A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror: Further Autobiographical Reflections of a Philosopher at Large

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Macmillan, 1992 - Philosophy - 322 pages
"Fifteen years ago, when I was only seventy-five years old, I wrote my autobiography prematurely.... Much has happened in my life since then....I am, therefore, impelled to take a second look in the rearview mirror and hope that those who found the earlier volume engaging will be similarly entertained by this one."
So begins A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror Mortimer Adler's continuing intellectual autobiography, the record of the development and evolution of his mind, his personal philosophy, and his analytical powers. Here, the second volume of Dr. Adler's autobiography describes the editorial process that led to the second (and enormously controversial) edition of Great Books of the Western World; the inauguration of the Paideia Project for educational reform; and Dr. Adler's involvement with the Aspen Institute. Drawing on unpublished materials, fugitive papers, and materials no longer in print and therefore inaccessible, A Second Look is enriched with portraits of luminaries such as Robert Hutchins, Jacques Barzun, and Henry and Clare Boothe Luce, and describes, for the first time in print, the religious conversion that led, after a life of principled atheism, to his formal baptism into the Episcopal Church at the age of eighty-four. As engaging and challenging as the life it documents - chapters include "Academic Misimpressions," "Departure from Academic Life," "Educational Reform," "Editorial Work," "The Aspen Institute," "Teaching and Learning," "The Vocation of Philosophy," "A Philosopher's Religious Faith," and "The Blessings of Good Fortune" - A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror is intellectual entertainment of the highest order.

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A second look in the rear-view mirror: further autobiographical reflections of a Philosopher at large

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The three sections of this sequel to Adler's Philosophy at Large ( LJ 8/77) cover the years before 1975 and after 1977 and offer reflections about his life as a whole. He continues to regard himself ... Read full review


Academic Misimpressions
Departure from Academic Life

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About the author (1992)

Born in New York, Mortimer Adler was educated at Columbia University. Later as a philosophy instructor there, he taught in a program focused on the intellectual foundations of Western civilization. Called to the University of Chicago in 1927 by President Robert Maynard Hutchins, Adler played a major role in renovating the undergraduate curriculum to center on the "great books." His philosophical interests committed to the dialectical method crystallized in a defense of neo-Thomism, but he never strayed far from concerns with education and other vital public issues. From 1942 to 1945, Adler was director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, based in San Francisco, California. Beginning in 1945 he served as associate editor of Great Books of the Western World series, and in 1952 he published Syntopicon, an analytic index of the great ideas in the great books. In 1966 he became director of the editorial planning for the fifteen edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and in 1974, chairman of its editorial board. Adler has been devoted in recent years to expounding his interpretations of selected great ideas and to advocating his Paideia Proposal. That proposal would require that all students receive the same quantity and quality of education, which would concentrate on the study of the great ideas expressed in the great books, a study conducted by means of the dialectical method. Mortimer J. Adler died June 28, 2001 at his home in San Mateo, California at the age of 98.

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