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The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition Lecture
The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition
Written by: 
The Great Courses
Narrated by: 
Professor Daniel N. Robinson
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The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition Lecture

The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

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Publisher's Summary

Grasp the important ideas that have served as the backbone of philosophy across the ages with this extraordinary 60-lecture series. This is your opportunity to explore the enormous range of philosophical perspectives and ponder the most important and enduring of human questions - without spending your life poring over dense philosophical texts.

Professor Robinson guides you through more than 2,000 years of philosophical thinking and gives you a coherent, comprehensive, and beautifully articulated introduction to the great conversation of philosophy. Every lecture contains substance that can change your view of the world and its history.

You'll journey from the early philosophical ideas of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; chart the origins of Christian philosophy and investigate the Islamic scholars who preserved and extended Greek thought during the Middle Ages; and venture through Enlightenment contributions to philosophy, from Francis Bacon to Locke, Hume, Kant, Mill, and Adam Smith.

Then shift your attention to the modern era, where you see groundbreaking ideas like psychoanalysis, pragmatism, and nihilism, as well as the collision between the inherently social understanding of meaning created by Wittgenstein, the vastly different estimation of human thought developed by the code-breaking genius Alan Turing, and the subtle response to him made by the American philosopher John Searle.

While the lectures cover an enormous range of key thinkers and ideas, they always focus on the most important ideas. The result is a course that gives you everything you need to finally grasp humanity's exciting philosophical history - without years of intense academic study and piles of dense reading.

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

©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (495 )
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4.4 (437 )
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Performance
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  •  
    W. Morgan Tennesse 09-24-13
    W. Morgan Tennesse 09-24-13 Member Since 2005

    I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "Great overview with some degree of detail"

    I found this to be a thought-provoking and interesting overview of many of the major philosophers and their respective reasonings and arguments. This isn't a scant overview where you get a handful of minutes on profound thinkers, you get a little bit more than - usually at least one full lecture and often more when the philosopher or philosophy is refered back to in later lectures.

    The Professor clearly has mastery over his course and it's a pleasure to have had he opportunity to sit in on his classes while in my car, or on my lawn mower.... or layed out on the couch/floor.

    I definitely recommend this as a great starting point and believe it will push you to consider or read/listen to more writings/lectures on the subject or, at least, on a particular philosophy or philosopher.

    4/5 stars represents something I'd possibly listen to again - and I very well may - probbaly selectively based upon interest in a particular lecture or two. Trying to get away from LOVING everything I hear - but I'm frequently failing. This one slips to just shy of 5 because it didn't have me so 'eager' to continue listening at every breath of my day.

    Thanks,
    Will

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bristol 09-15-13
    Amazon Customer Bristol 09-15-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    5
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    "Introduced me to philosophy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I bought this for leisure and I found it to be thoroughly educational, inspirational and most importantly fun to listen to


    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian DENVER, CO, United States 12-29-13
    Brian DENVER, CO, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "A Rather "Spatial" Take on Philosophy"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    There is no doubt that Robinson is extremely learned. He's also a little self-impressed. His style can sometimes catapult you into the stars, or drive you nuts, depending on how well you're paying attention. Now, if your looking for a linear take on the history of philosophy, where the lecturer lays everything out according to a strict chronology and a "cause and effect" approach, you would probably do better with another overview. Yet if you're interested in being pulled through 2,500 years of thought according to an extremely erudite professor, who has, mind you, some eccentricity thrown in for good measure, than you will appreciate this approach. In other words, Robinson likes to go for the big ideas. And he likes to spend a lot of time building up to those big ideas. If you're patient and can follow his near-prose style of speaking, it does pay off. And, to his credit, he's working very hard to set things up so you can have your own epiphany with the ideas, which is what great philosophy professors should do. But then again, sometimes you just want the facts, and you want them laid out clearly and concisely. I sometimes found myself thinking "this is amazing," and other times, I found myself thinking, "ok, yeah, yeah, yeah, think I'll forward to the next lecture now." In all he gave me some great insight, some "great ideas," but I did feel it was a lot of work sometimes, and a lot of highs and lows.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Robinson is smart as hell and passionate, and this comes across in many of the lectures. He seems to do a little bit better with modern philosophy, starting with Bacon.

    You're best off finishing a lecture if you happen to start it.


    32 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad 01-16-15
    Brad 01-16-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Treat Yourself"

    If you are looking for an immensely thought-provoking, thorough, and accessible look at the major aspects if philosophy, you can't beat this. The 60 lectures were worth every minute.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy 11-20-13
    Timothy 11-20-13

    I use Audible books to educate myself on topics I'm interested in.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "An Excellent Introduction to Western Philosophy"
    Would you listen to The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition again? Why?

    Yes. It contained a number of ideas worth thinking about more and/or revisiting.


    What other book might you compare The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition to and why?

    From Socrates to Sartre, by T. Z. Lavine. Both books attempt to cut a large swathe through western philosophical thought; Lavine's work tends to go more in depth, however, since it deals with fewer philosophers.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doubting Tim 11-02-13

    Tim

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific exploration of philosophical ideas"
    If you could sum up The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition in three words, what would they be?

    Articulate, nuanced, explanatory


    What did you like best about this story?

    Philosophy is the greatest subject matter to which humans turn their attention, and Professor Robinson pinpoints knowledge, conduct and governance as the three great themes of human history and experience, then explores these in a way that draws the listener in. This man knows and loves his subject.


    What about Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance did you like?

    He is erudite without being pompous, and very easy to listen to. His tone is discursive, with the light and shade generally found in conversation but not in reading -- he doesn't give the impression that he is reading out his lecture notes.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes - but good luck! 60 lectures. Extraordinary value.


    Any additional comments?

    Get this one if it's the only course you buy.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-20-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Hard Review to Write"

    This is one of the hardest reviews I have written. I have struggled with deciding how to judge this course. There are aspects that I really enjoyed. The professor is clearly brilliant and knows the material very well. If anything, the professor's brilliance and knowledge of the material may be too good because many, but not all, of the lessons are taught at higher than a beginner's level. I took this course to fill a gap in my education. During college, Introduction to Philosophy was an elective course that I never managed to work into my schedule. I have enjoyed using the Great Courses to fill in gaps in my education by taking the classes that I simply did not get around to in college. So, I was hoping for Philosophy 101. This course, though, was more like Philosophy 201 or 301. Throughout, the professor used terminology that he did not adequately define or assumed the listener already understood. Despite the professor being highly knowledgeable and a quality presenter, his failure to explain terminology made following portions of the course very difficult. My opinion is not completely negative, and I certainly learned some things from the course. I particularly enjoyed the last ten lessons where he summarized different philosophical approaches to topical areas such as medical ethics, legal theory, justifications for war, aesthetic judgments and the existence of God.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 02-20-16
    Ryan 02-20-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Succinct"

    The speaker touches on most of the greatest thoughts in human history in a historical orientation. All individuals should experience a lecture on philosophy like this, if not this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hendrick Mcdonald 09-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Less Would Be More Here"

    These lectures go from philosopher to philosopher, which is fine, but the purpose of each lecture I felt was lost in the details. Each philosopher has something to add, but I tended to get lost in the fog of considerations, thought experiments, and refutation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Customer 03-26-15
    A Customer 03-26-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Best course ever!"

    Best course ever! 30 hours of nonstop brilliance. I only wish I'd been able to attend these lectures in person.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Andrew
    United Kingdom
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well presented introduction to philosophy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The book covers philosophy from the start of civilisation to modern times - with some thematic discussions at the end. It is largely focused on western ideas, although there were passing references to eastern thought, particularly early on. So a really good overall introduction, best supplemented with supporting reading. It tackles some difficult concepts and does, at times, require work from the listener (ie. full concentration and time to digest ideas): I repeated some parts 2 or 3 times to get the full meaning. Overall very stimulating and largely enjoyable.


    What about Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance did you like?

    The American lecturer had a pleasant and warm tone, clearly and naturally spoken, with a few endearing tics such as saying "do you see?" at the end of some particularly complex example or explanation - or to emphasise a point. As the lectures developed it was interesting to build a picture of his personal perspectives - on some challenging issues, which is not to say that arguments were not presented in the round.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    These lectures were stimulating and had the impact of returning me to other books to further develop my understanding.


    Any additional comments?

    There was a lot crammed in - most of the major figures of philosophy are touched on. Also a focus on some ideas not normally treated as "philosophical" eg. USA constitution and Freud. An excellent initial overview.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Lancaster, United Kingdom
    1/19/15
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    "What a great idea!"

    Fabulous romp through history and it's formative ideas. The reader is interesting to listen to, has a great grasp of the subject and witty to boot.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Greg Gauthier
    London, UK
    6/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masterful, Enthralling, Enlightening "

    Dr. Robinson is a remarkable lecturer, a brilliant storyteller, and a skilled logician. It's taken me a month to traverse all 60 lectures, but it was well worth the effort in my estimation. 30 days to consume a lifetime of wisdom is a good bargain. More importantly, it's great to know that at least one man cares enough about The West to make sure we all remember what makes it worth caring about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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