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.
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.
©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses
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.
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.
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