Personally signed by Mortimer J. Adler
Easton Press, Norwalk, CT. 1995. Mortimer J. Adler "Adler's Philosophical Dictionary" Signed First Edition. Limited Collector's Edition bound in full genuine leather. Bound in gilt decorated maroon leather, raised bands on spine, all edges gilt, silk moire endpapers, and silk ribbon page marker. Sealed.
The man Time magazine has called "America's philosopher for everyman" provides an alphabetical inventory of the most used and abused terms in the philosophical lexicon. Adler offers the exact philosophical meaning, along with the ways in which the concept has been understood by generations of thinkers, from Aristotle onward. Discusses key philosophical terms and concepts, including eternity, chance, choice, duty, evil, honor, memory, beauty, happiness, and progress.
Indomitable and, now well into his nineties, seemingly eternal, America's foremost public philosopher produces his fifty-eighth book and one of the most useful. It consists of reasonably thorough definitions of some 125 terms (a few are just cross references to others) that reflect Adler's famous adherences to the Aristotelian mainstream of Western philosophy (if anything, Adler is downright anti-Kantian), to democracy and socialism (but not communism: Adler very cogently explains why communism is antithetical to socialism) as the political and economic practices most in accordance with the principles of justice, and to world government. The defined terms do not include philosophy's hardware words--ontology, epistemology, phenomenology, heuristics, etc.--but rather are its meat and potatoes--art, beauty, God, idea, etc. If, now and then, a definition seems to overlook crucial aspects of its term, Adler appends a list of sources of further elucidation in his own other books. A helpful and, aptly, thought-provoking little resource, perhaps even at the reference desk.
The man William F. Buckley, Jr. calls "Our nation's pedagogue," Mortimer Adler is probably best known for his many best-selling books, his work in liberal education with Robert M. Hutchins at the University of Chicago, and his ongoing association with the Great Books and the Great Ideas of the Western World. In addition, he is responsible for a prodigious amount of dialectical work done through his Institute for Philosophical Research and as Chairman of the Board of Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. His Idea of Freedom and The Synopticon: An Index to the Great Ideas exemplify his dream of a summa dialectica of Western thought.
Now, in his fifty-eighth book, we find a summa philosophica - a summation of his doctrinal views on the 125 entries that range from Absolute and Relative to World Government. This affords the reader an opportunity to grasp the extraordinary compass of Adler's thought.
Following Aristotle's precept, "It is necessary to call into our council the views of our predecessors in order that we may profit by whatever is sound in their views and avoid their errors," Adler's book is replete with references to the great authors of the great books. From the ancients - Plato and Aristotle - to the moderns - Locke and Mill - to the contemporaries - Wittgenstein and Hawking, Adler displays his usual erudition.
Adler has once again provided insights into theology, ethics, psychology, and aesthetics in a lucid style, making clear how these oft-used terms are abused in the philosopher's lexicon. Mortimer Adler never tires of telling us that philosophy is everybody's business and that understanding the Great Ideas is philosophy's business.
About the Author
Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for long stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo, California. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.
Adler co-founded the Great Books of the Western World program and the Great Books Foundation. He founded and served as director of the Institute for Philosophical Research in 1952. He also served on the Board of Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, and succeeded Hutchins as its chairman from 1974. As the director of editorial planning for the fifteenth edition of Britannica from 1965, he was instrumental in the major reorganization of knowledge embodied in that edition. He introduced the Paideia Proposal which resulted in his founding the Paideia Program, a grade-school curriculum centered 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 Ideas in 1990 in Chicago.
According to his friend Deal Hudson, Adler "had been attracted to Catholicism for many years" and "wanted to be a Roman Catholic, but issues like abortion and the resistance of his family and friends" kept him away. Many thought he was baptized 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. In December 1999, in San Mateo, where he had moved to spend his last years, Adler was formally received into the Catholic Church by a long-time friend and admirer, Bishop Pierre DuMaine. "Finally," wrote another friend, Ralph McInerny, "he became the Roman Catholic he had been training to be all his life".
Adler was a prolific writer and editor. His dozens of books include "The Conditions of Philosophy" (1965); "The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense" (1970); "The Common Sense of Politics" (1971); "Ten Philosophical Mistakes" (1985), and "The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought" (1992). He wrote two volumes of memoirs, "Philosopher at Large: An Intellectual Autobiography" (1977) and "A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror" (1992).
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- Adler's Philosophical Dictionary
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