Dr. Mortimer J. Adler
It was Max Weismann, long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, who first suggested the founding of the Great Books Academy Homeschool Program, of which he is now Chairman. Mr. Weismann also recently edited Dr. Adler’s latest book, “How to Think about The Great Ideas: From the Great Books of Western Civilization.” Such activities are part-and-parcel of the mission of the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, co-founded by Dr. Adler and Mr. Weismann. That mission is formally stated as follows:
To help awaken citizens from their moral and intellectual slumbers and to understand why philosophy is everybody’s business: the possibility of finding sound and practical answers to questions about the good life and good society. And philosophy’s ability to answer the most basic normative questions, What ought we seek in life? How ought we seek it?
To promulgate the insights and ideals embedded in Dr. Adler’s lifelong intellectual work in the fields of Philosophy, Liberal Education, Ethics and Politics, and to continue functioning as the resource for, and access to the on-going interpretation of his work.
The Center has and will continue to fulfill these missions through its tireless efforts to provide Dr. Adler’s vision, guidance, and resource materials through both live and on-line seminars, educational and philosophical consultation, international presence on the Internet, access to the Center’s library collection of Dr. Adler’s books, essays, articles, and audio/video programs.
It should be noted that the Center’s programs are unique in that they do not replicate other existing programs either started or developed by Dr. Adler, such as those offered by The Great Books Foundation, the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults at the University of Chicago, St. John’s College, The Aspen Institute, The Paideia Group, the Great Books curricula now found in many colleges and universities, The Great Books Academy or The Angelicum Academy Homeschool Program.
While we sanction and applaud the type of programs that these institutions offer as essential to a liberal education, the Center pushes the studies and inquiries further in following the lead of Aristotle who said in Nicomachean Ethics Book II, Chapter 2:
“The purpose of the present study is not as it is in other inquiries, the attainment of knowledge, we are not conducting this inquiry in order to know what virtue is, but in order to become good, else there would be no advantage in studying it.”
Hence, the thrust and aim of the Center’s efforts are not only to help students and citizens to develop a cogent understanding of practical philosophy, but also to motivate them to engage in the kind of conduct in their personal and public lives necessary to make a really good life for themselves.
It is our conviction that this understanding can be uniquely facilitated through a process of liberal learning based on reading, thinking about, and discussing the Great Ideas inherent in the great literature of our Western Tradition.
The Center’s members are typically adults with diverse intellectual, cultural and educational backgrounds and interests.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Center, contact them and request a membership application. As a member you will receive a subscription to their quarterly journal Philosophy is Everybody’s Business, and their weekly The Great Ideas Online e-journal, personal philosophical and educational consultation, access to Dr. Adler’s work: books, papers, audio/video programs, and invitations to participate in The Great Ideas Online seminars.
The Center is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 educational organization deriving its funding from membership donations, seminar and lecture tuitions, and private gifts. Dr. Adler and Mr. Weismann donate their time and efforts. Donations are used for office expenses and are tax deductible as the law allows.