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Peter

Thomasburg, ON, Canada

65
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 37 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Wealth of Nations

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Adam Smith
    • Narrated By Michael Edwards
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (48)

    This classic statement of economic liberalism or the policy of laissez-faire was first published in 1776. It is an engrossing analysis of the economic facts of life. Several fundamental principles, many of which are now referred to as axioms, were introduced in this work, the division of labor, supply-and-demand, and free market capitalism being among the most obvious.

    Peter says: "Worth the effort"
    "Worth the effort"
    Overall

    This is a massive undertaking for any listener, but ultimately worth the effort. The recording is not the best, with some occasional disconcerting popping, which made me think stones were hitting my windshield as I drove. Edwards's plodding reading takes some getting used to, but it ultimately works, allowing the listener to unravel some of Smith's winding thought. This is not for everyone, but if you can get inside Smith's detailed descriptions of late 18th-century economics, you'll appreciate his analytic mind -- and you might even imagine him a prophet of the emerging capitalist system. Of course, capitalists never tire of claiming Smith as one of their own, usually with only a familiarity of Smith's image of the invisible hand, but there is much more here, especially in Smith's criticisms of the excesses of the "masters." Smith may still be construed as an apologist for our present capitalist system, but his thought much more compex than that, and a must-read/listen for anyone wanting to tackle David Ricardo or understand Marx. A printed copy of the work is handy when the spoken argument bogs down, but even with a more than occasional use of the reverse button when I drifted, I was surprised how easily I got into the rhythm of this work.

    40 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • Nietzsche in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 10 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    With Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophy was dangerous not only for philosophers but for everyone. His ideas presaged a collective madness that had horrific consequences in Europe in the early 1900s. Though his philosophy is more one of aphorisms than a system, it is brilliant, persuasive, and incisive. His major concept is the will to power, which he saw as the basic impulse for all our acts. Christianity he saw as a subtle perversion of this concept, thus Nietzsche's famous pronouncement, "God is dead."

    Peter says: "A short biography"
    "A short biography"
    Overall

    The best part of this book is the sketch of Nietzsche's life. Strathern does well here. He balances this with a glimpse (and it's only a glimpse) into his philosophy. As usual, such a brief taste of a philosopher can give a distorted view his work, but if Strathern's work is taken for what it is -- and invitation to look further -- it can be very usful. Ignore (or investigate further) some of Strathern's simplistic descriptions of some of Nietzsche's thought and you'll have fun with Whitfield's reading.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Kant in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 20 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Immanuel Kant taught and wrote prolifically about physical geography yet never traveled further than forty miles from his home in Kvnigsberg. How appropriate it is then that in his philosophy he should deny that all knowledge was derived from experience. He insisted that all experience must conform to knowledge. According to Kant, space and time are subjective; along with various "categories," they help us to see the phenomena of the world, though never its true reality.

    Jacques Ray says: "Kant lite"
    "An excellent first look at Kant"
    Overall

    This is one of Strathern's best attempts at distilling both the work and and life of a philosopher in a short space. (It is well worth listening to the entire series.) One wonders whether Strathern is sometimes too hung up on Freudian-style musings on the motivations of thinkers long dead, but in the end they can be fun if not taken too seriously. As usual, what can be gleaned in 90 minutes is only a start, and you will be disappointed if you expect these little books to do anything more than whet your appetite for the real thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    "If we accept Wittgenstein's word for it," Paul Strathern writes, "he is the last philosopher. In his view, philosophy in the traditional sense was finished."

    Joseph says: "Hatchet Job"
    "An tough job for a 90-minute book"
    Overall

    If you are looking for some deep insight into Wittgenstein, this is not the place to find it. However, as with all of Strathern's books, the weaving of Wittgestein's life with his philosophy gives us a fascinating snapshot of the man. Take some of Strathern's categorical statements with a grain of salt: sometimes (in the name of conservation of space, perhaps) glib statements can turn a complicated piece of Wittgenstein's thought into a muddy generality. Because it is not possible to to get close to the significance of Wittgenstein's thought in 90 minutes, the best introduction to Wittgenstein might be to brave the chilling intellectual waters and dive into the Tractatus firsthand, perhaps with a copy of Hans-Johann Glock's Wittgenstein Dictionary (from Blackwell) close at hand to prevent mental hypothermia. A look at some introductions to his work by D.F Pears or Anthony Kenny will undoubtedly help. Despite these cautions, I recommend this book, which is well read by Robert Whitfield.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Kierkegaard in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 24 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Kierkegaard wasn't really a philosopher in the academic sense. Yet he produced what many people expect of philosophy. His subject was the individual and his or her existence, the "existing being." In Kierkegaard's view, this purely subjective entity lay beyond the reach of reason, logic, philosophical systems, theology, or even "the pretenses of psychology." Nonetheless, it was the source of all these subjects. The branch of philosophy to which Kierkegaard gave birth has come to be known as existentialism.

    Peter says: "Great intros"
    "Great intros"
    Overall

    Strathern provides a straightforward introduction to Kierkegaard, blending his philosophical development with the strange emotional trials and tribulations he suffered throughout his life. Strathern does best with Kierkegaard's struggles with the meaning of existence and nothingness and makes strong connections between Kierkegaard and Hegel, particularly the former's use of the dialectic between the aesthetic and the ethical that leads to Kiergegaard's famous leap of faith and the primacy of a subjective interpretation of the world. Of course, Strathern can only skate over the surface here, but he manages to whet the listener's appetite -- and hopefully go on to read the primary material. Whitfield's reading is clear and relaxed. Recommended to anyone beginning a study of existentialism or wanting an easy introduction to a man who influenced some of the greats of the 20th century, particularly Husserl, Sartre and Heidegger.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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