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Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed: Educating for the Virtues in the Age of Truthiness and Twitter Hardcover – April 12, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Jerome Bruner, University Professor, New York University, and author of The Process of Education
“This is a profound deepening of Gardner’s earlier work on the various forms of intelligence.  He now sees our ways of understanding the world as operating in, as it were, symphonic relations to each other, yielding the rich diversity that characterizes human thought in different cultural settings. This new book has a stunning freshness about it, a real leap forward.  Bravo!”
 
Nathan Glazer, Professor of Education and Sociology Emeritus, Harvard University
“Howard Gardner has written a wonderful book on the traditional virtues in a world where nothing traditional seems to stand firm. Drawing on an amazing range of contemporary science and knowledge,  exhibiting his characteristic enthusiasm for human possibilities and creativity, he shows us how, both  in formal education and beyond it, we can continue to expand our understanding of these central human goals: in a word, how to live in a world ever made different.”
 
Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System
“Howard Gardner has written a witty book about important ideas, and he invites us to join him on a delightful journey of reflection about what matters most.”
 
Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business and University Professor, the University of Southern California, and author of Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership
“With this bravely imaginative book, fearlessly striking out in regularly contested terrain, Gardner has definitely established himself, along with his pantheon of mentors, Erikson, Bruner and Piaget, as one of the top social scientists of his age. Starting with his ground-breaking Frames of Mind, his genius has been marinating and now fully manifest in this marvelous book.”
 
Antonio Damasio, author of Self Comes to Mind and Looking for Spinoza
“There is cause for rejoicing. Howard Gardner, a leading expert in education and a keen observer of the cultural moment, believes that Truth, Beauty and Goodness are salvageable. At a time of often justified cynicism, Gardner opts instead for reframing the teaching and practice of old virtues within the constraints of today, and, by so doing, restores their standing in the culture. His book is indispensable reading.”
 
Derek Bok, former president, Harvard University
“This book is not merely informative, although it is surely that. It helps us understand and provokes us to think more deeply about some of the most important questions we face in trying to live a full and rewarding life.”
 
Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life
“In his latest book Howard Gardner exemplifies the topics he writes about. He once again combines true scientific insights, beautiful and lucid writing, and exemplary good sense and moral sensitivity.  He explains why neither evolutionary reductionism nor postmodern relativism get it right about the human condition, and outlines an alternative view of the virtues that allows for individual and cultural development and progress, and is both exceptionally sane and deeply humane.”
 
Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University
“Howard Gardner, who may well be the most thoughtful educator writing today, has spent a lifetime thinking about how to address the multiplicity of intelligences that each child brings to the classroom.  Extending that ecumenical stance to the broader project of what we ought to teach in this new century of digital media and cultural confrontation, he comes to open, engaging views about the daunting triplet: Truth, Beauty, Goodness.  This is an ambitious and thoughtful book.  As we struggle with education in a conflicted time, Howard Gardner’s voice is an inspiring one to have on our collective stage.”
 
Kirkus Reviews
“The author is a fluent and articulate writer, and his clarity is further enhanced by the helpful summaries that conclude each section or subsection…A clear and informative view of the changing classical virtues.”
 
Library Journal
“Worthwhile….  As always, Gardner writes lucidly: his formulations, though simple, are never simplistic.  His book will likely find its way into classrooms and seminars but will excite curious general readers as well.”
 
Education Next
“In his thoughtful analysis of the unprecedented technological changes in contemporary culture, Gardner wisely posits a symbiosis of the old with the new….This is a highly thoughtful book dealing with complex issues in an extraordinarily logical and rational manner.” 

Ed. Magazine
“A thoughtful and enthusiastic view of human possibilities.”

Alan Ryan, New York Review of Books
“Howard Gardner may well be the best-known educational theorist in America…. Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed is an engaging mixture of philosophy, personal reflection, and moral exhortation; the philosophy is untechnical, the personal reflection is sympathetic, and it is hard to disagree with [Gardner’s] insistence that we collectively need a clearer sense of how to balance the competing demands placed on all of us…. An extraordinary open-mindedness permeates his book; he is an anxious liberal, not a depressed academic conservative. He is as hostile to ‘mindless absolutism’ as he is to ‘feckless cultural relativism,’ and if this makes him hard to pin down, it also makes him easy to like.”

Teachers College Record
“The great merit of this book lies in Gardner’s ability to talk plainly to teachers and teacher educators about the complex conceptual and technological world we live in and to explain what that complexity means for how we go about aiding students in inquiring into truth claims and making moral and aesthetic judgments. He seeks new understandings of the virtues of truth, beauty and goodness, and outlines ways in which contemporary teachers might effectively teach towards them…. [Gardner’s] clearly written and jargon-free book introduces us in a lively way to some age-old thorny problems surrounding inquiry into “truth,” “beauty,” and “goodness”; calls to our attention salient features of the context in which we presently operate; and offers us some rethinking of this trio of virtues and a set of practical suggestions for their pursuit in classrooms.”

About the Author

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and twenty-six honorary degrees, he is the author of twenty-five books, including Multiple Intelligences and Changing Minds. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465021921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465021925
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Librum VINE VOICE on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
TBaGR is a very thoughtful book by a very thoughtful writer/researcher/scholar/public intellectual. It's pitched to a popular readership, and makes a solid case for what truth, beauty, and goodness are, for why they are important, and for why they are increasingly under threat. Gardner is specifically concerned with the challenge to these virtues that is posed from two quarters: the prevalence of postmodernist thinking in our culture and society at large, with its emphasis on relativism and intolerance of standards/judgements, and the digital world in which 'truths' especially are often simply what the herd says they are (as, for instance, in the case of Wikipedia). All of this is true enough, and does indeed warrant widespread consideration. But this isn't exactly novel stuff. Digitalism is novel enough, I suppose, but the challenges and ambiguities that Gardner rightly observes have been been noted by a great many educators and social critics. And the seepage of postmodernist thinking into the broader culture hasn't exactly gone unnoticed. So, though I'll happily grant that Gardner's book is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, it did not strike me as a profound 'reframing' of the three virtues under consideration. While it ably frames all three, it hardly does so in revolutionary terms. Credit where it's due, Gardner is a very good writer; the issues he raises are essential ones. I am entirely sympathetic to his views. What really kills two stars for this reader, though, (in addition to the fair amount of repetition in what is a short enough book to begin with) is the weakness of Gardner's vision and prescriptions for the future. Granted, no one knows what's coming down the pike.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Gardner has written a thoughtful and insightful critique of the world we live in. By looking at the virtues of truth, beauty and goodness throughout history, he takes a stab at some of society's most vexing problems, offering his take on how we might help the next generation (and ourselves) reverse the decline of our civilization. This brilliant thinker who changed the way we look at education and intelligence shows that he's no one-trick pony with this excellent new direction in his scholarship.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have long thought that the relative neglect in education of The Big Three- The Good, The True, and The Beautiful- is one of our culture's greatest loses. When someone as well-respected as Howard Garner turns our focus to the topic, there is hope of rejoicing.

So many battles in our culture wars are explainable by the fact that most people will choose one favorite from the Three- G, T, or B, and use it to try to explain everything. It's the same problem encountered by the Six Blind People trying to describe an Elephant. Their separate opinions were each true- it's like a snake, a rope, a tree trunk, etc- but only partially so.

Is love an interior, subjective experience that I am having (the Beautiful), the exterior, objective facts of a certain arrangement of neuropeptides attaching to synapses (the True), or something that occurs between people (the Good)? The answer is, of course, yes.

Which is it? Is gay an interior experience of identity (the Beautiful), something defined by inter-subjective relationship (the Good) or is it a particular, objective configuration of hormones and grey matter (the True)? Or perhaps, "I'm spiritual (Beautiful), but not "religious" (Good), and I'm ambivalent about "science" (True). Etc.

While Gardner explains all of the Three clearly (as one would expect), his description and explanation of the Good is especially profound. Even careful scholars sometimes fall into the trap of trying to justify Morals (Good) in reasoned terms that are better suited to the True (which doesn't really work, of course). Gardner instead makes a strong case that the Good (Ethics) is justifiable on it's own terms.
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Format: Hardcover
This is very shallow thought and explanation about the virtues and what is good, true, and beautiful. I listened to it on CD and found it very difficult to get through because the author talks in never ending circles that try to suggest a lot, but say very little. I gave it one star, but it's not that I hated it. There was just nothing to hate. I kept waiting for the author to say something, but he didn't. It was certainly not an education and 'reframed' makes one think of something new and relevant. It wasn't. I found it curious that the author never mentioned any other established work, thoughts, or perspectives on the virtues (that I can remember). He never mentioned Christian writers and thinkers who have exclusively written on this subject for over a 1,000 years--either to agree or to refute their claims and perspectives. To me, that's like talking about football and not at least mentioning the NFL or talking about evolution and not mentioning Darwin. I think his approach handicapped his efforts.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this is an important book. That said, it is not a book to read on the bus or beach. Read it at your desk with a pencil to mark the important passages (and there are many). My favorite sentence: "The advent of the digital media has not fundamentally altered the establishment of truth" (152).
If one works in education, it is particularly important to know the ideas discussed in the book. But read it slowly, and underline much!
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