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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Little Errors in the Beginning

Mortimer J. Adler at The Thomist (January 1974)

"... I would like to call attention to the two ways in which little errors in the beginning occur. In some cases, they are made because something that needs to be known or understood has not yet been discovered or learned. Such mistakes are, of course, excusable, however regrettable they may be. In other cases, the errors are made as a result of culpable ignorance--ignorance of an essential point, an insight or distinction, that has already been discovered and expounded.

"It is mainly in this second way that modern philosophers have made their little errors in the beginning. When they are made in this way and then perpetuated by the same ignorance that accounts for their origin, they are ugly monuments to failures in education--failures that have one or both of the following sources: on the one hand, corruptions in the tradition of learning, like the corrupt and decadent scholasticism of the 15th and 16th centuries, the effects of which are so evident in the writings of Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke;1 on the other hand, an attitude of antagonism toward or even contempt for the past--for the achievements of those who have come before. Both of these causes are operative today. ...

"1 Though the 15th and 16th centuries were the centuries of Cajetan and Jean Poinsot, their work exercised little influence on current scholastic thought, and none outside it."

#truth #MortimerAdler

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