The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense

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Fordham Univ Press, 1970 - Philosophy - 361 pages
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Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and a "good life" interchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses in this book.
Carefully, Adler lays the groundwork for a common-sense approach to the problem of making a good life and of evaluating that life in reference to the merits of our present society. Adler offers standards by which we can judge the relative merits of our time against those of previous centuries, other societies and cultures. Adler answers in what ways culture encourages or discourages the individual in his or her efforts to make a good life. Finally, Adler argues for a moral and educational revolution as well as for strenuous efforts to rectify existing injustices by radical social, economic, and political reforms.
The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life, which provides the standard for measuring a century, a society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each individual's primary moral right - his right to the pursuit of happiness. The moral philosophy that Dr. Adler expounds in terms of this conception he calls "the ethics of common sense" because it is as a defense and development of the common-sense answer to the question "can I really make a good life for myself?"
 

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Contents

The CommonSense Approach to the Problem of Making a Good Life for Ones Self
1
Introduction
3
How Can I Make a Good Life for Myself?
8
The Accidents of Fortune and the Need to Earn a Living
22
The Disposition of Ones Time
29
The Five Parts of Life
38
What Should One Do About Earning a Living?
49
Why Strength of Character Is Needed to Lead a Good Life
56
Real Goods Make Natural Rights
137
The Ethics of Common Sense
155
The Commonsense View Philosophically Developed A Teleological Ethics
157
Obligations to Self and to Others Individual and Common Goods
170
Presuppositions About Human Nature
185
The Only Moral Philosophy That is Sound Practical and Undogmatic
188
The Present Situation in Which We Find Ourselves
201
Are There Criteria by Which We Can Judge Our Century and Our Society?
203

Defending Common Sense Against the Objections of the Philosophers
65
The Philosophical Objections Stated
67
The End We Seek Can Be Ultimate Without Being Terminal
76
The Significance of the Distinction Between Real and Apparent Goods
84
The Obligation to Make a Good Life for Ones Self
98
Relativity to Individual and Cultural Differences
110
Oughts Can Be True
124
Is This a Good Time to Be Alive?
213
Is Ours a Good Society to Be Alive In?
217
The Moral and Educational Revolution That Is Needed
223
A Concluding Word About the Critics of Our Century and Our Society
230
Postscript
235
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About the author (1970)


Mortimer J. Adler was the director of the Institute for Philosophical Research in Chicago and a member of the board of editors of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

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