This is a very comprehensive course on Nietzsche. Not just his works and his thoughts, but there is a rather helpful and contexualizing of his life as well.
It's a real pleasure to listen to lecturers who love their subject. A few, though by no means all, of these Courses series are taught by people who have a really selective preference for certain parts of what their teaching, but not all of it, and it shows.
Professors Higgins and Solomon are tremendous fans of Nietzsche's work; it comes through in their passion and enthusiasm for the topic and it makes some of the harder-to-grasp concepts presented much easier to take on board.
I also really appreciated some of the back and forth, dialogic style of the presentation. It made the apologetics more vibrant and fertile.
This was an incredibly compelling audio course. I appreciated Prof. Solomon's inclusion not only of philosophical thinkers but also writers like Camus, Hesse, Dostoyevsky and Kafka. Their inclusion helps greatly to bring the elements of the philosophy out of dry generalities and into the real of human experience.
I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in existentialism, but also for a richer look at the works of writers mentioned above.
On the whole, I thought this was a worthwhile course. Although I was familiar with most of the philosophers and philosophical movements covered in the course, I got introduced to some I had not heard much about before. His summary of Hegel is particularly excellent, since Hegel is notoriously hard to summarize.
However, I admit to being rather disappointed by the lecturer's aside about "Foucault's exploration of sexuality - which he also explored in his personal life, and died of AIDS". I found this unnecessary and subtly homophobic. Furthermore, it had the effect of subtly eroding the potential validity, or objectivity of this theorist's work.
It was a little thing. But when I heard it, it disappointed me and forced me to question the objectivity of many of the lecturer's earlier assertions on philosophers I knew less about.
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.