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Ten Philosophical Mistakes
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The thesis of this book is that Western philosophy has been for the most part in serious error for the last three centuries. Many people would consider that a sufficient reason to render the well-known judgment, "I couldn't pick it up." I note, though, that E. F. Schumacher makes a very similar claim at the very beginning of _Small is Beautiful_, and that book is so popular that our local university library has three copies. And there are other such cases in which courage is rewarded.
In any event, Adler's general argument is this: the important modern philosophers, beginning with Descartes, made certain errors which have had disastrous results for contemporary notions of the objects of consciousness, the nature of the human mind, the nature of language, of knowledge, of moral principles, of free will, and even the nature of happiness. Succeeding philosophers, especially Kant, instead of ferreting out these initial errors, tried instead to circumvent their consequences, thus in a sense compounding the errors. The errors were made due to ignorance on the part of modern philosophers of ancient and medieval philosophy, especially Aristotle and Aquinas. This ignorance in turn was due to the stultifying way in which the earlier doctrines were taught in late scholasticism, and also, no doubt, due to an over-zealous rejection of the past in the light of the new advances in material science.
Nearly all of the errors to which Adler points consist of failing to make certain distinctions. Locke failed to distinguish between those "ideas" which are truly private and do not point to things beyond themselves - sensations, feelings, emotions - and the "true ideas" which point to public things beyond themselves - percepts, memories, images.Read more ›
The prologue to Adler's "Ten Philosophical Mistakes" begins with the following quote by Aristotle and best summarizes his thesis, "The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold." The implications of the this chosen quote is proved correct in this book; Adler dissects the blunders of post-16th century philosophers, namely those philosophers who followed Descartes and himself, and shows how the consequences have impacted contemporary society with confusion. Adler separates the errors of modern philosophy into ten of the following chapters: Consciousness and its objects, the intellect and the senses, words and meanings, knowledge and opinion, moral values, happiness and contentment, freedom and choice, human nature, human society and lastly- human existence.
The classical philosophers from the ivory towers had ideas that were so enlightening and their thoughts so deep that it could pierce the darkest questions of the universe; until the modern philosophers came along and totally demolished those towers that had taken centuries to build.Read more ›
"Ten Philosophical Mistakes" is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it contains a variety of quaint errors and outright misunderstandings. An example is Adler's apparent failure to understand that contemporary epistemologists use "belief" in such a way that it's simply analytic that whatever is known is believed. (Thus, he makes a big song and dance about a verbal point, warning us of the grave dangers of confusing belief and knowledge.) Again, there is considerable effrontery in the facile little argument whereby Adler hopes to defeat nominalism about properties. One might think, upon reading it, that men like William of Ockham and Jean Buridan (not to mention, in our day, Quine or David Lewis) just couldn't have been very bright to be taken in by such a stupid doctrine; yet strangely, they are accounted great philosophers. On the other hand, the book contains a number of useful pointers to major philosophical errors, which infected the entire modern tradition up to the positivist era, and continue to exert a baleful influence in many quarters of contemporary analytic philosophy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The premise of Adlers book is to highlight shuttle but devastating errors in the philosophy derived mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries in such areas as truth, knowledge,... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Spellman
Although it is not advertised as such, this book can be thought of as an introduction to the metaphysics necessary to begin to understand Thomistic metaphysics. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bobby Bambino
Lists ten types of miistakes made by famous philophers::Berkeley, Descartes, Hegel, Hobbes,Hume, Kant, Locke, etc. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Charles P. Poole, Jr.
Good beginning for anyone delving into modern philosophy. Worth studying this thinker closely. Aristotle has something to say to us, still!Published 23 months ago by Mighty whig
This short, authoritative text surveys some of the major gaps and problems in modern thought.
I bought a used copy of this book in 2010, as part of my first gush of... Read more
Adler discusses and explains what he terms ten philosophical mistakes that have led to current errors in thinking in general and in philosophy in particular. Read morePublished on July 5, 2012 by bronx book nerd
One thing that Adler seems to be saying in this book is that is that most of the things we see around us are realities, not products of our thinking. Read morePublished on June 30, 2010 by Citris1