We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries Lecture

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

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.
Regular Price:$34.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©1998 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1998 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (68 )
5 star
 (43)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.6 (56 )
5 star
 (40)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.3 (56 )
5 star
 (34)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Maura 01-28-16
    Maura 01-28-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Astonishingly engaging"

    Professor Kors has an uncanny ability to enter into the spirit and motivations of the creative minds of this period, and to convey the drama and implications of their discoveries and creations. I am a voracious reader of history, philosophy, and intellectual history, and I have learned so much, and now have so many tempting side trails to explore. This man loves his subject, and would be just my kind of conversation partner: a delight.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Limon Monterrey, NL Mexico 02-17-15
    Alex Limon Monterrey, NL Mexico 02-17-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clear and complete"

    It's a clear, accessible and complete vision of the history of western thinking in the XVII and XVIII centuries. I found it very helpful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Dallas, TX, United States 08-29-13
    Donald Dallas, TX, United States 08-29-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good material, annoying voice"

    A physics student would normally be enraptured to watch Einstein write out the equations of Relativity on a chalkboard, because it would be a display of genius and mastery. But, if Einstein put down the chalk, and instead proceeded to write out the equations with his fingernail on the chalkboard, the screeching sound would erase most of the pleasure from the experience.

    I have mixed feeling in criticizing the speaker for his annoying voice, becuase this is not an audiobook with a professional reader....but rather a lecture given by a professor. At the same time, the "Great Courses" series is supposed to represent the best lecturers that our universities have to offer. In the same way that some people couldn't stand G.W. Bush pronouncing "nuclear" as "nucular"; I can't stand hearing "human" pronounced "yooomun".

    If you want to learn about the topic, I would recommend the audiobook. If you want to enjoy the 12 hours, I would advise listening to the preview first.

    P.S. Some of this same material was covered in "The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition", and the speaker in that series was a delight to listen to.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Hearn 09-15-15
    Ann Hearn 09-15-15 Member Since 2013

    I enjoy classics and history - things I should have read but somehow missed. A good walk and a good book=perfect!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating Period, Brilliantly Explained"

    I purchased "The Birth of the Modern Mind" after being captivated by Professor Kors lectures on Voltaire. There is a little overlap with Voltaire of course, but even more helpful was the clear and fascinating description of what came before and what evolved in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Development of ideas, thought, science, big questions of religion and philosophy of the times are accessible through the professor's enthusiastic and knowledgeable presentation.

    As in his Great Courses book on Voltaire, each half-hour lecture is dense with information, but easy to understand. Each lecture is an excellent companion to a walk on a nice day. And as I mentioned in my review of the Voltaire, Prof. Kors has a distinctive style of talking and accent, so much at first you might go, "oh, I'm not sure I can listen to this" - but that enthusiasm, passion, and humor makes him come alive as if you were sitting in a favorite professor's classroom. Give him a chance if you are at all interested in the history of thought, ideas, and many of the issues that still fuel our modern day discussions of truth, faith, intellect and science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Rutherford, NJ 03-27-16
    Amazon Customer Rutherford, NJ 03-27-16 Member Since 2016

    WorldLearner

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great way to understand modernity
    "

    Totally helped me understand the breaks from antiquity, and how and why our founding fathers thought and established this county upon its ideals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    strom clark 02-15-16
    strom clark 02-15-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    "Listen at 1.5 speed "

    Listen at 1.5 speed. Much more manageable, won't miss anything at all. Enjoyed it quite a bit but lecturer is quite slow, hence, listen at an increased pace

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mahbooba 07-23-15
    Mahbooba 07-23-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "loved the book. gave me eye opening moments"

    must read specialy if you are/were not a philosophy or history major ... for it provides a great insight about human evolution u would miss otherwise

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 08-05-14
    Phebe Joppa, MD, United States 08-05-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    168
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    528
    77
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Idiosyncratic History of the Enlightenment"

    In many ways, this was a good survey of the Enlightenment: provocative ideas, interesting narratives. I stuck it out till the last three hours, in fact.

    There are two problems, from my point of view: first, Prof. Kors has the strongest Brooklyn accent I expect to hear in this lifetime, so stabilized has spoken language become through movies and television. The worst of it is that he inhales the word "human," breathing the "h" in, not out, and the word human shows up ALL the time in enlightenment studies.

    The second problem is that he preaches. I don't mean he pushes an agenda: he doesn't. I mean he preaches like the Southern radio preachers of my childhood, getting more and more excited, falling into a rhythm. Since so much of the series is about religion, in one form or another, Prof. Kors has to periodically remind people that he is not advocating --- he says he is trying to communicate the excitement the ideas had at the time. Sounds like preaching to me, though, and I didn't like it.

    Eventually I decided I couldn't enjoy this anymore, stopped the audiobook and ordered a book on the Enlightenment to read. One thing about reading, whatever the author's verbal peculiarities, they won't be a problem.

    8 of 23 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Andrea Zuvich
    England, United Kingdom
    4/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absorbing and enlightening"
    What made the experience of listening to The Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries the most enjoyable?

    The amount of information included in this course was excellent - even though I study all these things, I still found it fascinating and I came away thinking about the philosophical topics in a better way.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A


    What does Professor Alan Charles Kors bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Some other reviewers have been overly harsh about Professor Kors’s delivery and pronunciation. It’s a lecture series and he has a regional accent. Get over it. Honestly, some of the negative reviews nearly made me refrain from purchasing the series altogether and I’m glad I didn’t do that. I would have missed out. I actually find the professor’s pronunciation quite endearing really. And anyway, it’s supposed to be about the content – and that is great. Professor Kors obviously has a lifelong passion for the intellectual history of the 17th and 18th centuries and his enthusiasm is wonderful to listen to.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.