5 W 93rd St, New York, NY 10025, United States
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School where Felix Adler studied.
New York, NY 10027, United States
Columbia University where Felix Adler studied.
69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Heidelberg University where Felix Adler received a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Felix Adler studied at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School. Later he studied at Columbia University and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1870. Adler also studied at Heidelberg University where he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1873.
Felix Adler started his career as a professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature at Cornell University in 1874. He held this post until 1876 and in 1902 he became a professor of Social and Political Ethics at Columbia University. He held this post until his death in 1933. Adler also gave a series of six lectures on "The Ethics of Marriage" at the Lowell Institute.
In February 1877, Adler and Joseph Seligman founded the Society of Ethical Culture. Shortly after the Society founded the District Nursing Department, which organized a team of nurses who visited the homebound sick in poor districts. In 1878 Felix Adler established a Free Kindergarten for working people's children that provided basic necessities for the children, such as clothing and hot meals. In 1880, Adler organized a workingman's school that later became the Ethical Culture School. He served as the rector of this school until his death.
Felix Adler published his first book Creed and Deed in 1877. Later he wrote such books as Life and Destiny, The Religion of Duty, The World Crisis and Its Meaning and Incompatibility In Marriage. He also wrote some book chapters for such books as Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ethical Movement and Post-mortem use of Wealth, Including a Consideration of Ante-mortem Gifts.
In 1876, Felix Adler reiterated the need for religion, without the trappings of ritual or creed, that united all of humankind in moral social action. In the lectures of this period, he states that Judaism is a universal religion for all, and it is possible to build a single solitary state on its basis. Later he came under the influence of Unitarianism. He said that the death of religion is possible, as well as the existence of religion without God. Adler expressed the idea that religion and divine principles are created by people and their faith is limited by national character, geographical and social environment. In 1877, he published his book Creed and Deed in which he denies the divinity of the Old Testament and Peculiar People.
Adler defended the freedom of ethics from the supernatural. In his work An Ethical Philosophy of Life, he emphasizes that not morality should be based on religion, but religion on morality. Adler raises the question of the nature of God and finally, he comes to the conclusion that there is no God, as he is understood in orthodox Judaism. However, there is a certain reality that abides in nature and from which the harmony of the world emanates. Adler said that the essence of any religion is to help a person realize his passion for being morally perfect.
At the end of the 1890s, Felix Adler switched his concern from domestic issues to the question of American foreign policy. At first, he supported the Spanish-American War but later expressed concern about American sovereignty over the Philippines and Puerto Rico. He believed that an imperialistic rather than a democratic goal was guiding The United States foreign policy.
Adler also did not believe that the defeat of the German Empire in the First World War would make the world safe for democracy. He opposed the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations and offered an alternative a "Parliament of Parliaments" elected by the legislative bodies of the different nations and representing different classes of people.
Felix Adler considered philosophy not just a guide of life but the key to improving society and the human condition appropriate to respect for essential human dignity. He emphasized the essentially social nature of humanity and morality. He said that a person with his whole nature is intended to search for a social and moral ideal.
Adler saw a need to balance essential general principles with consideration of the particular specific circumstances. He developed his own version of what he called Kant's "formula" which was, "Treat every person as a spiritual means to thine own spiritual end and conversely."
Adler believed that it is necessary to put the moral law into practice. In this regard, he introduces the concept of Applied Ethics. The main goal of this ethics is to achieve the best for others and, therefore, for oneself. He said that Applied Ethics is the ethics of human relationships, which themselves are in the process of constant change, as moral standards, actions, and relationships are constantly evolving and evolving. Adler said that the achievements of society allow people to enjoy the products of their labor, however, these products hinder the achievement of higher moral values.
"When we are about to set forth on a path hitherto untried and likely to lead our lives in a new direction, it appears eminently desirable and proper that we should, in the first place, briefly review the public and private life of the day, in order to determine whether the essential elements that make up the happiness of states and individuals are all duly provided, and if not, where the need lies and how it can best be supplied."
"The moral improvement of the nations and their individual components has not kept pace with the march of intellect and the advance of industry."
"We have already transgressed the limit of safety, and the present disorders of our time are but precursors of other and imminent dangers."
"There is a great and crying evil in modern society. It is want of purpose. It is that narrowness of vision which shuts out the wider vistas of the soul. It is the absence of those sublime emotions which, wherever they arise, do not fall to exalt and consecrate existence."
"The freedom of thought is a sacred right of every individual man, and diversity will continue to increase with the progress, refinement, and differentiation of the human intellect."
"Man is like a tree, with the mighty trunk of intellect, the spreading branches of imagination, and the roots of the lower instincts that bind him to the earth. The moral life, however, is the fruit he bears; in it his true nature is revealed."
"Good deeds remain good, no matter whether we know how the world was made or not. Vile deeds are vile, no matter whether we know or do not know what, after death, will be the fate of the doer. We know, at least, what his fate is now, namely, to be wedded to the vileness."
"Spiritual evolution is the progressive advance of mankind toward a state of things in which the light of ethical perfection shall be reflected from the face of human society; that is, in which all men shall live and move and have their being in mutually promoting the highest life of each and all."
Felix Adler was the founding chairman of the National Child Labor Committee, president of the Eastern division of the American Philosophical Association and chairman of the Mississippi National Youth Working Committee.
Felix Adler married Helen Goldmark in 1880. The marriage produced five children.