Great Books

(not the same as my personal Greatest Books list :)

Mortimer Adler's Western Canon

a basis for Socratic dialogue?

because they are old, many are available as free EBook-s.


"Why Read Great Books?" by Adler

JuniorGreatBooks for Educating Kids

A Syntopicon: An Index to The Great Ideas (1952; second edition, 1990) is a two-volume index, published as volumes 2 and 3 of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.’s collection Great Books of the Western World. Compiled by Mortimer J. Adler, an American philosopher, under the guidance of Robert Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, the volumes were billed as a collection and guide to the most important ideas, clustered under 102 "Great Ideas", of the Western canon. The term “syntopicon” as well as "Great Ideas" were coined specifically for this undertaking, the former a Neo-latin word meaning “a collection of topics.”[1] The volumes catalogued what Adler and his team deemed to be the fundamental ideas contained in the works of the Great Books of the Western World, which stretched chronologically from Homer to Freud. The Syntopicon lists, under each idea, where every occurrence of the concept can be located in the collection's famous works. The Syntopicon was revised as part of the second edition of the collection... The Syntopicon's list was "arbitrary", as even Adler admitted.[16] The press and others also found problems with the Syntopicon, and despite Adler’s predictions (“we predict that, as dictionaries are indispensable in the realm of words, and encyclopaedias in the realm of facts, so the Syntopicon will become indispensable in the realm of ideas”[5] ) the Syntopicon has fallen into relative obscurity.

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