Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Sunday, November 19, 2017

‘Festina Lente’ means make haste slowly

Alex Horgen of Pacelli Catholic Schools reports on their consideration of Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Program for improved class discussion, at the Austin Daily Herald.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Image of America and the Youth of the World

"Town Meeting of the World - Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY) and Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) respond to questions via satellite from a group of international students in London at the BBC. The topic is “The Image of America and the Youth of the World” but many of the questions concerned U.S. policy in Vietnam. This aired on CBS on May 15, 1967."
at YouTube

#democracy #war

Update: Transcript at Free Republic

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Brian Kemple at Semiotic Thomist

"But beyond the ratios between the senses, I think it is arguable that new technological media alters also the ratio between the senses and the intellect. It seems little coincidence to me that we live in an age bereft of thought and inundated of sense stimulation–and not just any stimulation, but a constantly changing, updated stimulation; the ad men, so to speak, are always trying to make us tingle in new and exciting ways, to keep our curiosity on their products and services."

#mind #sense

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Human Nature and the Character of Economic Science

Israel M. Kirzner on 'The Historical Background of the Misesian Perspective' at The Harvard Review of Philophy.

#man #wealth

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Aquinas Leadership International November 2017 Update

[From Peter A. Redpath]

I write to update you about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI), affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work.

● Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress

The dates of 20 to 22 July 2018 have been reserved for the 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International Conference at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA. If you have a Congress topic that you think might be good for this annual meeting, please send the information to the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath at:

● The Aquinas School of Leadership (ASL) Sends:

– Much thanks to those students who have enrolled in ASL’s recently-formed “Center for Leadership Coaching” January 2018 international, online, course on “The Organizational Genius of St. Thomas Aquinas.” This class with kick off the first event in ASL’s

Center for Leadership-Coaching in Thomistic Organizational and Moral Psychology (ASLCLC)

For further information about this Center, its leadership-coaching work, and/or this course, email Dr. Peter Redpath at:

A Case for the Quaint: The Great Ideas Program

Robert M. Woods at The Imaginative Conservative [link fixed -ed.]

#education #GreatIdeasProgram #RobertHutchins

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The nature of Philosophy

Roger Scruton and Timothy Williamson debate, with an introduction by Tim Crane, Philosophy Editor, at The Times Literary Supplement.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nick Bostrom on 'The Future of Human Evolution'


"Evolutionary development is sometimes thought of as exhibiting an inexorable trend towards higher, more complex, and normatively worthwhile forms of life. This paper explores some dystopian scenarios where freewheeling evolutionary developments, while continuing to produce complex and intelligent forms of organization, lead to the gradual elimination of all forms of being that we care about. We then consider how such catastrophic outcomes could be avoided and argue that under certain conditions the only possible remedy would be a globally coordinated policy to control human evolution by modifying the fitness function of future intelligent life forms."
at his website

(via Joshua Spencer)


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mortimer Adler at Wikisource

The entry for Mortimer Adler at Wikisource includes a list of a few of his books, with copyright renewal information, and links to texts of at least some of his short works which are in the public domain.

Friday, October 27, 2017

‘The rhymes are sometimes poor’

Seamus Perry on the poetry of Matthew Arnold at Times Literary Supplement.

"Was Arnold any good as a poet? Or rather, to anticipate an answer – which is that, yes, I think he was very good – what are we to make of the fact that so many of his readers, both contemporary and since, have thought he wasn’t up to much?"


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Semiotics and Science

More from Brian Kemple, at Semiotic Thomist.

"Aside from the personal connections, I believe, from a Thomist background, that semiotics, as both a discipline and a tradition, has a lot to offer."

#science #sign

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The British Museum, the Roman Republic & more.

Roger Kimball's review of The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic, by Mike Duncan, is one of the items in the latest issue of of The Critic’s Notebook, from The New Criterion.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sally Haslanger on 'Persistence Through Time'

From The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics (2003), edited by Michael J. Loux and Dean W. Zimmerman, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(via Joshua Spencer)

#being #change

Friday, October 20, 2017

An excerpt from 'Ens Primum Cognitum'

Brian Kemple posted this excerpt from his recently published dissertation, Ens Primum Cognitum in Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition, at LinkedIn. As he there says,

"my intent, and my interpretation of Thomas Aquinas, marks a shift in Thomistic philosophy--a shift away from metaphysical realism and towards a semiotic worldview."
He gave several presentation, as you might recall, at this year's Aquinas Leadership International World Congress.

#metaphysics #sign

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jennifer Wang on the 'Ship of Theseus'

"Jennifer Wang (Stanford University) introduces us to a puzzle that has bedeviled philosophy since the ancient Greeks: the Ship of Theseus. She tells the Ship of Theseus story, and draws out the more general question behind it: what does it take for an object to persist over time? She then breaks this ancient problem down with modern clarity and rigor."
Uploaded by Wireless Philosophy to YouTube

(via Joshua Spencer)

#being #change #metaphysics

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Universe Began With a Big Melt, Not a Big Bang

Thanu Padamanabhan on 'The cosmological constant and the creation of the universe' at Nautilus.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ancient China For Modern Conservatives

Tanner Greer to Rod Dreher at The American Conservative.

"One of the places I usually suggest conservative thinkers start, especially conservative thinkers whose past exposure to ancient China thought came in a new-age guise, is with Xunzi. Xunzi was a self proclaimed Confucian who lived a few centuries before Christ. In the West we kind of have this fortune-cookie vision of Confucians: we see them as a bunch of old, secluded sages spitting out epigrams and coining pithy little proverbs.
"Xunzi is a man who has stared into the abyss of human cruelty, and is fighting with all of his might to not let that overwhelm his humanity. He sees the world for what it is. He doesn’t believe in the utopian fairy tales of the Daoists, nor the warm-fuzzy feeling based theories of Confucianism’s more optimistic strains. But he insists to the end that humanity is salvageable.
"So Xunzi is a great starting point for an intellectual journey into the Chinese tradition. He is a traveling companion worthy of just about any discussion or topic. Eric Hutton’s translation is accessible to just about anyone."

#man #virtue

Monday, October 9, 2017

Anarchy in 'Great Books of the Western World'

While Anarchy is not one of the Great Ideas, that is, not one of the major topics in Great Books of the Western World, its entry in the Inventory of Terms lists:
Anarchy: see
     Democracy 2;
     Government 1a; and 5;
     Liberty 1b; and
     Tyranny and Despotism 3.
which refer to the following references within the set (2nd edition, 1990), by volume, author, and page(s).

Democracy 2. The derogation of democracy: the anarchic tendency of freedom and equality

5 Herodotus, 107–108
6 Plato, 408–414
8 Aristotle, 492, 512, 516, 523
21 Hobbes, 150–151, 273 33 Locke, 29
40 Mill, 298–299, 354–355
41 Boswell, 125, 127, 211
43 Hegel, 104, 390
43 Nietzsche, 481–482, 501–503, 522–523
44 Tocqueville, 130–144 esp 135–136, 281
47 Dickens, 159–160
58 Weber, 98–100 

 Government 1a. The origin and necessity of government: the issue concerning anarchy

New Testament: Romans, 13:1–8
5 Thucydides, 436–438
6 Plato, 44, 316–319, 663–667
8 Aristotle, 445–446, 475–476
11 Lucretius, 72–73
13 Plutarch, 638
14 Tacitus, 51
16 Augustine, 231, 414–415
18 Aquinas, 226–227
19 Dante, 52
20 Calvin, 420–421
21 Hobbes, 58, 77, 84–87, 91, 99–102, 109, 113, 159
24 Shakespeare, 535–536
25 Shakespeare, 109
28 Spinoza, 669–670
30 Pascal, 227–228
33 Locke, 4, 16, 25, 28–29, 44–55, 65, 75
34 Swift, 135–184
35 Montesquieu, 1–3
35 Rousseau, 333, 391–393
36 Smith, 347–349
39 Kant, 433–434
40 Federalist, 31, 36, 63, 65, 71–78 passim, 121–122
40 Mill, 302–303
43 Hegel, 127–128, 180–183
44 Tocqueville, 361
49 Darwin, 310, 321 

Government 5. The relation of governments to one another: sovereign princes or states as in a condition of anarchy

6 Plato, 788–790
8 Aristotle, 478
21 Hobbes, 86
34 Swift, 23–25, 149–150
35 Rousseau, 355
37 Gibbon, 520–521
39 Kant, 435, 449–458
40 Declaration of Independence, 1, 3
40 Articles of Confederation, 5–9 passim
40 Federalist, 29–259
40 Mill, 417–442
43 Hegel, 110–118, 153–154, 299–300, 379–382
44 Tocqueville, 218
58 Huizinga, 283–287 

 Liberty 1b. The independence of men and the autonomy of sovereigns in a state of nature or anarchy 

21 Hobbes, 84–87, 99
28 Bacon, 20
28 Spinoza, 669–670
33 Locke, 28, 44, 53, 54, 73–74
35 Montesquieu, 2
35 Rousseau, 342–345, 352, 353–355 passim, 356–357
39 Kant, 433–434, 435–436
43 Hegel, 69–70, 178–179
43 Nietzsche, 481
58 Frazer, 31–32
60 Lawrence, 148–157 

 Tyranny and Despotism 3.The choice between tyranny or despotism and anarchy

5 Herodotus, 23–24
13 Plutarch, 68–70, 525–526, 588–591
14 Tacitus, 51–52
21 Hobbes, 104, 112
33 Locke, 44–46, 56–57, 76–78
35 Rousseau, 356, 389, 433–434
40 Federalist, 45–47 passim, 66–78 passim
40 Mill, 344, 350–355 passim
44 Tocqueville, 164–165

#democracy #government #GreatBooksoftheWesternWorld #liberty #tyranny

Is the Universe a Vacuum Fluctuation?

Edward P. Tryon in Nature, Volume 246 (December 14, 1973), pp. 396–397.

#cosmology #physics

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Second Time I Learned to Read

An appreciation of teachers who push students in challenging directions, by Stephen L. Carter, at Bloomberg View.

"My English teacher was right, and I was wrong. Some books are better than others. And as a teen I had no way of judging for myself.

"... Mrs. Dickey had taught me that there are things one ought to read. I put away the books of sports records and pulpy sci-fi."