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, December 10, 2017

What Is "Blockchain" Anyway?

Peter Van Valkenburgh at the Foundation for Economic Education.

"All blockchain technologies should have three constituent parts: peer-to-peer networking, consensus mechanisms, and (yes) blockchains, A.K.A. hash-linked data structures."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

'Meeting of Minds': Cleopatra, Aquinas, Paine, & Teddy Roosevelt

"Join host Steve Allen as he welcomes Cleopatra, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Paine, and Theodore Roosevelt to a discussion of questions of enduring significance. Topics include the merits and evils of imperialism, the American Revolution, the possibility of nobility in war, certitude of religious doctrine, and the best form of government. Hear Cleopatra and Aquinas react to the first lines of the Declaration of Independence, Cleopatra defend the rule of divine emperors, and Aquinas comment on Paine’s argument for equality."
Video of Season 1, Episode 2, linked at The Imaginative Conservative.

#equality #government #religion #revolution #war

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power

Nick Routley at Visual Capitalist.

"Today’s infographic, created all the way back in 1931 by a man named John B. Sparks, maps the ebb and flow of global power going all the way back to 2,000 B.C. on one coherent timeline."


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mortimer Adler, A Socratic Gadfly

Milton Birnbaum reconsiders Reforming Education: The Opening of the American Mind (1990), by Mortimer J. Adler, at The Imaginative Conservative.

#education #MortimerAdler

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Education in the Digital Age

Brian Kemple at Semiotic Thomist.

"Here, I want to take a look at the technological factors which have a pervasive influence in our environments. I am, again, working off the thought of Marshall McLuhan, within the framework of a Thomistic psychology, and with a semiotic perspective (that is, such that mediation between any two or more things occurs by virtue of a sign, the being of which is a triadic relation comprising object, interpretant, and sign-vehicle). More specifically, I am concerned with the 'electric' environment–light, television, telephone, and anything which fosters instantaneous communication (including some capacties provided by the internet)–and the 'digital' environment–which, we might say, comprises the coded structuring of discretely categorized knowledge made available to us through computers, smart phones, and the internet."

#education #sign

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Aquinas Leadership International November 2017 Update - Supplement

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. ...

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