In this classic work, Adler explores how man differs from all other things in the universe, bringing to bear both philosophical insight and informed scientific hypotheses concerning the biological and behavioral characteristics of mainkind. Rapid advances in science and technology and the abstract concepts of that influence on man and human value systems are lucidly outlined by Adler, as he touches on the effect of industrialization, and the clash of cultures and value systems brought about by increased communication between previously (...) isolated groups of people. Among the other problems this study addresses are the scientific achievements in biology and physics which have raised fundamental questions about humanity's essential nature, especially the discoveries in the bilogical relatedness of all living things. Thrown into high relief is humanity's struggle to determine its unique status in the natual world and its value in the world it has created. Ultimately, Adler's work develops an approach to the separation between scientific and philosophical questions which stands as a model of thought on philosophical considerations of new scientific discoveries and its consequences for the human person. (shrink)
The world today is divided not only by conflicting interests and ambitions, but also by rival conceptions of freedom. It is often pointed out that whereas the Anglo-American liberty, won chiefly through victories of dissenting religious sects, was mainly attentive to the rights of minorities, the French conception, owing much to Rousseau's theory of the General Will, and to the drastic course of revolution, put the emphasis on the sovereignty of the people and majority rights. In England the battles for (...) freedom were won, not on the barricades, but in Parliament, and not wholesale but bit by bit. However much the West may have ironed out in practice the discordance between these rival conceptions, the impact on the twentieth century has been momentous; for Hegel took over Rousseau's General Will. Marx and Engels adopted Hegel, somewhat inverted, and the Soviets built on Marx and Engels. This lineage of theory, as Edward Hallett Carr has pointed out, provides a background and a rationale for the Soviet emphasis on political solidarity and unanimity, and the corresponding neglect of individual and minority rights. For the backward and colonial nations today the Soviets, therefore, represent the ideal of popular unity to carry out large-scale economic plans, which usually require a drastic break with the past and new leaders; whereas the United States symbolizes economic aid with competition and opposition rights upheld. (shrink)
The proposition is not that there are a number of essentially distinct species or natures in the world of sensible things. It asserts the existence of nothing, though its intention is to assert something that, if true, is necessarily true of really existent things. Should existences be found to have natures that are essentially distinct, then the natural kinds thus discovered will necessarily constitute a hierarchical order.
Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? Is it possible to have a good life in our time? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and “a good life” interchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses himself to. The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life for man, which provides the standard for measuring a century, a (...) society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each man’s primary moral right – his right to the pursuit of happiness. The moral philosophy that Dr. Adler expounds in terms of this conception he calls “the ethics of common sense,” because it is as a defense and development of the common-sense answer to the question “can I really make a good life for myself?”. (shrink)
Prologue: retrospective and prospective -- The ethics of enough -- Real and apparent goods -- Wrong desires: pleasure, money, fame, and power -- Right desires: the totum bonum and its constituents -- Fundamental errors in moral philosophy -- Necessary but not sufficient -- Epilogue: transcultural ethics.