, Modern Man, and Religion (Part Two )". The Radical Academy Adler Archive. Jump up ^ William Grimes, "Mortimer Adler, 98, Dies; Helped Create Study of Clas sics," New York Times, June 29, 2001 Jump up ^ What Man Has Made Of Man, OCLC 807118494 Further reading[edit] Harry Ashmore, Unseasonable Truths: The Life of Robert Maynard Hutchins (New Yor k: Little Brown, 1989). Alex Beam, A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of th e Great Books (New York: Public Affairs, 2008). Mary Ann Dzuback, Robert M. Hutchins: Portrait of an Educator (Chicago: Universi ty of Chicago, 1991). Amy A. Kass, "Radical Conservatives for a Liberal Education" (Ph.D. diss., 1973)

. Tim Lacy, "Making a Democratic Culture: The Great Books Idea, Mortimer J. Adler, and Twentieth-Century America" (Ph.D. diss., Loyola University Chicago, 2006). William McNeill, Hutchins' University: A Memoir of the University of Chicago 192 9 50 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). Hugh Moorhead, "The Great Books Movement" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1 964). OCLC 6060691 Joan Shelley Rubin, The Making of Middlebrow Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992). External links[edit] Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mortimer J. Adler Center for the Study of The Great Ideas Mortimer J. Adler Archives Review of "A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of th e Great Books," with a lengthy commentary on Adler Mortimer Adler on Information Philosopher Mortimer Adler on the The Mike Wallace Interview September 7, 1958 Mortimer J. Adler at the Internet Movie Database Authority control WorldCat VIAF: 66506672 LCCN: n79055511 ISNI: 0000 0001 0910 4218 GND: 118982184 BNF: cb12164123r (data) NKC: js20020325010 Categories: 1902 births2001 deaths20th-century philosophersAmerican educationist sAmerican educatorsAmerican ethicistsAmerican former ProtestantsAmerican philoso phersAmerican political philosophersAmerican Roman CatholicsAristotelian philoso phersColumbia University alumniConverts to Anglicanism from JudaismEncyclopdia Br itannicaFormer EpiscopaliansJewish American writersJewish philosophersRoman Cath olic philosophersWorld federalistsNational Humanities Medal recipientsConverts t o Roman Catholicism from AnglicanismUniversity of Chicago Law School facultyThom ist philosophersMetaphysiciansColumbia University facultyChristian ethicists Navigation menu Create accountLog inArticleTalkReadEditView history Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia Wikimedia Shop Interaction Help About Wikipedia Community portal Recent changes Contact page Tools Print/export Languages ??????? Catal Ce tina Deutsch Eesti Espaol Euskara Franais Galego ??? ???????

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