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.
It took 3,000 years for the debate chronicled in these lectures to reach maturity.
With this series of lectures, you can encompass it by the end of next month. You'll travel chronologically through the history of the Western world, charting the intriguing development of Western philosophy and drawing fascinating connections between thinkers separated by the gulf of time and space. You'll acquaint yourself with the Greek Pre-Socratics (the world's first scientific thinkers) and examine in detail the insights of three towering figures: Socrates, his student Plato, and Plato's student, Aristotle.
You'll examine the contributions to philosophy from biblical traditions and the great minds of the Christian age. Then, you'll mark the critical schism that developed between the claims of faith and those of science and participate in the breathless discovery found during the Enlightenment, which reveled in the new freedom of human potential and scientific expansion. You'll study the provocative philosophical responses (by the Existentialists and others) to the challenges raised by the new scientific consciousness. And you'll conclude with an overview of the work of Derrida and other late 20th-century philosophers and theorists.
The full list of lecturers includes Professors Alan Charles Kors, Darren Staloff, Dennis Dalton, Douglas Kellner, Jeremy Adams, Jeremy Shearmur, Kathleen M. Higgins, Louis Markos, Mark Risjord, Phillip Cary, Robert C. Solomon, and Robert H. Kane.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
I have recommended it to my friends, because this is, as far as I know, the best and most simultaneously accessible and comprehensive overview of philosophy that is available in the audio-book format. Furthermore, the fact that such a variety of scholars present the material is helpful: everyone seems to be an expert on the thing that they're talking about, and almost every one of the lectures is informative and interesting.
The lectures on Nietzche, Rorty, Aquinas and Kierkegaard.
They are all confident and clear in their presentation, and it seems obvious that they are all truly experts and experienced teachers.
The subject is very interesting, but the lectures are not from "the best college professors in the world" or even the United States. Some lectures are superficial, suited to high school level not college. They often fail to give the reader a feel for the true meaning and substance of a given philosopher, i.e., why should we care about this persons ideas and thoughts complete with illustrations of how these ideas live on today. The lectures on 20th century philosophers are as barren as 20th century philosophy--stick with the classics up to the 19th century. And, dump the fake clapping before and after each lecture.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
Prepare yourself for some sophisticated concepts. This is not your average audiobook, and if you want to get your money's worth you'll have to concentrate and often repeat certain lectures to fully understand all the interrelated concepts mentioned and discussed in it. And some lectures mention concepts that have been introduced in previous lectures, with little more than a quick recap. So better get your academia ready.
With multiple professors contributing, I couldn't help but notice that a few of them had certain pronunciation perks which started to bother me after a couple of courses they give. It shouldn't take too much value away, however.
I'm a fan of the Teaching Company and have purchased a lot of their courses. So it pains me to report that this course is not up to previous high standards. It covers way to much and fails to ties all the lessons together. There are themes in philosophy, but the numerous lectures too often are disjointed from these themes. The coverage is very wide, and as a consequence, the depth is minimal, and (unfortunately) too disjointed.
Jaime, road cyclist
The breadth was quite strong until the later half of the eighteenth century. Up to that point, the impact of non-philosophical thought was given reasonable consideration: Copernicus and Newton for example. However, the impact and, to some degree, the writings of Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg and Hubble, to name a few, were left out as the narrative focused more narrowly on work more explicitly labeled as modern philosophy.
The sense of continuity. It would have been unsurprising for a lengthy series of lectures by so many distinct academics to seem disjoint. This did not. Numerous references are made to previous lectures and far more to previous topics in a remarkably consistent fashion.
One of the speakers gave the impression of being in a rush, needing to fit as much as possible in to the available time. He was very lucid and clear, which is good because the rushing could have made his fairly dense presentation hard to follow.1 problematic professor out of 12 is an excellent ratio.
BE AWARE!!The lack of the accompanying course notes is very unfortunate. I contacted The Great Courses and they refuse to provide the course notes to Audible customers. On the Audible site, the publisher's description ends with "Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase."
I have never written a review in 5+ years of membership on the Audible site and hundreds of books read. However, I had to write one for this collection. I have spent years borrowing these titles from my local public library (all the way back to when they only had a limited array of cassette tape courses). Each course is like sitting in on a series of college lectures discussing the topic your choosing - at your pace - with no finals or tuition bills! For anyone on the fence about buying, don't wait, they are well worth it. These courses are going to cost me a lot of credits...
Very comprehensive overview. Too much coverage of the religious thinkers, who are no longer relevant (but not a real problem as you can skip). One narrator is clearly a Marx fan and conveys his bias too much, while putting down libertarian thinkers like Smith and Hyack. But those are all minor issues - great material overall, well delivered!
Probably. The quality of speakers and recordings is great. You can hear the excitement of the narrators on their topic of discussion. The problem is that it provides little in depth knowledge on the subjects, leaving the listener always wanting more. Perhaps that is what this kind of survey approach is going for, likely even, but it didn't feel like enough for me personally.
No story at all. Though there is some emergent narrative.
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