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Six Great Ideas

Six Great Ideas by Mortimer J. Adler

ISBN10: 0020720203
ISBN13: 978-0020720201
Author: Mortimer J. Adler
Book title: Six Great Ideas
Publisher: Scribner (March 1, 1984)
Language: English
Category: Philosophy
Size PDF: 1229 kb
Size ePub: 1927 kb
Size Fb2: 1935 kb
Rating: 4.5/5
Votes: 346
Pages: 256 pages

Six Great Ideas by Mortimer J. Adler

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Six Great Ideas - Mortimer J. Adler
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Six Great Ideas - Mortimer J. Adler
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Six Great Ideas - Mortimer J. Adler
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This enlightening study is the result of group discussions at Dr. Adler's annual seminar in Aspen, Colorado, and conversations between Dr. Adler and Bill moyers filmed for public television. 6 cassettes.


In his time, Mortimer Adler was a popularizer of Western philosophy and liberal arts education. Chances are if you've heard of him you already know that, but if you haven't, then this is a great book to pick up. He writes in a very down-to-earth manner and conveys his points with examples and language that is very clear.

Philosophy is indeed all around us, whether we acknowledge it or not, society is built upon great ideas... not advancements in technology. Of these ideas, Adler identifies six that hold the greatest weight in Western civilization: Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Liberty, Equality, and Justice. These ideas are the "red pills" of our society (to borrow a term from The Matrix), and once you understand the thought process behind them, it will change the way you think about everything from your daily routine, entertainment, politics, and beyond. It is not entirely about "up in the air" stuff that where philosophy books tend to go.

If you know somebody who is an intellectual, this book would be a great stocking-stuffer that they would eat up very quickly. If you know somebody who is NOT an intellectual and has a disdain for philosophy, it might be worth reading this book and then giving it to them so you can begin a conversation. It is a manual for thinking freely and wisely.

Fortunately, I have just started homeschooling so I can put it in as required reading!

This book takes some pretty deep stuff and makes it accessible to everyone without watering it down or talking down to you. Don't skip anything. I used to go straight to chapter 1 when I start a book. I have learned that skipping an introduction or preface can be cheating myself of something valuable. You don't want to miss anything he has to say.

added later-
I snuggled up with my 11 year old and and have been reading it to him a chapter or two at a time. Sometimes I re-read the last chapters we covered. He seems to be 'getting it', and I have learned a bit myself. Obviously when reading 'heavy' material with an older child you want to read more slowly.

I also recommend

Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin
by Os Guinness

In this book, Six Great Ideas, Adler meticulously breaks down six well known concepts into two triads. Truth, beauty & goodness are the first three concepts while justice, liberty and equality are the next. This is a brilliant text albeit Adler's writing style and depth of discussion is initially challenging. This book is a fine complimentary foundation for one to begin their journey in search of the truth. It is highly rational, not academic in voice and reveals wisdom that would be beneficial to all. Adler spices up the discussion when he notes that five of the six ideas are encapsulated in our nation's Declaration of Independence. He also warns us that it only in the realm of doubt that we can pursue the truth. Adler tackles one of the big questions in life, how do we know good from bad, when he writes that 'good is when we desire what we need [to survive]/' Get the context: get the book.

The Sphinx of Driz
How can you vote in the best interest of the country if you don't understand what is true, what is a lie or what is untrue (those are not the same) Were Powels UN statements lies or untrue? Were those calling Powel and Bush liars, themselves liars? How can you vote for the best candidate if you don't understand good from evil from bad? How can you be a good citizen and apply justice, liberty, and equality in your daily living if you can't explain those ideas. What is the pursuit of happiness? These ideas are what America is supposed to be about but if you don't understand these ideas how can you make sure we are on the right track or not.

Adler is one of there great minds and writers of the last century. His easy to read and precisely worded books will teach you how to think for your self and judge others and live a good life so that you will be happy. If you can't distinguish wants from needs you will be more stressed by following a chaotic (maybe pleasurable) path in your life but will never be happy and content. This is the best book to start with. Then move on to Philosophical Mistakes, How to Read, Aristotle Made Easy, and most importantly the syntopticon. If you take this book to heart and live by it, it will change your life and will help you see who is fair and balanced and who is lying to you to advance their misguided (at best) agenda. It will give you the best chance for happiness.

I think Six Great Ideas is a book which communicates a genuine enthusiasm for thinking and learning, and does a good job of stimulating interest in philosophical thinking.

Each of the 6 ideas are important and Adler wrote a book for the ages. I wanted a Kindle copy. Wonderful for having highlights easy to find and discuss. I used the book to talk to my Happiness Project group about the connection between Goodness and Happiness. A delightful and positive conversation.

Needed this for class and it was more interesting than i thought it was going to be

A little slow and hard to follow in the beginning, but perseverance will reward you!