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Adult Education by Mortimer J. Adler - Essay Example

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The paper intends to focus upon the ideas of adult education as described by the prominent American philosopher of 20th century, Mortimer Jerome Adler. The learned scholar had a quite different perspective with regards to adult education…
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Adult Education by Mortimer J. Adler
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"Adult Education by Mortimer J. Adler"

Download file to see previous pages Adler was of the view that the ultimate objective of education should be wisdom. He was of the idea that education should be imparted all throughout the life and not just during the years of school.
The paper aims to support the views of Mortimer J Adler with regards to adult education. The paper will also consider some of the arguments against the views of Adler but only to substantiate the effectiveness of the Adler’s point.


Prior to getting in to the in-depth analysis of Adler’s arguments for adult education, it is ought to be mentioned that Adler perceived a basic difference in between schooling and education. He thought schooling to be confined within the years of formal institutional training where as education to him was much broader concept and it comprised of lifelong learning. The point of Adler is perfect as he later justifies the reason of such perception. According to him, during the school education, the recipient is ‘child’ even though he is attaining university because of the fact that he is immature. The fact cannot be underwritten that even the topper of the university has limited exposure with respect to real life situations and therefore the identification of thin line in between the right and the wrong could not be perfectly possible for him. Adler rightly argues that in order to have the desired effects of education., the recipient needs to be matured enough and he or she should be aware of the real life complexities. According to the scholar, if the student is unable to think and rethink, it is impossible to attain wisdom. The observation of Adler cannot be more perfect. It is only the real life experiences that teach a human being the basic qualities of contemplation and anticipation. There is no point in making the pupils study high level theories within the confinement of the school boundaries for the basic reason that the children would not be able to relate the effectiveness of the theories with examples and therefore is unable to experience and learn the theories. According to him, adult education not only bridges the gap that was created because of the deficiency of the school education but it is actually a form of lifelong learning. Adler supports the methods of education as prescribed by Aristotle and Plato. The Greek philosophers had vouched for lifelong education. The fact can be related with the eligibility methods followed in the reputed business schools of western world where admissions are granted only to the professionals who have a minimum of few years of work experience. The point that Adler raises in the later part of the essay that in order to solve the problems, great-books program should be inducted, is also a feasible solution. Apart from the three points that the philosopher pointed out, the other important argument in favour of the program is that the books had already won the test of time and generations after generations have been benefitted for them. The life-long learners should study the great-books so that the education reaches its desired target. Counter Arguments Though the essay of Adler has many positives, it would be wrong to suggest that the theory was fully apt and concise. The way Adler pitched against vocational training would raise many eyebrows. He commented that vocational training was required only to make slaves. Such a view point cannot be supported. Similarly, he stated that to get a job, one need not go to school. From such a statement his sheer hatred towards the modern day jobs was exhibited. The point might hold good for the well-off classes of the society but the middle income group and lower income group of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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