It's easy to forget that philosophy means "love of wisdom," not "love of thinking." In addition to philosophy that tells you how to think well, the field also provides guidance on how to live well - solid advice on how to be a good father or friend, or how to grow old gracefully, or to know what true happiness is.
Greek and Roman thinkers such as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Dio Chrysostom, and Plutarch of Chaeronea devoted their lives not to metaphysics and epistemology but to the appreciation and practice of morality and virtue, values, and character. They give us - in plain, straightforward language - rules designed to help us progress as people.
These 24 inspiring lectures introduce you to the sages who, as a group, represent the "missing page" of the history of philosophy. Although their names are sometimes familiar to us, as in the case of Cicero and Plutarch, their philosophy is not. Studying these thinkers offers some surprising ways to think about philosophy.
For example, they believed the heart of philosophy is the question of how to live well as a human being. It is how you act, not what you think, that is most important. Virtue and morality are the keys to living a good life. And philosophers should practice what they preach (although, as you'll discover, the Greco-Roman moral philosophers certainly had flaws).
From Cicero's deep sense of civic duty to Marcus Aurelius's pursuit of wisdom and dedication to the common good, this course offers ample opportunity to hear, in their own words, the philosophers' prescriptions for healthier living.
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.
©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses
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Character, Practice, Habits
Very passionate reader, really enjoyed his style.
I would have loved this course to be twice as long as it was. The content is a great mix between historical context, philosophical ideas and practical tips. I found the book to be both inspiring and challenging. Although I was already familiar with the topic, I learned a lot. Highly recommended.
Professor Johnson is an amazing and compelling teacher. He takes a subject which is often marginalized in the world of "ideas" and shows its relevance. He shows how these ancient individuals have much to offer our daily lives.
Personally, I've been greatly interested in Epictetus for quite sometime. The people who list him as an influence is long. For me that was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Professor Johnson does such incredible justice to him, and I learned a great deal that I didn't know before.
If you are looking for something thoughtful, or for something to help you through an especially difficult time or transition, than these authors have much to offer. This is a great starting place to get to know them.
It's refreshing to hear of Philosophy As Seeking Wisdom as opposed to Philosophy As Endless Semantic Quibbling. Johnson's lectures outline the moral thinking of several important philosophers while putting them in the context of their time and place. His reading is excellent.
The only complaint I have is that most of the individuals covered are Stoics. I would've liked to hear Johnson spend a lecture or two on Epicurus, or perhaps a famous Cynic like Diogenes.
I have listened to nearly all of Professor Johnson's Great Courses lectures
He will leave you with a deep understanding of the The Stoics. Your appetite will be whetted so that you can most into the practice of this ancient philosophy to live a life of wisdom and not just knowledge.
And then to experience the correctly understood Happiness these phi slippers strived for.
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