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Exploring Metaphysics | [The Great Courses, David K. Johnson]

Exploring Metaphysics

This mind-bending tour of metaphysics applies philosophy to the forefront of today's knowledge. Over the course of 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Johnson thinks through the big questions about humans and the universe: The relationship between the mind and the brain, how consciousness emerges from neurochemical processes, the existence of God, human free will, the possibility of time travel, and whether we live in a multiverse or even a computer simulation.
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Publisher's Summary

This mind-bending tour of metaphysics applies philosophy to the forefront of today's knowledge. Over the course of 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Johnson thinks through the big questions about humans and the universe: The relationship between the mind and the brain, how consciousness emerges from neurochemical processes, the existence of God, human free will, the possibility of time travel, and whether we live in a multiverse or even a computer simulation.

Drawing from the realms of psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and philosophy, the first half of the course examines the defining traits of being human. You'll explore the connection between brains and minds, as well as the nature of the self, time, and human free will.

The second half of the course shifts from the nature of the individual to the nature of the universe. Here metaphysics, science, and theology all intersect as you consider the existence of God, the science behind relativity, and the bizarre-even spooky-world of quantum mechanics.

Although the subject has ancient roots, the metaphysics you study in this course is far from an esoteric system of thought. Indeed, this material is very much alive today-at the forefront of philosophy, physics, and medical technology. When you complete this course, you will have a much richer perspective on the world around you. Virtually every lecture will challenge some of your bedrock beliefs about yourself and the universe.

©2013 The Great Courses (P)2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (187 )
5 star
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4.2 (168 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Grant McCracken 09-21-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Examine your existence in an incredible journey!"
    What made the experience of listening to Exploring Metaphysics the most enjoyable?

    I found the delivery delightful. The narrator had great infection and the passion of the topic was clearly there and translated well into the audiobook. I have always enjoyed lecture classes from highschool to college. The particular lecture keep my interest and had somewhat of a coversational tone. I caught myself answering allowed as if the narrator and I were having a discussion over lunch or dinner.


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

    I would have loved to have listened to this book in one sitting however the subject matter lends itself to small doses, say two to three a day. I found after listening to a few I needed to take a step back and digest the information over a day or two. Integrate it into my knowledge base, do a few google searches, and make connections with my database of learned material. I encourage others to do the same. I found in practicing small chunk assimilation the course proved more valuable and facilitated an enjoyable journey of interrelated learning and synthesis of a new understanding of metaphysics in the scope of ones passions and talents.


    Any additional comments?

    I had taken a few upper level philosophy courses during my undergraduate studies, and found them a challenge that did not provide the enjoyment I thought I would experience, and frankly I was skeptical when I purchased this title. Now having completed the course, my thirst for more by this professor and metaphysical study has been ignited. The information was presented extremely well in a thoughtfully crafted journey that built on itself to provide a comprehensive view of the discipline of metaphysics. By no means do I think it is a complete opus, and I did not purchase it with that idea in mind. I can say it was a phenomenal starting point. Informative, enjoyable, thought provoking, and complete enough to explain its points while beckoning the reader to search out extra information to enrich the experience. A+ course.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niels J. Rasmussen 08-19-14

    Dr. Nils Rasmussen

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    "Fascinating."
    Any additional comments?

    These lectures really got me thinking, which is exactly what metaphysics should do. Professor David K. Johnson, (although he has sort of a nerdy voice), does an amazing job of leading the listener by the hand through each lecture. The lectures are structured and organized in a way that each one leads into the next topic.

    I HIGHLY recommend these lectures for anyone looking to broaden their mind or enjoy thinking outside of the box.

    9.1 / 10.0

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 11-02-14
    Ryan 11-02-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Don't Miss This Course!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would definitely recommend this course to a friend who can handle it. It is really enjoyable to listen to such philosophical subjects from a professor who does not "force" his personal believes into the audience mind. The prof. has done a great job examining the subjects that he covers in his lectures.


    Have you listened to any of Professor David K. Johnson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Have not, but planning to do so.


    Any additional comments?

    We need more teachers like Professor David K. Johnson.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 07-06-14
    Saud 07-06-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "Pop culture, big questions & an excited professor"

    Let me get the professor's voice and tone out of the way: Compared to more collected professors in the Great Courses, Professor David K. Johnson has a voice that could be considered annoying.

    The good: He is well versed in complex ideas as well as pop culture, so expect plenty of examples from pop culture when explaining big questions regarding personal identity, free will, time travel, quantum mechanics and God.

    I don't agree with many of his conclusions, but his enthusiasm kept me going to the end.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 06-05-14
    Diana 06-05-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Skeptics Guide to Not Exploring Metaphysics"

    Having recently listened to Michio Kaku's book The Future of the Mind, I am abandoning this audio book without reaching the end. There are too many similarities in the two books - the left brain, right brain and how people behave if they are disconnected - the minimizing of Consciousness to consciousness - and there must be slim pickings in the cherry bowl if that poor railroad foreman that got the bar driven through his brain and had his personality changed is trotted out once again as an example of how we must exist only in the brain because if there is change or damage to it then look how it changes behavior.

    At a time when there are scientists expanding their realm of exploration and research there are those who clearly want to define the box of what is acceptable and real science and what should be kept out of the box.

    Professor Johnson explains near death experiences with the same old reasonable explanation of chemicals, and that since hearing is the last thing to go that explains how patients can hear what their doctors were saying.

    Since the title of this course includes Metaphysics, I hoped that Professor Johnson would have read expansively those scientists who have been spending decades doing research in that area. So far, only the usual (and tired) skeptical positions and dismissive explanations have been offered.

    The tone of voice Professor Johnson uses when describing the ideas he is arguing against is derisive.

    People who actually research metaphysical topics and gather information on actual metaphysical topics are who I want to listen to. Tom Campell, physicist (author of My Big TOE, Audible), Dr. Rupert Sheldrake (author of Science Set Free, Audible) and Claude Swanson (lecture only on Audible, print books at Amazon), Robert Monroe (Journeys Out of the Body, Audible), Eben Alexander (Proof of Heaven, Audible), Richard Martini (Flipside, Audible) and Jim B. Tucker (Return to Life, Audible) are audio books that actually Explore Metaphysics.

    The title of this audio book "Exploring Metaphysics" is false packaging. I was so pleased to find that mainstream academia has become open minded and had a course on this topic. Unfortunately, it's the same old safe, snobby, limited and skeptical view of reality.





    50 of 68 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DaniDarko 05-21-14
    DaniDarko 05-21-14 Member Since 2012

    stimulus

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    "Very dissapointing"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor David K. Johnson?

    Yes, there are others in the series that I like.


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

    Yes.


    What about Professor David K. Johnson’s performance did you like?

    Very clear enunciation


    Any additional comments?

    Quite boring. The professor also has the unfortunate habit of using a really stupid voice when stating an opinion he doesn't agree with, it seems really childish, and kind of demeaning to the whole topic.

    17 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison 06-22-14
    Allison 06-22-14
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    "Metaphysics Made Manageable"

    This course provides an introduction to metaphysics by taking the listener through multiple problems that fall under the metaphysical purview--the nature of the self, the nature of identity, the nature and existence of God, the vagaries of time as we understand it...the list goes on. Complicated concepts are clearly explained without being unduly simplified. Professor Johnson is fantastic. In short? I loved it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 06-07-14
    David 06-07-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Outstanding Introduction to Scientific Metaphysics"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Exploring Metaphysics to be better than the print version?

    Yes, because this is a series of lectures and not an audio version of a book. However, it is disappointing that Audible does not provide the guidebook and suggested reading list with the lectures.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Johnson is an outstanding speaker, philosopher, and thinker. I love his perspectives and writing as they are great examples of courageous critical thinking and scientific pursuit.


    What about Professor David K. Johnson’s performance did you like?

    Everything! He moves along quickly and seems to be able to introduce the layman to a complex subject and then effortlessly build on that introduction delivering an astounding amount of learning.


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

    I was particularly moved throughout the presentation by the evidence that scientific metaphysical pursuit threatens our paradigms and cherished beliefs. It takes a great deal of discipline and courage to ask these questions and be willing to accept answers that may be contrary to our wishes. The negative reviews speak to this necessary courage. Folks who do not enjoy this title are those who seem to want to believe something contrary to what the scientific consensus and the evidence supports. It may be a beautiful illusion that the sun is setting in the west, but that does not change the fact that it is an illusion.


    Any additional comments?

    Again, it is disappointing that Audible does not provide a PDF of the guidebook and suggested reading from this lecture series.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UserAbuser 12-18-14
    UserAbuser 12-18-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A Fascinating Journey"
    What made the experience of listening to Exploring Metaphysics the most enjoyable?

    Fascinating content, well structured and well explained


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The content


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

    I have no soul


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely reccommended for anyone with and interest in philosophy

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 04-30-15
    Patrick 04-30-15
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    "Outstanding"

    Exciting and relevant. I will recommend to all I know. Most memorable moment was SA@AD. Spooky Action at A Distance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 17 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Voxsmart
    UK
    6/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Arghhhhhh"

    After a short listen to the preview it seemed very interesting although the readers voice was a little odd. After buying it and listening, I could not stand the high machine gun like staccato rendition of a subject by the professor it probably would have been very interesting indeed.
    If a reader of some ability was to comfortably pass on this information I would really like to "get into" Metaphysics. What a shame, the other courses have been very good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen McMeekin
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth giving a missing."
    What would have made Exploring Metaphysics better?

    Having a narrator that was less high pitched, less raving, less screeching. It really is very annoying to listen to


    What will your next listen be?

    Any thing not narrated by the current author.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The poorest reading style I have ever listened to. This book is worth missing at any cost


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Exploring Metaphysics?

    The narrators voice.


    Any additional comments?

    I really would like my money back.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Felix
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    6/28/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "Good"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    Covers the landscape of metaphysics well, perfectly fine as an introduction to the subject. I liked the readers style found him to be humorous and a good communicator of the concepts. ( some reviewers didn't like his voice - to fussy in my opinion, didn't bother me one iota) Enjoyed it and if you are interested in learning about the ultimate nature of reality this is a good place to start.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bruce Marsh
    Edward, England
    6/17/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "five out of ten"
    Was Exploring Metaphysics worth the listening time?

    There are some great thought provoking ideas in this book. Whilst some of the material is too hypothetical and ungrounded, other elements cause you to really think about the world differently. Metaphysics is the study beyond every day physics and the lecture explores the ideas of (for example) whether the mind exists, time and space. I'd recommend this book if you fancy a look at the world from another dimension.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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