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The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense

The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense

Paperback

By (author) Mortimer J. Adler, Introduction by Deal W. Hudson

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  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 361 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 18mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 1 April 1996
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0823216705
  • ISBN 13: 9780823216703
  • Edition statement: Fordham Univ PR.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,641,486

Product description

Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? Is it possible to have a good life in our time? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and a good lifeinterchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses himself to. The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life for man, which provides the standard for measuring a century, a society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each man'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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Author information

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.

Review quote

Adler (director, Institute for Philosophical Research) lays the groundwork for a common sense approach to the problem of making a good life and evaluating that life in reference to the merits of present society. He offers standards by which to judge the merits of our time against those of previous centuries and other cultures, and shows the ways in which a culture encourages or discourages the individual in his or her efforts to make a good life.

Editorial reviews

For someone not sensitive to the intricacies of ethical theory and unwilling, to ponder the Freer points, this may all sound strikingly like advice from Ann Landers, but the sharp philosophy student will realize that it is essentially an expounding, extension, and refinement of moral insights derived from Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics in a twentieth Century context. Adler's tract, based on his third series of Encyclopaedia Britannica-Lectures at the University of Chicago, is a high-level defense and development of seemingly simplistic common-sense answers to questions like: "How can I make a really good life for myself?"; "Is this a good time to be alive?"; "Is ours a good society to be alive in?" The central idea is that age-old "pursuit of happiness" but Adler imbues it with contemporary relevance by assessing the ways in which the culture of a society encourages or discourages efforts to make a good life (for a focus on the political factors, wait for Adler's next book). So although, yes indeed, this is a good time and a good society to be alive in, there is still a need for a moral and educational revolution, one must still work strenuously to rectify existing injustices through radical social, economic, and political reform (but New Leftists are lacking, in tree moral wisdom). Activists may be unmoved by the Aristotelian putdown, but there should be a considerable audience appreciative of this careful substantiation of enlightened common sense. (Kirkus Reviews)

Back cover copy

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?"