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
A Founding Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Friday, January 17, 2020

Hierarchy

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1024), discussed this commencement address delivered by Mortimer Adler in 1940 at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#being #nature #relation

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'How to Build a Friendly Robot--A Philosophical Novel' by Bob Kohn

Bob Kohn, a fellow at the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas, has just published a book dedicated to Mortimer J. Adler: How to Build a Friendly Robot—A Philosophical Novel

An award-winning scholar and technology lawyer, Mr. Kohn presents a realistic courtroom drama about how philosophy, not technology, will keep humanity safe from the rise of intelligent machines. In 1994, Mortimer J. Adler awarded Mr. Kohn the top prize for his solution to a philosophical problem that lies at the heart of this unique philosophical novel.

The year is 2032. Audrey Paris, former federal prosecutor and now lead attorney for the A.I. engineering team at the recently-merged Google-IBM, is thrust to the forefront of the most provocative legal battle since the Scopes monkey trial. 

One of the company's humanoids is charged with murder in the second degree. Audrey moves to dismiss the case on the grounds that machines are not legal persons. The Department of Justice disagrees. Watson-5, the brains behind the humanoid, has passed the Turing Test and must be held accountable for violations of the law.

But Federal Judge Harold S. Gordon is not buying either argument and turns to Robbie, the humanoid defendant at the center of the trial. The two lock horns during a short, but ambitious journey over difficult intellectual terrain. But the exchange doesn't end well, and Audrey and the Judge find themselves in a race, not only for their own lives, but for the rest of humanity.

“The great ideas addressed by the novel were inspired by Dr. Adler’s Intellect: Mind Over Matter (1990) and his other writings on artificial intelligence,” said Mr. Kohn.  “And its presentation—the form of a courtroom drama—was inspired by Dr. Adler’s Dialectic of Morals (1941).” 

How to Build a Friendly Robot explores the depths of what leading scientists, like the late Stephen Hawking, have warned is the inevitable conflict between Man and Machine. Should a machine greatly surpass human beings in intelligence, what could go wrong? Are we doomed? Or can we co-exist with these super-intelligent devices? 

Technologists, like Ray Kurzweil and Stuart Russell, are optimistic: Safety lies in aligning machine intelligence with human values. But what human values? And how will the machines learn them? These questions are addressed by opposing forces in a vigorous debate that spans the domains of mathematics, technology, and philosophy. The setting is fictitious, a federal courtroom, but the ideas are timeless, and the stakes are gravely real.

They say that philosophy can bake no bread. This book sets out to prove them wrong.

Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica, once posed a philosophical problem: Explain the inheritance, or genetic transmission, of superior intellectual ability in some persons without asserting that the human intellect itself is material. Judging an essay contest for the best solution to the problem, Dr. Adler awarded the top prize to Bob Kohn, writing: 

"[Mr. Kohn] seemed to know best . . . where the mystery begins, what we have to concede to it, and what (by virtue of hereditary mechanisms) we do not. . . . [Kohn] showed “a gratifying familiarity with the Great Books of the Western World.” 
— Mortimer J. Adler (The Great Ideas Today, 1994).

How to Build A Friendly Robot is available in Kindle and Paperback at Amazon.

#man #mind

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Case for Classical Education

"The latest installment in an ongoing interview series with contributing editor Mark Bauerlein. On this episode, Sheila Byrd Carmichael discusses the state of K-12 education in the United States and the growth of the classical school movement."
Podcast by Mark Bauerlein at First Things

#education

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Saving Persuasion

'America's rhetoric problem reflects a wider cultural malaise.'

Review by Carnes Lord of Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric, translated by Robert C. Bartlett, at the Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2019

#rhetoric

Friday, January 3, 2020

Education and Democracy

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1023), discussed this essay by Mortimer Adler.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#democracy #education

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - December 2019

Peter Redpath peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com provides this latest muontly update.


  •  With great sadness, we moun immediately below the passing of the great Fr. Leo Elders, SVD:
In remembrance of Father Leo Elders SVD 1926 - 2019, we report him saying, “With deeply felt gratitude to God I leave this life: gratitude towards my loving and deeply religious parents, my education, the formation at the gymnasium in Rolduc, the acceptance in the SVD, the science oriented mission congregation with devotion to the Holy Trinity and the Holy Spirit. In the SVD I have learnt to appreciate and develop my great love for St. Thomas. My priestly ordination was postponed because of sickness and I could study ancient philosophy etc. in Utrecht. After my bachelor examination I was appointed for the seminary in Granby, Canada; after 5 years an appointment for Japan and from there, after 12 years an appointment for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Finally after 5 years in Rome, I was sent to the Netherlands to assist bishop Jo Gijsen in his seminary. I did this for 40 years”.
Father Leo Elders spent the last years of his life in Park Zuiderhout, Teteringen, where he died on October 14, 2019. He is buried at the cemetery of Mission house H. Franciscus Xaverius in Teteringen We appreciate your participation.
The family Elders and Confreres SVD.
  • At the end of December go to the link immediately below to download the Aquinas School of Leadership School of Economics Studia Gilsoniana Special Series Inaugural Volume: A Return to Pre-Modern Principles of Economic Science


Friday, December 20, 2019

Pride and paragon

Virginia Woolf on the life and work of George Eliot, at The Times Literary Supplement, originally published in its November 20, 1919 issue.

#art

Friday, December 13, 2019

Are the Schools Doing Their Job?

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1022), discussed this interview of Mortimer Adler in the Bulletin of America's Town Meeting of the Air, March 6, 1939.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#education

Monday, December 9, 2019

Creation and Imitation: An Analysis of Poiesis

The latest issue/s of the Center’s quarterly, Philosophy Is Everybody's Business (Vol. XXIII, No. 4, Fall 2019), discussed this paper by Mortimer Adler published in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, December 1935, pp. 153-174.

PIEB is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#MortimerAdler #philosophy #poetry

Friday, December 6, 2019

Adler on Beauty

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos.1019-1021), discussed a Fall 1980 presentation by Mortimer Adler on the Great Idea of Beauty.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#beauty

Monday, November 18, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - November 2019

Peter Redpath peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com provides this latest muontly update.


● The Thomistic Institute, Washington, D.C., is now hiring a Campus Programs Coordinator. For more information about this position, go to https://thomisticinstitute.org/cpc-job-description


● Peter Redpath announces return to work with Brill Publishing.

Former executive editor of the Value Inquiry Book Series (VIBS) for Editions Rodopi, B.V. and the Brill/Rodopi Gilson Studies (GS) Special Series, Peter A. Redpath announces he has joined the editorial board of Brill's VIBS Philosophy and Religion (PAR) Special Series. Anyone interested in submitting a manuscript for publication in the PAR Special Series should email a letter of inquiry to: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com


Friday, November 15, 2019

Everybody's Business, or, Reflections on the Future of Education

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1017-18), discussed this April 1979 address by Mortimer Adler at Wayne Stater University, Detroit.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#MortimerAdler #education

Friday, November 1, 2019

Which are the Classics? - 20th Century

The latest issue/s of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1016), discussed this article by Mortimer Adler from The Center Magazine, May-June, 1977 issue, published by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

"Let us ... ask ourselves what twentieth-century authors and works we would nominate as joining the larger company of important books of lasting significance even if they are not inexhaustibly rereadable."

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#education

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - October 2019

Peter A. Redpath writes to update us on activities at ALI and other organizations

----------------------------
  • Our condolences go out to our colleagues at the Marcel Society upon the death of K. R. Hanley:Dear Members and Friends of the Marcel Society,
    With great regret, President of the Gabriel Marcel Society Brendan Sweetman has informed us of the passing of K. R. Hanley, former Professor of Philosophy at Le Moyne College, Marcel scholar, and a founding member of the Marcel Society. K.R. was 87, and had been ill for some time. In later years, she lived in Falmouth, Mass. Those of us who worked with K.R. over the years have fond memories of a very sincere, spiritual lady who cared deeply about her students, of stimulating presentations and discussions, great humor, as well as her complete dedication to her calling as a professor and educator. May she rest in peace.
    Her full obituary from Le Moyne College, along with funeral arrangements, can be found here:
    https://www.lemoyne.edu/News/News-Article/ArticleId/234
    At a later date, the Marcel Society will honor K.R. in a special way.
    We will inform you about this as soon as we receive the information. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fundamental Psychological Ideas

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1015), discussed this article by Mortimer Adler published in The Institute Magazine, March, 1930. pp. 21-22.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Everybody's Business

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1011-1014), discussed Mortimer Adler's August 15, 1978 Aspen Institute address on philosophy as everybody's business.

"The end we have in mind—an end that we now recognize no longer motivates or guides our institutions of higher learning and that we must hope Aspen can achieve—is the restoration of what Aristotle called paideia— the humanistic learning of the generalist that is no longer promoted or cultivated by our colleges and universities— or, in other words, a program of humanistic studies that aims at the preservation of culture and the dissemination of it for the enrichment of the Individual’s private life and the fullest development of the human spirit."
.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#democracy #education #philosophy

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Who Decides Which Books Are “Great?”

"The concept of 'Great Books,' the historian Tim Lacy explains, developed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to foster a 'democratic culture.'" Livia Gershon at JSTOR Daily.

#democracy #education

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - September 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work. 



Our condolences go out to our colleagues at the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies upon the death of Jesper Hoffmeyer                                               
Dear Members,

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that ISBS founding member and spiritus rector of our community, Jesper Hoffmeyer, passed away on 25 September 2019 at age 77.

We may be soliciting your tributes and testimonials about Jesper and his work at some time in the future. But, for today, the most fitting tribute that Jesper would have wanted, we think, is that you read some of his writings and continue his work in biosemiotics.

Kalevi Kull, President

Don Favareau, Vice-President

Paul Cobley, Secretary

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR BIOSEMIOTIC STUDIES   

See the link below to our colleague Kelly Fitzsimmons-Burton's 19 September 2019 Paradise Valley Community College Public Philosophy Lecture Series Presentation:
Topic:  "What is Public Philosophy and Why do We need it?"



 https://publicphilosophy.podbean.comhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4i_geQ9uiA&feature=youtu.be


Friday, September 20, 2019

Angels and Angelology

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1007-1010), discussed this August 14, 1979 presentation by Mortimer Adler at Aspen.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#angel

Monday, September 16, 2019

Soul, Man

Glenn Ellmers reviews De Anima (On Soul), by Aristotle, translated by David Bolotin, at the Claremont Review of Books.

"To try to understand modern political thought as if it had no antecedents in Christian theology is to render it unintelligible. Readers of René Descartes’s 'Cogito, ergo sum' (I think, therefore I am) [Discourse on the Method (1637), fourth part, first paragraph] are often surprised when they come across Augustine’s 'Fallor, ergo sum' (I err, therefore I am)." [The City of God (413-426), book XI, 26]

#soul

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Unserious Docility

Thomas P. Harmond reviewed Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught, and On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing, by James V. Schall, at Modern Age.

"Schall’s critique of the currently dominant model of teaching and learning leads directly to his critique of the entire anthropological and even metaphysical basis on which it is founded. This is why Schall says that human affairs are 'unserious': because we are not the highest things, and we exist already in a relationship to higher things."

#education

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Encountering the Beautiful

Steven Knepper reviews The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, by James Matthew Wilson, at Humanitas Journal.

"There is a modern tendency to reduce wonder to curiosity about how things work. Wonder becomes a state of ignorance, one that can be remedied by inquiry. Francis Bacon, for instance, called wonder 'broken knowledge.' What gets lost in this reduction, though, is a deeper sense of wonder at the mystery of being, wonder at the sheer thereness of it all, at there being something rather than nothing. Martin Heidegger, of course, sought to reawaken us to this mystery, but he also claimed that the reduction of'wonder to curiosity had a much older lineage than Bacon. For Heidegger, this reduction—and the attendant 'forgetfulness of being”—is the faulty foundation for the whole tradition of Western metaphysics…"

#beauty #good #truth

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - August 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work.

● Announcing the 14th World Congress of Semiotics

Dates:  September 09–13, 2019

Location: National University of Arts (UNA), Buenos, Argentina

Topic: "Trajectories"

For more information about the Congress, see:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Can democracy survive?

"UChicago law professors Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq explore populism and other threats to our political system" in this article by Jason Kelly at The University of Chicago Magazine.

#democracy,

Friday, August 23, 2019

Stresses and Coping Mechanisms of the Middle Class Family

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1005 and 1006), discussed Mortimer Adler's Opening Address in Symposium on Psychological Stresses and Coping Mechanisms of the Middle Class Family in the 1980's, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital Baltimore, April 1980.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#family

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fate’s scales, quivering

Review essay by "Jenann Ismael on why the problem of free will is not going away" at the Times Literary Supplement.

"The reality of the possibilities is what gives weight to our decisions. It is what keeps us up at night. It is what bestows urgency on sorting out what to do. It is what, in James’s words, 'gives the palpitating reality to our moral life and makes it tingle … with so strange and elaborate an excitement'. But it is the reality of the possibilities that physics seems to contradict."

#cause #liberty #will

Friday, August 9, 2019

Machiavelli and St. Benedict, fear versus love

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1004), discussed Mortimer Adler's Commencement Address at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, May 1980.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#education #government

Friday, August 2, 2019

How to Talk and How to Listen

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1003), discussed Mortimer Adler's July 21, 1980 essay "How to Talk and How to Listen: A Guide to Pleasurable and Profitable Conversation".

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#rhetoric

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - July 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work


● 
With utmost sorrow we report the 15 JULY 2019 passing of our colleague

                               A. JOSEPH INDELICATO

Founder and president of Caritas Consulting

Founder of The Catholic Education Foundation

Founder of St. John Bosco Schools  

Immediately below is a brief obituary of Joe published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on 17 July 2019:

A. Joseph Indelicato Honeoye Falls - July 15, 2019. Survived by loving wife of 51 years, Gini; son, Joseph P. (Alicia) Indelicato; grandchildren, Alisabeth, Madilyn, Jacob, Elliana and Ezra; sisters, Rose D'Amico and Augusta Ciarletti; many nieces, nephews, cousins; dear friends and colleagues. Private Services will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the St. John Bosco Schools, 501 Garfield St., E. Rochester, NY 14445. www.johnboscoschools.org


Monday, July 15, 2019

'Wakefulness and World'

Wakefulness and World: An Invitation to Philosophy, by Matthew Linck, new at Paul Dry Books.

#philosophy