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.
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.
©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses
I enjoy The Great Courses series and this one was great. It is a survey of the world’s top philosophers and their ideas. But be prepared for the long haul - this audio book is over 30 hours long. But the presentation is well prepared and delivered in a style to prevent boredom. This is one that I certainly will listen to several times.
liking the sound
I am fascinated by philosophy and it's history, but this treatment of it was an incredible waist of time. You hear very little interesting substance of philosophy. Also, let it be noted this is all Western Philosophy, which is fine, but philosophically speaking India and China were centuries ahead of the west for most of human history and that's where a lot of the good stuff is. There was also a Christian bent to the lecture which was distracting. It was weird to hear someone teach philosophy, while maintaining a religious circular logic. In fact in his grand conclusion for how to live the best life (as if there is one answer for everyone) he claims that happiness would be to live the life of Mother Teresa. This is a perfect example with the problem with Daniel Robinson. Mother Teresa struggled with horrible lifelong depression and misery (read her letters if you don't believe me.) I'm not sure if Robinson is unaware of this, if he thinks happiness is irrelevant to a good life, or if he simply thinks his listeners aren't aware. Either way, his conclusions are strange and he seems to try to wrap philosophy into a justification for Christianity. I'm not trying to knock his beliefs, but if I had to listen to class on philosophy as a way of justifying Islam or zoroastrianism I would find it pretty useless too. I don't know how this guy got to teach a class in anything.
Generally I love the great courses and look forward to the next one I listen to.
If the professor had stuck with philosophy and kept the theology to himself.
Instead try "Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines" or just do Will Durant
Lots of great information, just too much of his personal biases influence the information. Overall a great course that makes me want to read these works and form my own opinions.
First, I recognize that the professor is extremely knowledgeable and I most often enjoyed his delivery. Unfortunately, some of the lectures go from crystal clear to completely opaque within minutes. I've sometimes gone back to the start of a given lecture to take another go at comprehending what it is he's talking about, which didn't always help.
Prior to this course, I purchased both "Nietzsche" and "The Modern Intellectual Tradition" which I enjoyed very much. Even with these as background, I still found "Great Ideas" tough to fully understand and appreciate.
Again, I have no doubt that he knows his material thoroughly. If you're well-grounded in the material you may already know all this; and if you aren't, you may never understand it as well as you'd like.
I always thought discussions on philosophy were a waist of time but I really enjoyed my first foray into this arena. The lecturer was a very good speaker and kept the subject fresh at the same time keeping most of his thoughts on philosophy till the very end of the book. I will definitely try more books in this series.
memorable and remarkable in all relevant respects. a credit to the erudition of the lecturer and his generous knowledge of the subject matter. universally recommended.
I have tried many books from The Great Coursers but this one was not to my liking. The presentation was stale and the great thinkers were not described in a lively way.
Yes, I will try other courses
the lectures are clear and concise. They give a taste of various authors but as in any survey you do not get into many details, although you do get a sense of the strength and weakness of various positions. you also get a view of the origins of western thought and how some basic questions have been approached through the ages. One interesting choice is including some folks not considered philosophers as such and showing how their thought has influenced philosophy. there was originally supplemental print material available, but this option not offered in audible which might have been useful.
Yes. You have the opportunity to better listen to the narrator's emphasis and nuance of very difficult concepts.
The simplicity of relating complex concepts of existence and morality to real-world issues.
Robinson is awesome!
Brilliant and funny his narration is very engaging, and to-the-point.
Prof. Robinson's explanations and real-world applications of these concepts ensure you understand and appreciate the value of philosophy.
J. S. Mill's thesis on what is liberty - very enlightening!
Not being sappy - but listening to this audio-book has changed the way I think of life, morality, existence and my place in this world. A mind-changer!
"Well presented introduction to philosophy"
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.
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.
These lectures were stimulating and had the impact of returning me to other books to further develop my understanding.
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.
"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.
Report Inappropriate Content