2cornucopias

Right Thinking About Thinking

In 08 Book Corner on 2013/08/18 at 12:00 AM

Mortimer Adler was a philosopher and teacher who taught at the University of Chicago.  He set up the GREAT BOOKS series.

Here follow some of his thoughts from his book on ARISTOTLE FOR EVERYONE.  You might find some of his comments interesting and worthwhile.  They are not difficult for the average person to understand and can come in quite handy in dealing with our realities today.  At most, these excerpts will serve as a refresher of how you think in an age where thinking is becoming a rarity.

Definition of common sense: the notions that we have formed as a result of the common experiences we have in the course of our daily lives.

Personal prejudice: things we hold to be simply true because we want to believe them.  We have no rational grounds for believing them.  Instead, we are emotionally attached to them.

Prescriptive statements: order what you or I ought to do.

Thinking begins by asking WHY?  Ideas are the product of the mind’s activity in its effort to understand the world we experience through our senses.

Ideas are the raw materials out of which the mind forms judgments in which something is affirmed or denied.

Humans ask general questions and seek answers by observation and thought.

Thinking begins with the formation of ideas on the basis of information received by our senses.

Sensation: input form the exterior; ideas: output of the mind.

Thinking goes further; it RELATES the ideas it produces, joins, separates, sets one against another.

Reasoning or inference: only when one statement become the basis for asserting of denying another statement does the mind move up to the level of thought.  At this level, thinking involves giving reason for what we think: True or False? Logical or Illogical?

When a pair of contradictory statements are contradictory, both cannot be true, no both false.  One must be true and the other false.

When our answers do not consist of knowledge, they are just opinions.  The opinions we hold may be supported by reason or observation or without such support.

Productive thinking is thinking about things to be made.  Practical thinking, in contrast, is thinking about what is to be done.

Moral virtue is the habit  of making right choices.  The virtuous person is on who makes the right choices regularly,  time and time again, although not necessarily every single time.  Persons who are not temperate injure themselves by habitually making wrong choices.

Man (the rational thinking being) is as maker concerned with beauty; as doer he is concerned with good and evil; as knower he is concerned with truth.

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