Project #55957 - discussion board 11

Discussion Board 11_1

After reading pages 375 - 412 of Van Doren's book, do the following:

For each of the following topics, explain in a sentence or two what Van Doren expects to be the next stage of computers, the macrocosm and microcosm discoveries, Chaos Theory, being a terrestrial neighbor, eugenics, the effects of mapping the Genome, speed, addictions, and war.  This book was published in 1991. Discuss the discoveries or changes that Van Doren accurately predicted.

Post your explanations, speculations and expectations to Discussion Board 11_1 by the following Tuesday, 12:00 a. m. CST.  Also, by the following Thursday, 12:00 a. m. CST, respond thoughtfully to at least one other student's postings by asking questions, amplifying what was written, relating it to your own experience, showing a good example of the viewpoint, or giving and explaining a contrary viewpoint.  Engage the other student(s) in the material.

Discussion Board 11_2

After completing this week's assigned Adler reading, post your thoughts/answers to Discussion Board 11_2 by the following Tuesday, 12:00 a.m. CST.

Critically discuss six of Adler's claims in Chapter 26 and in particular his views concerning Truth, Goodness and Beauty in Chapter 27.  Conclude you discussion with a statement which summarizes Adler's views about Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and why he thinks they are so important.



Focus on Reading (Notes from your Professor)

The following notes refer to this week's Adler readings.

Ideas, Issues, and Questions

106405850.jpgThis chapter serves as a transitional from the preceding twenty-five chapters and the summation of the last two chapters. In the chapter on "Concerning Truth, Goodness, and Beauty" Adler sums up the first triad of great ideas...

Concerning Truth, Goodness, and Beauty


Truth, the agreement between the mind and reality rests upon several assumptions;

  • That there is a realm of existence independent of the human mind.
    • Reality is independent of our mind and actions; it exists after we do not,
  • Reality has a determinate character; aspects are either true or false,
    • The extreme skeptic denies there is a true or false nature of reality,
      • There is a self-contradiction in the logic of an extreme skeptic
        • Ergo, conversation is useless or
        • Put the skeptics ideas to the test

'The principle of contradiction' is the idea that something can be and not be at the same time.

For example,

  1. It is true that the Green Bay Packers won the 2012 Super Bowl.
  2. It is true that the Green Bay Packers loss the 2012 Super Bowl

The principle of contradiction says both these statements cannot be accurate. Either one is false or both are false but both cannot be true.

If reality is "true" then the 'determinate character' of reality aligns with the principle of contradiction.   Either something is true or it is not. But something cannot be true and false at the same time. We can DETERMINE the character of a truth.

William James' pragmatic theory of truth;

"An opinion passes the pragmatic test by working as we expect it to only if it corresponds with the way things are."  

For example, we can make a statement that something is true. And 99.999999% of the time it is true. However, because it is not true .000001% of the time, it is not wholly true. This test suggests that being predictable does not make it wholly true - although the evidence aligns with your prediction.

  • Prediction and Verification (page 214)
  • You may recall that Adler told us that goodness is when we desire what we need: a 'need' being something that is necessary for life.

Question: "Is all probability subjective or, in certain areas of reality, does objective probability exist?"

Subjective probability measures degrees of uncertainty or doubt concerning the truth of our judgment about reality. In other words, despite our confidence in the predictability of an outcome, we cannot say with exact certainty that the outcome is always predictable. There is an element of unpredictability. Since this element of unpredictability exists, the truth is not known with certainty.

Remember that truth is objective and never changes. Once something is true; it is true forever and everyone recognizes that this is the truth.   So if there is a chance that a 'truth' is unpredictable, it is a subjective truth. If something is always true and there is no possibility of being untrue, then it is objective. An objective truth is that the bodies of all human beings eventually die; this we know.

Statistics allow us to make good subjective probability guesses but do not allow for certitude; we can use statistics to make very educated guesses which are often correct but since there is a chance that the statistics will fail - we are not certain (100% or 1) that an event will occur.

Adler is now going to discuss an example within the field of physics where 'subatomic particles' actually can exist and not exist at the same time. Since this exception exists, he is alerting the reader that his commentary (above) is not wholly truth. (I would not invest a great deal of effort into this section of the chapter).

He also uses the field of mathematics to suggest that if there ever were an area of study where everyone should it agree, it would be mathematics.


Adler asks if there are objectively true value judgments, judgments which are true for all humans at all times. If there are then "we" can tell others what they ought and ought not do. Is there an objective truth in the sphere of value judgments?

  • You may recall that Adler told us that goodness is when we desire what we need: a 'need' being something that is necessary for life.

"The objectivity of goodness presupposes the existence of a human reality - a human nature that is determinate and [universal]...Individual members of the human (race), being equally human, are innately endowed with the same human properties (needs and wants, goods)."

Adler then makes a brilliant comment, "The number of human needs has always been the same and will always be the same..." He is saying that what we need to survive has not and will not change. Apply that to government, phew.

A need (real good) is something necessary to survive. If your needs are not met, you die.

A want (apparent good) is desired but not needed. We 'lie' to ourselves to say that wants are goods.

An 'Implemental Need' is something that we must incur to obtain genuine needs. Alder uses the example of transportation in order to get to work since we MUST work in order to obtain our needs.   We will not die of we are denied implemental needs but implemental needs are necessary to get genuine needs and, without genuine needs we will die. Adler does not use the term 'genuine needs.' I am using this term to differentiate between implemental needs and genuine needs.

Natural Needs and Natural Rights:

Since we are all equal in our humanness, and since Adler suggest we all share the identical needs, "All human beings have the same set of natural rights because all human beings have inherent needs for the same set of real goods (wants)."

Immanuel Kant:   This known philosopher suggest that it is the validity of the law rather than morality which causes us to act. "According to Kant, the only thing that is really good in this world is good will - a will that complies with the moral law, a willingness to don one's duty according to the moral law."


'Enjoyable Beauty' is in the 'eye of the beholder' or taste.

'Admirable Beauty' is judged by qualified experts based upon criteria.

One can 'educate' their tastes to move from being an enjoyable to admirable judge of beauty.

 "A morally virtuous person is one who takes pleasure in acquiring real goods and in making the right choices."



Subject English
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