The FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PHILOSOPHY

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9780025005747: The FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PHILOSOPHY

This book is about philosophy's relationship to and difference from other disciplines, such as history, maths, physics, and even poetry. The author demonstrates how philosophy - like history, but unlike physics - is reflexive. That is, one may write a history of history as well as a history of physics, but not a physics of physics.

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About the Author:

Mortimer J. Adler is Chairman of the Board of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, and Honorary Trustee of the Aspen Institute.  He has authored fifty books.  He lives in Chicago.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An often profound, if sometimes tedious, discourse on the four dimensions of philosophy--the ``metaphysical,'' the ``moral,'' the ``objective,'' and the ``categorical''--by the vastly prolific, 91- year-old Adler. In his 53rd book, Adler (Chairman of the Board of Editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica; A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror, 1992, etc.) attempts to answer such questions as: ``What is the scope of the philosophical enterprise?''; ``What is its method?''; ``What are the criteria of excellence in philosophical work?'' The author extensively examines how philosophy relates to and differs from other intellectual disciplines, such as science and history. Arguing that ``philosophy is everybody's business,'' he makes a strong case that, of all the disciplines, only philosophy is truly contemplative and ``reflexive'' enough to challenge the highest qualities of the human mind and spirit. Moving to the defensive, Adler attempts to explain why philosophy is generally regarded as pragmatically inferior to science. He contends that philosophy has been confused with archaic scientific and religious inquiry, and that in modern times it ``has been suffering from the cultural preeminence of science.'' While highly critical of 20th-century philosophy, as well as of modern efforts to reform it, the author promises a brighter future for philosophy as soon as we learn to ``preserve, consolidate and enhance'' those more positive features of it that can affect our society in a practical way. He argues that philosophy deserves more respect for the potential role it can play in education, as well as in ``the hierarchy of elements that constitute culture and civilization.'' The book--which Adler hints may be his last--concludes with an outline of a wide spectrum of philosophical topics and subjects, ranging from God to wealth. Erudite and richly contemplative--but Adler's belabored prose style may deter many. -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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