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Nonfiction > Philosophy

Philosophy

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Douglas

Douglas Auburn, WA, United States Member Since 2008

College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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  • "What Some Of Us Have Always Known..."

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    My work in greyhound and horse rescue has shown me over the years something very clearly: animals understand a moral act done toward them (rescuing them from rugged and abusive situations), appreciate it, and return the favor in acts of protection, devotion and love. This book covers such aspects of four-legged morality as well as how animals care for, protect and sacrifice for each other. Several now famous studies have shown how voles are monogamous, vampire bats (yes!) practice reciprocal altruism (one bat has a bad night, a bat that had a good night will spit up some of his collected blood into the hungry bat's mouth--and later, the favor is returned when the tables are turned--yummy!), and I can tell you that horses instantly recognize a good person or a cruel one and remember a friend forever...and remember as well those who have done them a wrong turn at some point. From an evolutionary standpoint, it only makes sense. Neo-Darwinian sociologists stand in line these days to write books about how humans developed a sense of morality in order for the greater number of the group to survive due to group protection and caring and justice--why in the world would we think that other mammals had not developed the same tendencies in order to keep their species going as well?!

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    Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Marc Bekoff, Jessica Pierce
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male?

    Douglas says: "What Some Of Us Have Always Known..."
  • "Stellar Course!"

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    Patrick Grim lays out the groundwork for the major theories of mind and what it means to "be a being" with consciousness, thought and self-awareness. The course is in depth and very intelligent, but presented in such a way as the layman will readily understand if proper attention is paid to the lectures. Another Great Courses lecture series on this same topic by John Searle will also be quite helpful. Once these courses are completed, I recommend moving on to books like Brian Christian's The Most Human Human (artificial intelligence) V. Ramachandran's The Tell-Tale Brain (neurology and pathology) and Sebastian Seung's Connectome (neurology, consciousness and self-awareness). Grim and Searle's lectures are a wonderful place to start on the pathway to learning about the philosophy, physiology and psychology of who you are and why there is a "who you are."

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    Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick Grim
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (42)

    The quest to understand the mind has motivated some of history's most profound thinkers. But only in our own time are we beginning to see the true complexity of this quest, as today's philosophers draw on the latest evidence from neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and other fields to probe deeply into the inner workings of the mind.

    Douglas says: "Stellar Course!"
  • ""Telling The Truth..."

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    is being aware of what the truth is in any given moment..." This is perhaps the most pivotal line in Sam Harris' challenging essay on lying and truth telling. We must first be perfectly honest with ourselves before we can be honest with others. (Consider Emily Dickinson's "...we hide ourselves behind ourselves..." or a line from the sitcom "Community:" the biggest lies are told six inches from the bathroom mirror...") Then it all boils down to "do unto others." Harris very poignantly asked us how we would want people to deal with us on a daily basis. All, right, in way, we want politicians to "tell us what we want to hear," but if we go by rule one, being aware of the truth in any given moment, wouldn't we want the truth always given to us straight? Of course, where we are going to cringe is not with extramarital affairs, financial cheats and calculated harm, but rather with the everyday, work-a-day social lying. "Do I look good in this dress?..." "Does my son's behavior bother you?..." "Are you free to come to my party on Friday night?..." Harris makes a compelling argument--if one not all of us are probably going to run out and implement immediately--that the truth can be told in ALL situations, that these little social situations can be handled TACTFULLY, but that tactfully doesn't have to skirt the truth. In a writing class I teach based in Theories Of Morality, I tell this true story: One evening, I was teaching a five-hour block of college English classes, and it was 6:50, and I had not had any dinner and only a fairly sparse lunch. My only chance was to get to the student union and the commissary for a quick slice of dried out pizza before it closed at 7:00 and my next class started. I had ten minutes to cram some bad food in my mouth before pressing on to my next class, and a female student was leisurely strolling beside me, speaking to me about a personal manner of no earth-shattering import. I was trying to be polite and listen and respond appropriately, barely able to make out the words being spoken for the screams of hunger my body was giving forth. The student would not pick up the pace or pick up the silent visual cues that usually say "all right, got to get going! [we are done here]." And so, automatically, with no due calculation, I said, smiling gently and touching her on the arm, "you know, I have to hurry by the office to get some papers real quick before my next classes, can I catch you later?" With that, I darted toward Salish Hall, and then, when out of sight of the student, I made a mad dash for the union and got my pizza. At the time, I rationalized that this was simply sparing the student hearing, "getting a slice of crusty, sun-lamp desiccated veggie is more important right now than listening to you babble on!" But Harris says I was not being polite, but rather lazy. And it's true. I could have carefully and tactfully explained my situation to the student in the time it took to reroute to Salish and then back to the union. The small becomes the big after all, and we should not get too used to misrepresenting things, or, before long, we ]might take to George Costanza's immortal [immoral] advice to Jerry: "it's not a lie, if you believe it."

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    Lying

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Sam Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (716)
    Performance
    (626)
    Story
    (623)

    As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption - even murder and genocide - generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie. In Lying, bestselling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie.

    Douglas says: ""Telling The Truth..."
  1. Wild Justice: The Moral L...
  2. Philosophy of Mind: Brain...
  3. Lying
  4. .

A Peek at Mark Grebner's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
35
 
East Lansing, MI USA 2 REVIEWS / 2 ratings Member Since 2005 0 Followers / Following 0
 
Mark Grebner's greatest hits:
  • Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

    "The reading made it impossible to focus on content"

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    I looked forward to Meditations both as philosophy and for the insights it might yield into Roman history. But the experience was almost completely ruined by Alan Munro's reading.

    His voice was mellifluous, clear, confident, and well-paced. But it was as if he were reading for transcription, pausing every three or four words for the stenographer to catch up. So instead of reading sentences and paragraphs in a way that brought out their meaning, he read small clusters of words, breaking apart their larger meanings in a way that made it impossible for me to follow the author's argument. If he were to read the preceding sentence, this would not be an exaggeration:

    So instead of reading.
    Sentences and paragraphs
    In a way
    That brought out their meaning
    He read small clusters of words
    Breaking apart their larger meanings
    In a way
    That made it impossible for me
    To follow the author's argument.

    I suppose somebody with a different attention span might find a much better experience, but I'll certainly never make the mistake of buying anything else Munro narrates.

Arthur

Arthur United States 12-07-12 Member Since 2011

Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).

HELPFUL VOTES
49
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30
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3
3
  • "Beginners start here! This is the o..."

    34 of 34 helpful votes

    I picked up this audiobook because I wanted to begin studying philosophy and I needed a starting point. I am not disappointed. Durant gave me the direction I was seeking and a lot more.

    One of the most valuable things it provides is the context in which each philosopher wrote their philosophy. Durant shows how the time and place of each philosopher affected each work. He also highlights the influence of other philosophers in each work.The great works of philosophy weren't created in a vacuum.

    I had never heard of Will Durant but as I listened I got the impression that whoever this guy was he really did his homework. How little did I know! Suffice to say that I believe he is qualified to write such an ambitious work. Look him up on Wikipedia if you are as ignorant as I.

    And what a narration! I can't speak highly enough of the way this sometimes difficult work was tackled by Gardner. I don't know how he did it, it's like he wrote the book himself and was conveying his own thoughts on the complicated mind of Kant or Nietzsche.

    If you don't know much about philosophy, you really can't go wrong with using this as a starting or reference point. I imagine even those with experience in the field will find Durant's insight beneficial.

    I was greatly pleased to find William James included in the discussion, but was disappointed not to find more on Descartes, Hume, Locke, and others.

    For reference, from wikipedia:

    "Philosophers profiled are, in order: Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Baruch Spinoza (with a section on Descartes), Voltaire (with a section on Rousseau), Immanuel Kant (with a section on Hegel), Arthur Schopenhauer, Herbert Spencer, and Friedrich Nietzsche." Also Henri Bergson, Benedetto Croce, Bertrand Russell, George Santayana, William James, and John Dewey.

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    The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (423)

    Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.

    Arthur says: "Beginners start here! This is the one you want!"

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    For centuries Christians have been tormented by one question above all, "If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?"

    David says: "An Extraordinary Little Book"
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    The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing, or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off

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    Gavin says: "Simply Pooh"
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    Meditations

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    • By Marcus Aurelius
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    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
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    Story
    (250)

    One of the most significant books ever written by a head of State, the Meditations are a collection of philosophical thoughts by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 ce). Covering issues such as duty, forgiveness, brotherhood, strength in adversity and the best way to approach life and death, the Meditations have inspired thinkers, poets and politicians since their first publication more than 500 years ago. Today, the book stands as one of the great guides and companions - a cornerstone of Western thought.

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UNABRIDGED) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Narrated by Joe Ochman

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    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman
    Overall
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    Story
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    In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

    PHIL says: "Some good ideas, smart guy, not smart as HE thinks"
  • Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Alan Charles Kors, Professor Darren Staloff, Professor Dennis Dalton, Professor Douglas Kellner

    Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (43 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors, Professor Darren Staloff, Professor Dennis Dalton, and others
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
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    Story
    (61)

    For 3,000 years, mankind has grappled with fundamental questions about life. What is real? Who or what is God? When is it legitimate for one person to have power over others? What is justice? Beauty? This 84-lecture, 12-professor tour of Western philosophical tradition covers more than 60 of history's greatest minds and brings you a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present.

    James says: "Fantastic overview"
  • A Secular Age (






UNABRIDGED) by Charles Taylor Narrated by Dennis Holland

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    • UNABRIDGED (42 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Charles Taylor
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age? Almost everyone would agree that we - in the West, at least - largely do. And clearly the place of religion in our societies has changed profoundly in the last few centuries. In what will be a defining book for our time, Charles Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean - of what, precisely, happens when a society in which it is virtually impossible not to believe in God becomes one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is only one human possibility among others.

  • George MacDonald (






UNABRIDGED) by C. S. Lewis Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt

    George MacDonald

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself." So wrote C. S. Lewis of George MacDonald, the Scottish pastor and novelist who had a profound impact on Lewis' own literary and spiritual career. Here Lewis gathers 365 of MacDonald's most inspirational lines, prefacing them with details of the effects MacDonald had on Lewis himself.

  • Miracles: C. S. Lewis Signature Classic (






UNABRIDGED) by C. S. Lewis Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt

    Miracles: C. S. Lewis Signature Classic

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this.'This is the key statement of Miracles, in which C. S. Lewis shows that a Christian must not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of the unique personal involvement of God in his creation.

  • The Abolition of Man (






UNABRIDGED) by C. S. Lewis Narrated by Douglas Gresham

    The Abolition of Man

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 36 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Douglas Gresham
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    C S Lewis's philosophical defence of Natural Law (absolute morality) - without which human beings are reduced to less than fully human, and are, thus ‘abolished'. CS Lewis argues that objective value actually exists and that to believe otherwise is to create nonsense. Human beings appreciate values such as beauty and goodness because such things are part of reality - but if absolute morality is denied there will not be any progress for mankind as the things that matter most will be explained away.

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  • The Weight of Glory: A Collection of Lewis' Most Moving Addresses (






UNABRIDGED) by C. S. Lewis Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt

    The Weight of Glory: A Collection of Lewis' Most Moving Addresses

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By C. S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
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    Selected from sermons delivered by C. S. Lewis during World War II, these nine addresses show the beloved author and theologian bringing hope and courage in a time of great doubt. Addressing some of the most difficult issues we face in our day-to-day lives, C.S. Lewis's ardent and timeless words provide an unparalleled path to greater spiritual understanding.Considered by many to be Lewis's finest sermon of all, and his most moving address.

  • John Milton (






UNABRIDGED) by Jessica Martin Narrated by Suzanne Toren

    John Milton

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 6 mins)
    • By Jessica Martin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost is a work of vast brilliance, allegory and philosophy. Its dramatic, sweeping visions of heaven and hell entrance readers. Jessica Martin's brilliant eight-part guide takes the listener through the key theological questions of the poem in a wonderfully engaging style. The How to Believe series of books explores the teachings, philosophies and beliefs of major thinkers and religious texts.

  • Investigating Wittgenstein (






UNABRIDGED) by Giles Fraser Narrated by Philip Rose

    Investigating Wittgenstein

    • UNABRIDGED (34 mins)
    • By Giles Fraser
    • Narrated By Philip Rose
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    Curious, confounding and brilliant, Wittgenstein is a philosopher whom people find it easy to get obsessed with. In Investigating Wittgenstein, Giles Fraser explores the secrets of his attraction. The How to Believe series explores the teachings, philosophies and beliefs of major thinkers and religious texts. In a short, easy-to-access format, leading writers present new understandings of these perennially important ideas.

  • Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (






UNABRIDGED) by William Deresiewicz Narrated by Mel Foster

    Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By William Deresiewicz
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale's admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to "practical" subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways.