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Mortimer Adler
(American Philosopher)

Date of Birth:
December 28, 1902

Date of Death:
June 28, 2001


Quote count:

Times favorited:

Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American Aristotelian philosopher and author. He was born in New York City, the son of an immigrant jewelry salesman. He dropped out of school at 14 years of age and went to work as a secretary and copy boy at the New York Sun, hoping to become a journalist. After a year, he took night classes at Columbia University to improve his writing. It was there that he became interested, after reading the autobiography of the great English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in the great philosophers and thinkers of Western civilization. Adler was driven to continue his reading after learning that Mill had read Plato when he was only five years old, while he had not read him at all. A book by Plato was lent to him by a neighbor and Adler became hooked. He then decided to study philosophy at Columbia, where he received a scholarship. Because he had not learned to swim and was otherwise non-athletic, Adler was unable to fulfill the requirement then in place of swimming laps in the College pool and was therefore unable to complete the requirements for his bachelors degree. It did not prevent him from enrolling in the graduate program, and Columbia awarded the B.A. to Adler in 1984 in recognition of his lifetime achievements.

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