26 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2024
  2. Nov 2023
    1. Maybe this will help: [Great Books of the Western World SYNTOPICON changes in 1986 (more info in comments) : ClassicalEducation](https://www.reddit.com/r/ClassicalEducation/comments/hlvnkv/great_books_of_the_western_world_syntopicon/)

      reply to u/Paddy48ob at https://www.reddit.com/r/antinet/comments/17jscyk/comment/k80z1nn/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      Thanks for this pointer. As a note, when I compare my 1954 version against the photo of the 1990 edition (which has fewer pages), it's obvious that the "1. The ends of education" section in the 1954 edition is significantly more thorough with more references (and supplementary data) which don't exist in the 1990 edition. The 1990 edition presumably removes the references for the books which they may have removed from that edition (though it may have actually been even more--I didn't check this carefully).

      Just comparing the two pages that I can see, I don't see any references to the added texts of the 1990 edition appearing in that version of the Syntopicon at all.

      I took a quick look at the Syntopicon V1 (1990) via the Internet Archive and of the added texts that year I sampled searches for Voltaire, Erasmus, and John Calvin and the only appearances of them to be found are in the Addition Bibliography sections which is also where they appeared in the 1952 editions. My small sampling/search found no added references of any of these three to the primary portions of the main References sections, so they obviously didn't do the additional editorial work to find and insert those.

      As a result, it appears that the 1952 (and reprint editions following it) have a measurably better and more valuable version of the Syntopicon. The 1990 (2nd Edition) is a watered down and less useful version of the original. It is definitely not the dramatically improved version one might have hoped for given the intervening 38 years.

  3. Oct 2023
    1. Value of the "Graph" .t3_17jscyk._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      I have been curious what their Great Books project would have looked like if they'd kept it up since 1952. Adding additional layers of additional great books as well as seminal books from the 20th century onward. With digital humanities projects abounding as well as digitization of various zettelkasten like structures (aka databases), it would be interesting to see what a digitized version of the Syntopicon would look like today. u/AllossoDan, are you cutting it back up into digital chunks?! Need help? 😁🗃️

  4. Aug 2023
    1. Barzun, Jacques. “The Great Books.” The Atlantic, December 1952. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1952/12/the-great-books/642341/.

      Barzun heaps praise on Great Books of the Western World with some criticism of what it is also missing. He finds more than a few superlative words for the majesty of the Syntopicon.

    2. I he fact is that there arc some three thousand subheadings. So persons who feel that an official ceiling of 102 ideas would cramp their style can breathe freely.

      According to Jacques Barzun (and possibly written in the volumes itself), while the Syntopicon has 102 ideas, there are "some three thousand subheadings."

  5. Jul 2023
    1. Robert Hutchins, former dean of Yale Law School (1927–1929), president (1929–1945) and chancellor (1945–1951) of the University of Chicago, closes his preface to his grand project with Mortimer J. Adler by giving pride of place to Adler's Syntopicon. It touches on the unreasonable value of building and maintaining a zettelkasten:

      But I would do less than justice to Mr. Adler's achievement if I left the matter there. The Syntopicon is, in addition to all this, and in addition to being a monument to the industry, devotion, and intelligence of Mr. Adler and his staff, a step forward in the thought of the West. It indicates where we are: where the agreements and disagreements lie; where the problems are; where the work has to be done. It thus helps to keep us from wasting our time through misunderstanding and points to the issues that must be attacked. When the history of the intellectual life of this century is written, the Syntopicon will be regarded as one of the landmarks in it. —Robert M. Hutchins, p xxvi The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education. 1952.

      Adler's Syntopicon has been briefly discussed in the forum.zettelkasten.de space before. However it isn't just an index compiled into two books which were volumes 2 and 3 of The Great Books of the Western World, it's physically a topically indexed card index or a grand zettelkasten surveying Western culture. Its value to readers and users is immeasurable and it stands as a fascinating example of what a well-constructed card index might allow one to do even when they don't have their own yet. For those who have only seen the Syntopicon in book form, you might better appreciate pictures of it in slipbox form prior to being published as two books covering 2,428 pages:

      Two page spread of Life Magazine article with the title "The 102 Great Ideas" featuring a photo of 26 people behind 102 card index boxes with categorized topical labels from "Angel" to "Will".

      Mortimer J. Adler holding a pipe in his left hand and mouth posing in front of dozens of boxes of index cards with topic headwords including "law", "love", "life", "sin", "art", "democracy", "citizen", "fate", etc.

      Adler spoke of practicing syntopical reading, but anyone who compiles their own card index (in either analog or digital form) will realize the ultimate value in creating their own syntopical writing or what Robert Hutchins calls participating in "The Great Conversation" across twenty-five centuries of documented human communication. Adler's version may not have had the internal structure of Luhmann's zettelkasten, but it definitely served similar sorts of purposes for those who worked on it and published from it.

      References

      syndication link: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2623/mortimer-j-adlers-syntopicon-a-topically-arranged-collaborative-slipbox/

    1. But I would do less than justice to Mr. Adler's achieve-ment if I left the matter there. The Syntopicon is, in additionto all this, and in addition to being a monument to the indus-try, devotion, and intelligence of Mr. Adler and his staff, astep forward in the thought of the West. It indicates wherewe are: where the agreements and disagreements lie; wherethe problems are; where the work has to be done. It thushelps to keep us from wasting our time through misunder-standing and points to the issues that must be attacked.When the history of the intellectual life of this century iswritten, the Syntopicon will be regarded as one of the land-marks in it.

      p xxvi

      Hutchins closes his preface to his grand project with Mortimer J. Adler by giving pride of place to Adler's Syntopicon.

      Adler's Syntopicon isn't just an index compiled into two books which were volumes 2 and 3 of The Great Books of the Western World, it's physically a topically indexed card index of data (a grand zettelkasten surveying Western culture if you will). It's value to readers and users is immeasurable and it stands as a fascinating example of what a well-constructed card index might allow one to do even when they don't have their own yet.

      Adler spoke of practicing syntopical reading, but anyone who compiles their own card index (in either analog or digital form) will realize the ultimate value in creating their own syntopical writing or what Robert Hutchins calls participating in "The Great Conversation" across twenty-five centuries of documented human communication.

      See also: https://hypothes.is/a/WF4THtUNEe2dZTdlQCbmXw


      The way Hutchins presents the idea of "Adler's achievement" here seems to indicate that Hutchins didn't have a direct hand in compiling or working on it directly.

    2. *For a more elaborate description of the structure and uses of the Syntopicon, see the PossibleApproaches to This Set in this volume (pp. 85-89) and the Preface to the Syntopicon (Vol.II, pp. xi-xxxi).

      This is the first footnote of the work—a simple pointer for learning how the Syntopicon works. Because of the value of the Syntopicon, whose two volumes follow this one, this is a nice little bit of pedagogy here leading up to the Syntopicon's value.

    1. https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/622/syntopicon

      Some in the ZK space have looked at the Syntopicon, but they primarily see the finished book product and don't seem to be aware of the slip-based portion of the project.

  6. Apr 2023
    1. Hutchins, Robert M., Mortimer J. Adler, and William Gorman, eds. The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World, Volume II, Man to World. 1st ed. Vol. 3. 54 vols. The Great Books of the Western World. Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1952.

    1. Hutchins, Robert M., Mortimer J. Adler, and William Gorman, eds. The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World, Volume I, Angel to Love. 1st ed. Vol. 2. 54 vols. Great Books of the Western World. Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1952.

    1. TheSyntopicon invites the reader to make on the set whatever demands arisefrom his own problems and interests. It is constructed to enable the reader,nomatter what the stages of his reading in other ways, to find that part of theGreat Conversation in which any topic that interests him is being discussed.

      While the Syntopicon ultimately appears in book form, one must recall that it started life as a paper slip-based card index (Life v24, issue 4, 1948). This index can be queried in some of the ways one might have queried a library card catalog or more specifically the way in which Niklas Luhmann indicated that he queried his zettelkasten (Luhmann,1981). Unlike a library card catalog, The Syntopicon would not only provide a variety of entry places within the Western canon to begin their search for answers, but would provide specific page numbers and passages rather than references to entire books.

      The Syntopicon invites the reader to make on the set whatever demands arise from his own problems and interests. It is constructed to enable the reader, no matter what the stages of his reading in other ways, to find that part of the Great Conversation in which any topic that interests him is being discussed. (p. 85)

      While the search space for the Syntopicon wasn't as large as the corpus covered by larger search engines of the 21st century, the work that went into making it and the depth and focus of the sources make it a much more valuable search tool from a humanistic perspective. This work and value can also be seen in a personal zettelkasten. Some of the value appears in the form of having previously built a store of contextualized knowledge, particularly in cases where some ideas have been forgotten or not easily called to mind, which serves as a context ratchet upon which to continue exploring and building.

  7. Oct 2022
    1. http://www.greyroom.org/issues/60/20/the-dialectic-of-the-university-his-masters-voice/

      “The Indexers pose with the file of Great Ideas. At sides stand editors [Mortimer] Adler (left) and [William] Gorman (right). Each file drawer contains index references to a Great Idea. In center are the works of the 71 authors which constitute the Great Books.” From “The 102 Great Ideas: Scholars Complete a Monumental Catalog,” Life 24, no. 4 (26 January 1948). Photo: George Skadding.

    1. e called on his fellow rabbis to submitnotecards with details from their readings. He proposed that a central office gathermaterial into a ‘system’ of information about Jewish history, and he suggested theypublish the notes in the CCAR’s Yearbook.

      This sounds similar to the variety of calls to do collaborative card indexes for scientific efforts, particularly those found in the fall of 1899 in the journal Science.

      This is also very similar to Mortimer J. Adler et al's group collaboration to produce The Syntopicon as well as his work on Propædia and Encyclopædia Britannica.

      link to: https://hypothes.is/a/nvWZnuApEeuKR--5AeBv8w

  8. Aug 2022
    1. https://github.com/sajjad2881/NewSyntopicon

      Someone's creating a new digitally linked version of the Syntopicon as text files for Obsidian (and potentially other platforms). Looks like it's partial at best and will need a lot of editing work to become whole.

      found by way of

      Has anyone made a hypermedia rendition of the Syntopicon, i.e. with transcluded windows or "parallel pages" into the indexed texts?<br><br>Many of Adler's Great Books are public domain, so it wouldn't require *so* titanic a copyright issue… pic.twitter.com/UmWiyn5aBC

      — Andy Matuschak (@andy_matuschak) August 17, 2022
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
  9. Jun 2022
    1. Mortimer J. Adler's slip box collection (Photo of him holding a pipe in his left hand and mouth posing in front of dozens of boxes of index cards with topic headwords including "law", "love", "life", "sin", "art", "democracy", "citizen", "fate", etc.)

      Though if we roughly estimate this collection at 1000 cards per box with roughly 76 boxes potentially present, the 76,000 cards are still shy of Luhmann's collection. It'll take some hunting thigs down, but as Adler suggests that people write their notes in their books, which he would have likely done, then this collection isn't necessarily his own. I suspect, but don't yet have definitive proof, that it was created as a group effort for the 54-volume Great Books of the Western World and its two-volume index of great ideas, the Syntopicon.

  10. Sep 2021
  11. Jul 2021
    1. Reminded by Connor of Mortimer Adler's Syntopicon. I'm pretty sure I've got it in my list of encyclopedias growing out of the commonplace book tradition, but... just in case.

      If I recall it was compiled using index cards, thus also placing it in the zettelkasten tradition.

      (via Almay)

      If you’re generalizing Zettelkasten to “All Non-Linear Knowledge Management Strategies” You should include Mortimer Adler and the Syntopicon, and John Locke’s guide to how to set up a commonplace book<br><br>This isn’t a game of calling “dibs”<br><br>it’s about 🧠👶shttps://t.co/sH3JO6d9Jq

      — Conor White-Sullivan 𐃏🇸🇻 (@Conaw) July 8, 2021
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