The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense / Edition 1

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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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Editorial Reviews

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. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823216703
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 361
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Introduction to the 1996 Edition
1 Introduction 3
2 How Can I Make a Good Life for Myself? 8
3 The Accidents of Fortune and the Need to Earn a Living 22
4 The Disposition of One's Time 29
5 The Five Parts of Life 38
6 What Should One Do About Earning a Living? 49
7 Why Strength of Character Is Needed to Lead a Good Life 56
8 The Philosophical Objections Stated 67
9 The End We Seek Can Be Ultimate Without Being Terminal 76
10 The Significance of the Distinction Between Real and Apparent Goods 84
11 The Obligation to Make a Good Life for One's Self 98
12 Relativity to Individual and Cultural Differences 110
13 Oughts Can Be True 124
14 Real Goods Make Natural Rights 137
15 The Common-sense View Philosophically Developed: A Teleological Ethics 157
16 Obligations to Self and to Others: Individual and Common Goods 170
17 Presuppositions About Human Nature 185
18 The Only Moral Philosophy That is Sound, Practical, and Undogmatic 188
19 Are There Criteria by Which We Can Judge Our Century and Our Society? 203
20 Is This a Good Time to Be Alive? 213
21 Is Ours a Good Society to Be Alive In? 217
22 The Moral and Education Revolution That Is Needed 223
23 A Concluding Word About the Critics of Our Century and Our Society 230
Postscript 235
Notes 267
References 345
Index of Proper Names 357
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