Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed

Educating for the Virtues in the Age of Truthiness and Twitter


By Howard E. Gardner

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From ancient times, philosophers, theologians, and artists have attempted to describe and categorize the defining virtues of civilization. In Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed, renowned education authority Howard Gardner explores the meaning of the title’s three virtues in an age when vast technological advancement and relativistic attitudes toward human nature have deeply shaken our moral worldview. His incisive examination reveals that although these concepts are changing faster than ever before, they are — and will remain, with our stewardship — cornerstones of our society. Designed to appeal to a wide readership, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed is an approachable primer on the foundations of ethics in the modern age. Request Desk/Exam Copy

  • Kirkus Reviews
    “The author is a fluent and articulate writer, and his clarity is further enhanced by the helpful summaries that conclude each section or subsection.... A clear and informative view of the changing classical virtues.”

    Library Journal
    “Worthwhile.... As always, Gardner writes lucidly: his formulations, though simple, are never simplistic.  His book will likely find its way into classrooms and seminars but will excite curious general readers as well.”

    Education Next
    “In his thoughtful analysis of the unprecedented technological changes in contemporary culture, Gardner wisely posits a symbiosis of the old with the new.... This is a highly thoughtful book dealing with complex issues in an extraordinarily logical and rational manner.”

    Ed. Magazine
    “A thoughtful and enthusiastic view of human possibilities.”
  • Alan Ryan, New York Review of Books
    “Howard Gardner may well be the best-known educational theorist in America.... Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed is an engaging mixture of philosophy, personal reflection, and moral exhortation; the philosophy is untechnical, the personal reflection is sympathetic, and it is hard to disagree with [Gardner's] insistence that we collectively need a clearer sense of how to balance the competing demands placed on all of us.... An extraordinary open-mindedness permeates his book; he is an anxious liberal, not a depressed academic conservative. He is as hostile to ‘mindless absolutism' as he is to ‘feckless cultural relativism,' and if this makes him hard to pin down, it also makes him easy to like.”
  • Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life
    “In his latest book Howard Gardner exemplifies the topics he writes about. He once again combines true scientific insights, beautiful and lucid writing, and exemplary good sense and moral sensitivity.  He explains why neither evolutionary reductionism nor postmodern relativism get it right about the human condition, and outlines an alternative view of the virtues that allows for individual and cultural development and progress, and is both exceptionally sane and deeply humane.”

    Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University
    “Howard Gardner, who may well be the most thoughtful educator writing today, has spent a lifetime thinking about how to address the multiplicity of intelligences that each child brings to the classroom. Extending that ecumenical stance to the broader project of what we ought to teach in this new century of digital media and cultural confrontation, he comes to open, engaging views about the daunting triplet: Truth, Beauty, Goodness. This is an ambitious and thoughtful book. As we struggle with education in a conflicted time, Howard Gardner's voice is an inspiring one to have on our collective stage.”
  • Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business and University Professor, the University of Southern California, andauthor of Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership
    “With this bravely imaginative book, fearlessly striking out in regularly contested terrain, Gardner has definitely established himself, along with his pantheon of mentors, Erikson, Bruner and Piaget, as one of the top social scientists of his age. Starting with his ground-breaking Frames of Mind, his genius has been marinating and now fully manifest in this marvelous book.”

    Antonio Damasio, author of Self Comes to Mind and Looking for Spinoza
    “There is cause for rejoicing. Howard Gardner, a leading expert in education and a keen observer of the cultural moment, believes that Truth, Beauty and Goodness are salvageable. At a time of often justified cynicism, Gardner opts instead for reframing the teaching and practice of old virtues within the constraints of today, and, by so doing, restores their standing in the culture. His book is indispensable reading.”

    Derek Bok, former president, Harvard University
    “This book is not merely informative, although it is surely that. It helps us understand and provokes us to think more deeply about some of the most important questions we face in trying to live a full and rewarding life.”
  • Jerome Bruner, University Professor, New York University, and author of The Process of Education
    “This is a profound deepening of Gardner's earlier work on the various forms of intelligence.  He now sees our ways of understanding the world as operating in, as it were, symphonic relations to each other, yielding the rich diversity that characterizes human thought in different cultural settings. This new book has a stunning freshness about it, a real leap forward.  Bravo!”

    Nathan Glazer, Professor of Education and Sociology Emeritus, Harvard University
    “Howard Gardner has written a wonderful book on the traditional virtues in a world where nothing traditional seems to stand firm. Drawing on an amazing range of contemporary science and knowledge,  exhibiting his characteristic enthusiasm for human possibilities and creativity, he shows us how, both  in formal education and beyond it, we can continue to expand our understanding of these central human goals: in a word, how to live in a world ever made different.”

    Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System
    “Howard Gardner has written a witty book about important ideas, and he invites us to join him on a delightful journey of reflection about what matters most.”

On Sale
Nov 6, 2012
Page Count
272 pages
Basic Books

Howard E. Gardner

About the Author

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. The author of more than twenty books and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and twenty-one honorary degrees, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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