There are great philosophers and then there are great teachers of philosophy. Kreeft is the latter. He is a great teacher, and this is a prime example of it. He makes a very compelling case for the Platonic Tradition and it's centrality, not just as a given of Western culture, but as THE correct approach to truth. Kreeft, taking up Whitehead's oft-quoted aphorism about all Western philosophy being a footnote to Plato, demonstrates why this is so. He demonstrates how most of the rest of ancient and medieval philosophy has been an attempt to add to and/or incorporate Plato into a larger milieu. He also demonstrates how all modern philosophy, beginning with Occam (pre-Descartes even) until today consists of various attempts to subtract from Plato with disastrous results. I found it so utterly convincing that, once I had finished, I restarted it. To me it was that good.
If you decide you cannot agree with Kreeft's view point, you would still benefit greatly from arguing with his case.
The one downside is that Recorded books has not provided a guidebook and their website does not even have the course listed, which means no final exam. That's sad.
I surmise that this course seemed interesting in preparation, but in the presentation, the material falls flat.
The material is just not compelling. True as it is, this material sounds like it is more suited for a peer conference where humanities grad students can come and get some good talking points for why their disciplines matter. As a general course, it fails to inspire.
The redeeming quality is that even when Drout fails to engage me, he is still very enjoyable--and erudite.
Don't let this negative review keep you from trying any of Drout's other courses, especially Way With Words (the first one), Anglo-Saxon History, and History of English Language. Drout is a really fine teacher and his other courses are very inspiring. He is one of the Modern Scholars' most popular presenters for a reason.
Simply put, an introduction to any philosopher should give the reader/listener a good foundation for further exploration. Kreeft does this admirably. After listening I felt like I had a great foundation for reading Thomas, and because of Kreeft's presentation, I wanted to do so.
I also appreciate the fact that Kreeft does not hide his loyalties behind a veneer of academic objectivity. Who else to present Thomism than a Catholic professor of philosophy? Who else to explain Thomas than someone who shares the same convictions?
Best of all, Kreeft's presentation leaves us with some very thought provoking comparisons of Scholasticism/Thomism with modern (e.g., Descartes) and post-modern (a la Foucault) philosophy.
In a word: masterful.
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