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The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought Lecture

The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought

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Publisher's Summary

This course addresses some of the eternal questions that man has grappled with since the beginning of time. What is good? What is bad? Why is justice important? Why is it better to be good and just than it is to be bad and unjust?

Most human beings have the faculty to discern between right and wrong, good and bad behavior, and to make judgments over what is just and what is unjust. But why are ethics important to us?

This course looks at our history as ethical beings. We'll travel into the very heart of mankind's greatest philosophical dilemmas - to the origins of our moral values and the problem of ethics. Are ethics universal, absolute and unchanging - or are they culturally relative, changing, and man-made? Furthermore, we'll delve into the creation of ethical systems - not just for ourselves, but also for society at large. And we will consider the ongoing process of establishing ethical frameworks for society.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2004 Peter Kreeft (P)2004 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (273 )
5 star
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4.5 (173 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-22-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Lectures"

    I look forward to listening to this again while taking notes. I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 03-03-16
    Alex 03-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "increase the speed in your app slightly"

    this will make the delivery easier to hear. loved the series, a great introduction for anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krzysztof 02-10-16
    Krzysztof 02-10-16
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    "Excellent!"

    Well written, informative and original in its approach overview of the history of ethics. Focuses mainly on Western thought

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Florida 09-11-15
    Amazon Customer Florida 09-11-15 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "Another Gem by Kreeft"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought to be better than the print version?

    I enjoy listening to Dr. Kreeft speak, so I'd say yes.


    What other book might you compare The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought to and why?

    Anything by Kreeft. He has written dozens of books, all of which I recommend.


    What three words best describe Peter Kreeft’s performance?

    Passionate. Informed. Brilliant.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I enjoyed the numerous comparisons of the many philosophers who shaped Western thinking. Even those with just a passing interest in philosophy have heard these names before, but maybe can't fully explain their concepts. Kreeft breaks down what the greatest thinkers believed and why they believed it - throwing in his opinions once in a while.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm addicted to Kreeft, so I probably came into this a little biased. He has a few dozen talks available for download on Amazon and I have purchased each one and listened to them numerous times. When I ran out of talks to buy on Amazon I started looking for videotaped speeches online and once I exhausted all that YouTube had to offer I eventually thought about Audible. This course was fantastic and I will be listening to it again as well as purchasing his other books/courses through Audible. Kreeft has a distinctly unapologetic Catholic slant and that could conceivably turn some people off. But he backs up each and every one of his own concepts with solid logical proof.

    I gave the book 3 stars for Performance simply because for the first few hours the audio lagged in a really annoying way. My first instinct was, "that's not Kreeft," but then I realized it was just playing at the wrong speed. After a few hours the problem suddenly corrected itself and everything sounded right. But the first few hours are so odd sounding that I literally changed the speed to 1.5 just to keep from losing my mind..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trey Carlisle, PA 09-07-15
    Trey Carlisle, PA 09-07-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Brief history, rich content"

    Excellent book for those who have some familiarity with Ethics. It scans, contrasts, and explains the relationships (or contradictions) of most moral thought traditions through seminal author stances.

    As intended, the book is a brief history and superficial treatment of many traditions or schools of ethical reasoning. For those seeking a 'deep dive' into one tradition, this isn't the book. Further, the author does not impose a universal unifying theory. As with most good scholarship and teaching, the author explains and critiques; but allows the reader to think independently.

    Excellent pace by the narrator. Brisk enough to hold interest, appropriate pauses to allow for reflection. This is not an easy balance, as this book requires engagement with nuanced ideas and logic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colum P Morgan 05-25-15
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    "On my second listening = still amazed!"

    This book/lecture/course is very easy to listen to. Mr. Kreeft starts with the ancient Greeks, goes up through Machiavelli, Kant, and others. He follows the discovery of each "new" philosophical/ethical idea, what was happening historically, and what other major philosophers were saying at the same time. He is subtle in his opinions; Mr. Kreeft doesn't lecture to you, but rather tells you a story. It's entertaining and educational.
    I found that as a narrator, Mr. Kreeft was easy to understand - no hums, or haws. Very clear voice with a personal tone.
    This is my first Modern Ethics lecture (I'm more The Great Courses kind), and this Ethics course makes me curious to try another in their series.
    Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Cortés Bay Area, California 07-03-12
    Carlos Cortés Bay Area, California 07-03-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Pretty good for a religious guy"
    What did you love best about The Modern Scholar?

    Very digestible presentation. Does a reasonable job of presenting ancient philosophers' views, then separately asserting his opinions.


    What does Peter Kreeft bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He read's well for a content author, so the emphasis is perfect. Philosophy is particularly awkward when read by the average author.


    Any additional comments?

    His philosophical positions are totally absurd from my thinking. Example: He asserts that if God exists and is morally perfect, then god must be the basis or our morality. I can't even begin to understand how someone who calls himself a philosopher could sling together such a collection of unsubstantiated claims. "if god exists and is morally perfect?" That seems utterly impossible for any creature, sentient or not but fine, we'll just assume it's true even though we can't begin to understand the implications. "Then our morality must be based on god's" What!? God is a completely different kind of organism from us and there's only one of him. His social morality would be fundamentally different from ours. He is far more powerful than we are. His morality requires him to show far greater restraint in using his power to his own benefit than humans do. I can go on, but you get the point.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Poulin 12-13-08
    Tim Poulin 12-13-08 Member Since 2014
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    "Good approach but tainted by personal bias"

    This audiobook looks at important topics in ethics but is very biased by the author. The author takes every chance he can to promote christianity and christian principles over other viewpoints and to promote old views over modern views. Furthermore the author (Kreeft) gives his personal assessments in value-oriented ways rather than descriptive ones. This means that you end up learning much more about the author than about the topics he purports to cover. If you are a christian, this might be an accessible way to learn about philosophy but be warned that it is a dishonest representation of the material by someone who doesn't fully understand it.

    38 of 92 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Khin Perth, Australia 09-21-10
    Khin Perth, Australia 09-21-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Gave it a chance despite bad reviews..."

    I really wanted to learn about this subject. Previous reviews said it is tainted by the lecturer's religious bias but I thought I'd try it anyhow. I was disappointed to discover that the bad reviews were fair. It feels patronising and has overtones of religion and the lecturers thinly veiled religious self-justification stewn throughout which make mining it for genuine knowledge, of which the lecturer has some to offer, simply annoying.

    I downloaded the Modern Scholar on polical theory which presented its facts and perspectives in such an open and warmly detached manner. That experience gave me faith in the series so I assumed the bad reviews for this one on Ethics were just because ethics is a touchy subject for many readers.

    I'm afraid this lecturer does not inspire confidence as its easy to sense his prejudice driving much of the opinion and perspective he presents, even to the point where he contradicts himself when justifying his own personal perspectives along the way. It made me feel like I was only being presented half the picture. It made me more interested in the other intellectuals he ridicules throughout than in listening to him. Though obviously a highly educated man, he cannot share what knowlege he has objectively because of the religious way he's gone about forming his speculation.

    I will think twice before trusting the "Modern Scholar" series again just on its name after this download. Annoying and unbalanced.

    11 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 06-12-11
    Thomas Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 06-12-11 Member Since 2007
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    "A biased overview and history"

    If you want to know how the religious right in America thinks, this is the book for you... The author is a Platonist and an unapologetic dualist, an apparent Republican and a smug professor of religion. He dismisses materialism and misrepresents thinkers he does not approve of, such as Hobbes and Marx. If you can tolerate this, there is something to be learned from the lectures, but really there are better books out there.

    7 of 21 people found this review helpful

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