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
Geopolitics, history, and philosophy junkie. I love smoothly flowing prose that moves me effortlessly from one idea to the next.
60 Lectures: not all equal in substance but certainly equal in quality. Prof. Robinson is subperb at the art of lecture. The material wasn't always great. The depth of the subject matter was lacking in some situations. I would recommend listening to this after fully investigating your subjects first. This will help remind you and round things out.
Absolutely not. It started out in Greece and Rome not bad... but then Christianity came along and it became extremely biased and devoted to promoting the author's faith and its supposed genius.
Passionate. Biased. Christian.
I was very disappointed. He's intelligent and he has promise, but he sees the world through a "Christianity is perfect" lens which just does not make sense for a supposed critical-thinking piece of work.
Don't bother unless you're already very devoted to being Christian.
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
This Is a survey of thought from Homer to recent 20th century thought. Each lecture the presentation uses 10 words when 2 will do. it becomes quite tedious to listen to and the amount of information is small for such a large presentation.
Great courses: yes. I'll avoid dr Robinson, however. He was difficult to listen to.
The title is misleading. It should be something like: Western European thought leaders.
He was slow and did not hold my attention.
I'm not saying it was awful, it was just not for me. According to this course no one out side of westerns had any thoughts on life worth covering. The 5 min devoted to the Middle East was to say that they were nothing more than stewards of the great ideas of Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Other than that: no contributions.
The lack of attention to other cultures is at least one sided, but could be addressed in a better title. the way the Middle East was covered, however just seemed inappropriate, and insulting.
Professor Robinson has a vast and deep ocean of knowledge, expertly explained in easy to understand terms, logical but emotionally profound, especially the last lecture where he speaks on his own ideas and beliefs. I'm glad I listened, and can honestly say that it was a truly intellectually beneficial experience. I got a lot out of it.
This series of lectures covers a vast amount of material, in an engaging and accessible way. I highly recommend it to those who are interested in philosophy and history.
Good overview, but not exhaustive. Should probably have been titled "Great Ideas of Western Philosophy", since Eastern philosophy was untouched. Nevertheless, it was a good course, and I would attend more of Professor Robinson's lectures if I were attending his college.
"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.
"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.
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