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The Great Courses: Philosophy & Intellectual History

 
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  • Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant Hardy
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    Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to get only half the story. The Eastern intellectual tradition has made just as important a contribution-and is also the product of thousands of years of cumulative thought by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Their ideas demonstrate wholly different ways of approaching and solving the same fundamental issues that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as . the existence of God; . the meaning of life; and. the nature of truth and reality.This epic and comprehensive 36-lecture examination of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers-from a much-honored teacher and scholar-offers a thought-provoking look at the surprising connections and differences between East and West. By introducing you to the people-including The Buddha, Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Confucius, and Gandhi-responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, it will strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.

    Michael says: "Great Lectures among the best of the Great Courses"
  • An Introduction to Greek Philosophy

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Roochnik
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    More than 2,500 years later, the fundamental questions asked by the ancient Greeks continue to challenge, fascinate, and instruct us. Is reality stable and permanent or is it always changing? Are ethical values like justice and courage relative? What is justice? What is happiness? How shall we best live our lives?In this series of 24 lectures, Professor Roochnik invites you to join this eternal discussion.

  • European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lloyd Kramer
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    In the 19th century, Europe was the crucible for most of the ideas, institutions, and "isms" that now shape the life of our entire planet-nationalism, capitalism, democracy, socialism, feminism, and the list goes on and on. But where did these ideas come from? Over the course of 24 sweeping lectures, Professor Kramer invites you to view intellectual history as a series of overlapping, interconnected dialogues....

  • The Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors
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    Revolutions in thought (as opposed to those in politics or science) are in many ways the most far-reaching of all. They affect how we grant legitimacy to authority, define what is possible, create standards of right and wrong, and even view the potential of human life. Between 1600 and 1800, such a revolution of the intellect seized Europe, shaking the minds of the continent as few things before or since. What we now know as the Enlightenment challenged previously accepted ways of understanding reality, bringing about modern science, representative democracy, and a wave of wars, sparking what Professor Kors calls "perhaps the most profound transformation of European, if not human, life." In this series of 24 insightful lectures, you'll explore the astonishing conceptual and cultural revolution of the Enlightenment. You'll witness in its tumultuous history the birth of modern thought in the dilemmas, debates, and extraordinary works of the 17th- and 18th-century mind, as wielded by the likes of thinkers like Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Pascal, Newton, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau.And you'll understand why educated Europeans came to believe that they had a new understanding-of thought and the human mind, of method, of nature, and of the uses of knowledge-with which they could come to know the world correctly for the first time in human history, and with which they could rewrite the possibilities of human life.

    Donald says: "Good material, annoying voice"
  • The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Leo Damrosch
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    In 24 lectures that let you see the world through the eyes of the Enlightenment's greatest writers, follow the origin of new ways of thinking-ideas we today take for granted but are startlingly recent-about the individual and society. You'll discover how these notions emerged in an era of transition from a world dominated by classical thought, institutional religion, and the aristocracy to one that was increasingly secular, scientific, skeptical, and middle class.

  • The Ethics of Aristotle

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Father Joseph Koterski, S.J.
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    In this 12-lecture meditation on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, you'll uncover the clarity and ethical wisdom of one of humanity's greatest minds. Father Koterski shows how and why this great philosopher can help you deepen and improve your own thinking on questions of morality and leading the best life. The aim of these lectures is to provide you with a clear and thoughtful introduction to Aristotle as a moral philosopher.

  • Cycles of American Political Thought

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Joseph F. Kobylka
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    American history is often presented as a tale of dynamic movers and shakers who subdued an untamed wilderness on the way to forging a great nation-all the while leaving philosophy for their European counterparts.But this history neglects the philosophical underpinnings of America. As these 36 lectures demonstrate, America has borne the imprint of influential thinkers from its earliest days, from the Reformation theology of John Calvin to the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke.

    kfwinona says: "Fascinating Look at Surprising Historical Threads"
  • Skeptics and Believers: Religious Debate in the Western Intellectual Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Tyler Roberts
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    Beginning in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution began to erode the position of authority. As a result, new philosophers began constructing a universal rationality independent of faith. This schism fundamentally changed the course of Western civilization, and it has had consequences that remain with us to this day. This 36-lecture journey will help you understand exactly what the debate has been and will continue to be about.

    Walter says: "Light on skeptics, heavy on believers"
  • Machiavelli in Context

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor William R. Cook
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    Mention the name Niccolò Machiavelli and you might unleash a powerful response-even among people who have never read a word of his writing. The word "Machiavellian" conjures up images of an indistinct figure quietly making his way through the darkest corridors of power; a cold-blooded political liar; or a coolly practical leader - amoral at best - willing to do whatever is necessary in a world governed not by ideas of right or wrong, but by solutions dictated by realpolitik.

    Saud says: "Profound"
  • Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors
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    Discover why intellectuals and historians alike consider Voltaire to be one of the most intriguing, influential, and elusive thinkers of the modern world. Focusing on the deepest, most enduring aspects of Voltaire's work and thought, but never losing sight of the colorful, fascinating man himself, these 12 lectures sketch for you a vibrant, thought-provoking vision of Voltaire as "the father of the Enlightenment" and one of the great literary personalities of all time.

  • Great Philosophical Debates: Free Will and Determinism

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Shaun Nichols
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    Do you make your own choices or have circumstances beyond your control already decided your destiny? For thousands of years, this question has intrigued and perplexed philosophers, scientists, and everyone who thinks deliberately about how they choose to live and act. For if free will makes us accountable for our choices, does the opposite hold true, that determinism absolves us of responsibility?

  • The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
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    These eight lectures are a celebration of humanity and the rich texture of human experience. They are a fascinating focus on the complex artistic representations of city life from the 18th to the 20th century. Join Professor Weinstein as he reveals the portraits of humanity that came from several of the period's greatest artists, writers, and thinkers.

  • Plato's Republic

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Roochnik
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    More than 2,000 years later, Plato's Republic remains astonishingly relevant to our everyday lives. It poses one question after another that might well have been drawn from the headlines and debates of our nation's recent history: What sort of person should rule the state? Are all citizens equal before the law? Should everyone have equal access to health care? Plato's greater inquiry, however, was into the question of defining justice itself and the reasons why a person would choose a life aligned with that virtue.

    Bruno says: "One of the best courses I have ever heard!"
  • Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor James Hall
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    Everyone has to think in order to function in the world, but what is the best way to reason effectively in your pursuit of reliable beliefs and useful knowledge? What is the best way to prove a case, create a rule, solve a problem, justify an idea, invent a hypothesis, or evaluate an argument? In short, what is the best way to think? Professor Hall helps you cut through deception and faulty reasoning in these 24 humorous, clear, and interesting lectures, offering a friendly but intellectually rigorous approach to the problem of thinking. Among the topics you'll learn about are:. Deduction: This form of reasoning reaches a conclusion based on a set of premises; if the premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows.. Induction: Less ironclad than deduction, this approach surveys the evidence and then generalizes an explanation to account for it; the conclusion may be probable, but it is not certain.. Syllogism: This simple but powerful deductive argument offers two premises and a conclusion. An example: "All Greeks are mortals. All Athenians are Greeks. Therefore, all Athenians are mortals.". Dialectic: A question-and-answer dialogue, called dialectic, is valuable for uncovering first principles.. Venn diagrams: This technique uses overlapping circles to represent different classes of objects or ideas in order to clarify a syllogism.Some of the greatest philosophers who ever lived have used these tools to separate ideas that make sense from those that don't. Now you, too, can think more clearly, making better lives for ourselves and for those to come.

    Douglas says: "Wow!"
  • Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick Grim
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    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!"
  • Jewish Intellectual History: 16th to 20th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David B. Ruderman
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    Over the last four centuries, a small group of thinkers attempted to answer a series of remarkably challenging questions: In a world having a history of untold suffering-especially, it seemed, for Jews-was the existence of an all-powerful and comforting God still tenable? What were the purpose and meaning of Jewish practices and customs? Could Jews still justify the notion of a chosen people in a social climate in which Jewish integration and full participation with the rest of humanity had become the norm?

    Yury says: "A Gem! Best treatment of material I've ever read."
  • The Rights of Man: Great Thinkers and Great Movements

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Paul Gordon Lauren
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    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." These stirring words from the Declaration of Independence are a powerful statement of the importance of human rights in Western civilization. But many of the freedoms we enjoy today were not so "self-evident" to lawmakers throughout much of our history.

  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
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    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Thomas H. Kregel says: "Superb - It filled in so many gaps in my understan"
  • Consciousness and Its Implications

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson
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    Consciousness, a unique and perplexing mental state, has been the subject of debate for philosophers and scientists for millennia. And while it is widely agreed within contemporary philosophy that consciousness is a problem whose solutions are likely to determine the fate of any number of other problems, there is no settled position on the ultimate nature of consciousness. This series of 12 penetrating and thought-provoking lectures by an acclaimed teacher and scholar approaches its subject directly and unflinchingly.

    xplicit7d9 says: "A bit dry for my taste."
  • Between Cross and Crescent: Jewish Civilization from Mohammed to Spinoza

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David B. Ruderman
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    Experience the evolution of all of Jewish life during the 10 critical centuries from its rabbinic foundations in late antiquity until the dawn of modernity in the 17th century. During this time, Judaism was forever affected by its encounters with the surrounding social, economic, political, and intellectual environments of both medieval Islam and Christendom. As a result of those encounters, new pathways of philosophical inquiry and religious spirituality would be formed. The Hebrew language would find new ways of artistic expression. And the role of Jews in the life of the surrounding community would be changed forever.

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