For more than two millennia, philosophers have grappled with life's most profound and "eternal" questions. It is easy to forget, however, that these questions about fundamental issues like justice, injustice, virtue, vice, or happiness were not always eternal. They once had to be asked for the first time.
This was a step that could place the inquirer beyond the boundaries of the law. And the Athenian citizen and philosopher who took that courageous step in the 5th century B.C. was Socrates.
In this intellectually vibrant - yet crystal-clear and accessible - series of 36 lectures, an award-winning teacher provides you with a detailed analysis of the golden age of Athenian philosophy and the philosophical consequences of the philosopher's famed "Socratic Turn": his veering away from philosophy's previous concerns with the scientific study of nature and the physical world and toward the scrutiny of moral opinion. After Socrates, philosophy would never be the same. You learn that much of Socrates's philosophy is captured in the writings of his contemporaries and followers, including not just Plato and Aristotle, but also figures like Xenophon, a great thinker and military commander, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. Professor Bartlett takes you through Plato's most important dialogues - where Socrates is the protagonist - and shows how they convey the core of Socrates's philosophy. He then moves on to Aristotle, who did more than anyone to establish a comprehensive system of philosophy in the West, producing work encompassing morality, politics, aesthetics, logic, science, rhetoric, theology, metaphysics, and more.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
I bought this course to freshen up my knowledge, having spent a while away from the works of Plato (and never having spent much time reading Aristotle, and hoping to use this course to inspire me so to do).
Professor Bartlett lays out a very clear outline of each lecture, and has a definite architecture that he lays out in the first lectures and sums up with in the last. This organization is particularly useful in the latter part of the course, where he presents some very complex, nuanced and occasionally even contradictory arguments from Aristotle's Ethics and Politics (these works are the meat and potatoes of the entire section on Aristotle).
I particularly enjoyed the professor's ability to keep the various characters and frames of reference (vital to understanding what Plato is doing in the dialogues, as Prof. Bartlett makes clear) in the picture. I feel that my understanding of the Apology, Euthyphro, Republic and particularly (if surprisingly) Aristophanes' The Clouds has been deepened considerably.
Note that Aristotle's natural philosophy works and metaphysics are mentioned but not discussed here, the focus being Aristotle's takes on morality, virtue and the good life, which dovetails nicely with the earlier part of the course.
The time spent with Xenophon's Socratic dialogues was a nice surprise, as I hadn't encountered them before and they form a refreshing counterpoint to Plato's far more ironic and subtext-laden dialogues.
An excellent introduction to these great men and philosophy in general. Worth a listen even if you have studied philosophy for a while.
This is great coupled with Plato's readings. I have ONLY read Plato's Republic (and it was years ago) but this audiobook reminded me of how Socrates has so thoroughly shaped the philosophy I follow. I have a great loyalty to 'justice'. It has also motivated me to look at Plato's other works and revealed to me so much more about Socrates than I expected.
I listen while I go about chores or other jobs that don't require my 100% attention (like at work while making gels, making solutions, purifying proteins, etc [I work in a lab]). I've found that it GREATLY settles my mind. After listening, I feel enthralled but so much more stable and satisfied. If you care about Justice, this is an informative and fulfilling listen.
I'll definitely make my way through this two or three more times over the next year or so. Seems even these guys couldn't justify "the good" from happiness or happiness from hedonism thought they tip toe around it often. Great course.
It is engaging, thought-provoking, and a very good review for people who, like me, are reengaging the classics after a protracted absence.
A 30 Year old male with interests in Media, Digital Art, online businesses and running
Lots of good insight about those 3 great philosophers, but the jumping of topics without truly answering the questions that come to the listeners mind I found really annoying
Overall I thought this was a worthy course. I was a little disappointed because the limits of the course kept the works covered at a minimum. But the narration was enjoyable.
In the top ten
Aristotle's section was wonderful
Yes I liked the Professors way of bringing to live the character in the book
It made me look at further books about other great thinkers.
"Great book, shame about the lecturer"
It is a fantastic introduction to the ancient philosophers but the lecturer often stumbles over his words and in some cases even says the wrong words which I think can be rather misguiding especially when discussing philosophy, sometimes one wrong word can change the meaning of the sentence and I feel that this particular speaker doesn't sound confident enough to convey the meanings of the texts well.
as I say the subject matter is amazing, it certainly has increased my love of ancient philosophy and lead me to read further on the subject
The speaker is rather sub-par (see above)
He seemed very nervous and stumbled over many sentences sometimes crossing the meanings of the sentences he said. Not helpful when trying to take in important philosophical points.
The rest of this series has much better narrators and they are well worth a listen, this seems to be an unfortunate anomaly.
I may have bought this without much appreciating the fact that those are basically lectures, but even as such it is way too boring with no easy way to capture the core ideas. Too lengthy on superficial subjects and not enough base. I'm returning this one.
"A dry and unsatisfying slice of a vast pie"
Covering the three greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece in one lecture series is ambitious to say the least. It started off well with Socrates but then the lectures jumped straight to Aristotle and I got very little sense of Plato's own contribution. That is my first criticism. My second is that the coverage of Aristotle was almost exclusively confined to the Nicomachean Ethics which is fine and perhaps should have made up an entire lecture series in its own right but this emphasis left me no wiser about Aristotle's other works.
Professor Bartlett is not the most captivating speaker. He crams a lot into each sequence so that your head is quickly reeling as it tries to capture points and facts and keep pace at the same time. I shall buy another couple of books and then come back for another go at this rather dry lecture series. My aim was to be equipped to tackle Augustine and Aquinas and I don;t yet feel up to that monumental read so this book has taken me less far than I hoped for.
By no means a waste of time. Not for the faint hearted but it does add enough value to be worth a listen by dedicated students of the subject.
This question is ridiculous. Get a grip Audible
This question is ridiculous. Get a grip Audible
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