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Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle Lecture
Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle
Written by: 
The Great Courses
Narrated by: 
Professor Robert C. Bartlett
Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle Lecture

Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    DaemonZeiro Burlington, VT 11-07-14
    DaemonZeiro Burlington, VT 11-07-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EVERYONE should listen to this"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Southport, CT 02-18-15
    Amazon Customer Southport, CT 02-18-15

    Auragual

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worthwhile"

    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.

    Overall, recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus A. Harris 02-04-15

    Amateur Scholar

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    "Brilliant"

    An excellent introduction to these great men and philosophy in general. Worth a listen even if you have studied philosophy for a while.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-24-16
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-24-16 Member Since 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

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    "Wake-up! and listen to lectures like this one"

    The professor is very good at making these philosophers relevant to today and explaining what their dialogs (in Socrates' case) or books (in Aristotle's case) mean. He did such a good job it took me a month to finish this course because I would often end up listening to the play, dialog or book he was talking about for free through LibriVox (why does Audible overcharge for those things?).

    Here's a mnemonic I use: think of three Greeks in their togas in a SPA, therefore you'll know the order that they come in (S)corates, (P)lato, and (A)ristotle.

    The professor really seemed to focus on Plato's dialogs that involved Socrates and therefore I would say the Plato part of the lecture was really about Socrates.

    The professor does something I really liked. He demystifies Socrates and puts him back down to earth. He'll say, for example, that the Republic is not really about a utopian state but is about how to understand what justice is within an individual and even as Socrates clearly states it's just a way to magnify the pieces that make up the whole within the individual the same way a sign written in bigger letters allows one to see better. Even the allegory of the cave is not strictly speaking about philosophy, but is more about our political understanding of the world (I think the professor says it that way, but he is a Political Scientist and sees the world that way).

    The professor gives a very good contrast between Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates would say that The Good (Virtue) is depended on our Knowledge and The Bad (Vice) is done because of the ignorance we have. Incontinence (the lack of control we have over ourselves or thoughts) is due only because of our ignorance, and therefore we never can knowingly do bad. Aristotle would say that we can knowingly do bad things to ourselves and we do that in spite of our knowledge.

    I really loved what the professor had to say on Aristotle's ethics, and I ended up listening to that with LibriVox. I never would have been able to follow that book without this lecture telling me what he was really saying (Aristotle is a miserably poor writer, but is always worth while wading through because he sees the world unlike anybody else). In brief, don't let the world distract you from what is unimportant and focus on the contemplative instead and wake-up!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Sherman Malden, MA United States 09-14-15
    Aaron Sherman Malden, MA United States 09-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Was looking for context, not disappointed!"
    If you could sum up Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle in three words, what would they be?

    Plato, Socrates, Aristotle


    What did you like best about this story?

    First off, why is Audible asking about "story". Surely there's plenty of non-fiction on Audible!

    So, what did I like? The historical context. The modern cultural context that's not overwhelming, but placed in the lecture where needed. The focus on what the writings meant, and not just what they said.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fatty Tuna San Francisco 05-18-16
    Fatty Tuna San Francisco 05-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Hard to listen to"

    The narrator repeats himself and offers little analysis; hard to enjoy and get in to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Javier Gonzalez 04-01-16 Member Since 2015
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    "My first book about Greek philosophy. "

    A very good introduction to Greek philosophy, narrator does a great job by not making the story boring at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen Howard 03-31-16
    Jen Howard 03-31-16 Member Since 2016
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    "loved this"

    I'm listening again! I love this philosopher's insight and analysis of the three greatest philosophers ever!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clyde 03-03-16
    Clyde 03-03-16

    Audible Fanatic and Obsessive reader and Hater /Killer of Zombies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious subject matter...Outstanding Performance "

    About as thorough of a survey as you can get with Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. Great detail concerning "The Republic".... "The Ethics".... "The Politics" Great coverage on Socrates despite his lack of writing. I especially enjoyed the last 6 hours or so on Aristotle, I recommend it for this section alone.

    If you are not familiar with the Great Courses, the book is a series of 36 lectures that are 30 minutes each, given University lecture hall style. 18 hours total. This book is equally divided between the 3 subjects. For a detailed outline go to the great Courses website, or just download the PDF that comes with the this purchase, I recommend doing this as well to get the most out of this audiobook

    The detail in this book can cause it to drag in certain spots, at least for me. The lecturer gives an outstanding performance though, he keeps you attention for the most part and is very knowledgeable, the subject matter is what lost me at times though. If you are interested in Greek philosophy this is a must

    Probably will require at least two listening's to get the most out of, or great ability to pay attention and to focus.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RitterH Istanbul , Turkey 02-25-16
    RitterH Istanbul , Turkey 02-25-16 Member Since 2011

    Audiobook Fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listen before reading the actual works"

    I became aware of my ignorance after listening to the title. The performance and the subjects covered were really interesting and informed me on what is what and who is who in ancient philosophy. This is an introductory series of lectures and those who wish to go deeper may use these to chart their way furtherEnjoyed it a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Cap. Bottosso"
    2/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not engaging."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ed Kingsley
    1/21/15
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    "A dry and unsatisfying slice of a vast pie"
    Would you try another book written by The Great Courses or narrated by Professor Robert C. Bartlett?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    See above


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Robert C. Bartlett?

    This question is ridiculous. Get a grip Audible


    Could you see Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    This question is ridiculous. Get a grip Audible


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • J A Bennett
    7/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, shame about the lecturer"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    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.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    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


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    The speaker is rather sub-par (see above)


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    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.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    The rest of this series has much better narrators and they are well worth a listen, this seems to be an unfortunate anomaly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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