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The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition | [The Great Courses]

The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

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.
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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.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (285 )
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4.4 (247 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lee Bartlesville, OK, United States 12-29-13
    Lee Bartlesville, OK, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2014

    autodidact wannabe

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thinking with the greatest thinkers"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Bryan New York, New York United States 05-21-14
    J. Bryan New York, New York United States 05-21-14 Member Since 2012

    liking the sound

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Interesting material. Out of touch professor"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Generally I love the great courses and look forward to the next one I listen to.


    How could the performance have been better?

    If the professor had stuck with philosophy and kept the theology to himself.


    What character would you cut from The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition?

    Democritus, Hume


    Any additional comments?

    Instead try "Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines" or just do Will Durant

    11 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh TX 06-27-15
    Josh TX 06-27-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    2
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    Story
    "A wealth of information"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 06-18-15
    Michael 06-18-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "wonderful"

    If you happen to have the time and interest, this course is well worth both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coral 06-12-15
    Coral 06-12-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    14
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    "Good but not great"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Buckley, WA, United States 06-05-15
    Amazon Customer Buckley, WA, United States 06-05-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Story
    "New to the philosophical discussions"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mateosewillo 05-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    "A gateway drug"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Houston, Tx United States 05-08-15
    Kindle Customer Houston, Tx United States 05-08-15 Member Since 2014

    Geo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    13
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    "I did not "feel" the Philosophers"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Daniel N. Robinson?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Yes, I will try other courses


    How could the performance have been better?

    More enthusiasm


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 05-05-15
    Tom 05-05-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good survey"

    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.

    Tom Donohue

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise J. Mills Roseville, CA United States 03-31-15
    Denise J. Mills Roseville, CA United States 03-31-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    10
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    "Absolutely awesome!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition to be better than the print version?

    Yes. You have the opportunity to better listen to the narrator's emphasis and nuance of very difficult concepts.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition?

    The simplicity of relating complex concepts of existence and morality to real-world issues.


    What does Professor Daniel N. Robinson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    J. S. Mill's thesis on what is liberty - very enlightening!


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr
    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
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

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