What is reality? Ask yourself whether you can actually know the answer, much less be sure that you can know it, and you've begun to grapple with the metaphysical and epistemological quandaries that have occupied, teased, and tormented modern philosophy's greatest intellects since the dawn of modern science and a century before the Enlightenment.
These 36 lectures are the perfect introduction to the basics of modern and contemporary Western approaches to the philosophies of both reality (metaphysics) and knowledge (epistemology), right through the end of the 20th century. Led by Professor Cahoone, you'll partake in an engaging intellectual journey that encompasses prominent figures from all the major traditions of Western philosophy.
You'll explore the ideas behind modern philosophy's most important movements, including dualism, rationalism, empiricism, idealism, existentialism, and postmodernism. You'll plunge into the thought of some of philosophy's most important thinkers, including Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Peirce, Nietzsche, James, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Rorty, and Derrida, learning how many of them were in fact considered radicals, their views appreciated far less in their own era than in later ones.
And you'll gain a clear sense of how each of these movements and thinkers fits into philosophy's broader progression, often pushing philosophy in dramatically new directions right up to the present day, as well as how philosophy is intimately related to a multitude of other disciplines.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses
l'enfer c'est les autres
This is by far one of the best lectures I've ever heard. I'm not a philosopher. I avoided thinking most of my life. I made a mistake about a year ago and read Heidegger's "Being and Time". That completely hooked me. Now, I just have to understand our universe and our place in it.
What is the order within the universe, what is our purpose and why are we here ('the three big questions"). These (or some variation of these) are the three questions that drive me and makes me want to stay alive. As for my reason for being it is to learn as much about the world as I can and this lecture series does that for me better than almost any book or Great Course has.
The professor makes the point that he is only going to look at the Modern Philosophers who added to the field by adding on or subtracting from the other philosophers who came before them and thought differently from the others. This lecture series is a constant exchange of ideas from brilliant thinkers from across a 400 year dialog among respectful friends who all had a unique perspective of some kind to add to the discussion.
He covered Heidegger over two lectures. He gave the best graphic I've come across in order to explain him (it's available on the attached pdf and I would recommend grabbing it while you can). He makes the point that Heidegger starts with things (Being) but will ultimately end with time (past, present, and future) as if he really all along meant to start with time. Cool stuff.
He does start the lecture series with Aristotle and the scholastic school of thought. The great battle that constantly roams the hallways of the world is the conflict between the sophisticated sophists and their putting humans as the "measure of all things" and the absolutist who have their universal, necessary and certain view point of the world. There is no right answer. The world is underdetermined. The facts we have are always adequately explainable by multiple theories. See his lecture on William Van Orman Quine for further explication.
The world is determined by our biological, historical and current context. The weight we impute to those three determine how we see the world. The focus of the lecture series is not the "philosophy of science", but those concepts lurk with in this lecture series.
I really loved this lecture series and would strongly recommend it to anyone, but be prepared to be overwhelmed by all the great thinkers covered and to be inspired to read some of the primary sources cited in this series. One needs to start some where with learning critical thinking and understanding why we are here, what our purpose is and what is the order (ontology, foundation, archetypes, forms, ideals, pick your favorite substitute for 'order') of the universe.
I'd even say that if one can master the ideas presented with in this lecture series (which I have not and know I'll have to listen to it multiple times before I even start to understand) one will be able to understand the "three big questions" and realize how most of what surrounds us is crap and only acts as a distraction against what our authentic selves should be learning and understanding. Our greatest virtue is our higher thought. Our distractions are necessary because we must survive, get along with others and enjoy life, but we should only use those distractions in order to re energize ourselves and learn to enjoy life more fully.
This professor is very good at explaining complicated ideas. Yes, complicated ideas are still complicated when they are explained as best as they can be and I won't lie sometimes I would get lost. Though, don't let that stand in the way of trying this lecture series.
(I had bought the audible before I had signed up for the reasonably priced Great Course Plus on line with video. I watched this course instead of listened to it. So technically this review is for the video version not the audio version. I'm glad I watched it instead of just listen to it. There were many visuals and the Professor did an incredibly good job with hand motions, facial expressions and the like. This is one of the few audible courses or book where I got a lot more out of it by watching instead of just listening. Let that be a warning and a recommendation to sign up to The Great Courses).
I majored in philosophy many years ago and have kept up with it on an enthuisiast's level since then. However, I truly learned more from this set of lectures than I have from any other source. I think I finally understand the morass that is 20th century philosophical thought. Professor Cahoone is an exceptional teacher - lucid, knowledgable without being verbose, thoughtful and serious. Without a doubt the best Great Course I've audited.
On the whole, I thought this was a worthwhile course. Although I was familiar with most of the philosophers and philosophical movements covered in the course, I got introduced to some I had not heard much about before. His summary of Hegel is particularly excellent, since Hegel is notoriously hard to summarize.
However, I admit to being rather disappointed by the lecturer's aside about "Foucault's exploration of sexuality - which he also explored in his personal life, and died of AIDS". I found this unnecessary and subtly homophobic. Furthermore, it had the effect of subtly eroding the potential validity, or objectivity of this theorist's work.
It was a little thing. But when I heard it, it disappointed me and forced me to question the objectivity of many of the lecturer's earlier assertions on philosophers I knew less about.
The depth of understanding Prof Cahoone conveys throughout the lectures. His love of the subject was expressed brilliantly and yet dispassionately. As the series was so enjoyable, I plan to listen to the whole series again.
Interesting material if a bit dense and difficult to understand at times though I attribute this more to the source material rather the lecturer. Overall, great series and look forward to more from this professor.
This program surpassed my expectations, the most memorable part was the walk through Kierkegaard's dilemma, and the speaker was fantastic.
Professor Cahoone did an excellent job of reviewing modern analytic, continental, and pragmatic philosophy. And uniquely in my experience he didn't exhibit any obvious bias in his presentation of the widely varying views in these traditions and was actually able to illustrate some similarities, e.g. a convergence in the late 20th century towards a pragmatic view by a number of thinkers from different strains of philosophy.
The discussion of the re- emergence of emergence via complexity at various levels of organization was, I thought, particularly well done.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to better understand current discussions in philosophy.
With great breadth and consideration for the experience of his listener, Cahoon covers modern philosophy as a great interconnected angiomas of the human philosophical corpus. The wide web, quick current, and kindly tone make this sweet spot well worth the visit.
It was precisely the kind of overview I wanted to see in regards to the evolution of philosophy . I also thought Professor Cahoone's insight and commentaries were fair and objective. The material presented for each aspect of history is concise. I pretty much enjoyed every aspect of the presentation and delivery of the content.
This book really gave me a great feel and general understanding for each of the major philosophical movement. I love how the course was able to effectively fit a major philosophical figure and school of thought into "one" lecture. As you process each lecture you can get a macro feel of how each school of thought is evolving with the times.
Yes, the author had a laser like quality in presenting relevant aspect of the material and philosophy to the reader. In addition, he presented fair commentaries near the end of each lecture that gave each lecture a personal touch.
I was a little bit worried that it was going to be a boring "lecture" based on some of the concerns from other people's review. However, from start to finish, I enjoyed everything Cahoone had to say. He does have a professorial tone, but I think it's appropriate for the material. Overall, I don't really have anything to bring in the form of a critique about the narrator's performance.
I love this book and highly recommend it. If you love philosophy and want to understand both the classical and modern thinkers/philosophers, then this is right up your alley. I have personally tried to tackle reading Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Nietzsche, Rorty all on their own and found the summary and insight from this course extremely effective.
This is one of the best audio books/courses available for download. I was a little dubious at first, not only because of its cerebral content, but also due to its length (30+ hours), but each lecture is a digestible 20-30 minutes. Worked into a daily routine, it's thus relatively easy to complete the full course in a matter of weeks - think of your daily commute to work!
I've some familiarity with modern philosophy, but felt that there were many holes in my knowledge. Cahoone's concise and accessible style has greatly helped me fill these gaps. I'm still very impressed by how he balances eloquence of articulation with clarity. The use of everyday examples to illustrate abstract concepts is very helpful.
"great introduction to the subject"
a complex subject made very accessible, I wish more lectures by this author were available
"Best intermediate book on Philosophy"
I loved it. I listen to it before I go to bed and so I'm a little dozy to understand it all. But I've listened to it several times and each time I get a little closer.
"The lecturer doesn't simplify "
Cahoon is extremely knowledgeable, but his inability to explain this topic (which he knows very well) for non-experts makes him inappropriate for an audiobook on philosophy.
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