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Paul Strathern

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  • The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance | Paul Strathern

    The Medici: Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (331)
    Story
    (327)

    Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning, Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence as well as the Italian Renaissance, which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Interwoven into the narrative are the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola.

  • Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of the Renaissance City | Paul Strathern

    Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of the Renaissance City

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    Overall
    (99)
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    (90)
    Story
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    Death in Florence illuminates one of the defining moments in Western history - the bloody and dramatic story of the battle for the soul of Renaissance Florence. By the end of the fifteenth century, Florence was well established as the home of the Renaissance. In an exhilaratingly rich and deeply researched story, Paul Strathern reveals the paradoxes, self-doubts, and political compromises that made the battle for the soul of the Renaissance city one of the most complex and important moments in Western history.

  • Aristotle in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Aristotle in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 15 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    Aristotle wrote on everything from the shape of seashells to sterility, from speculations on the nature of the soul to meteorology, poetry, art, and even the interpretation of dreams. Apart from mathematics, he transformed every field of knowledge that he touched. Above all, Aristotle is credited with the founding of logic. When he first divided human knowledge into separate categories, he enabled our understanding of the world to develop in a systematic fashion.

  • Kierkegaard in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Kierkegaard in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 24 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
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    Kierkegaard wasn't really a philosopher in the academic sense. Yet he produced what many people expect of philosophy. His subject was the individual and his or her existence, the "existing being." In Kierkegaard's view, this purely subjective entity lay beyond the reach of reason, logic, philosophical systems, theology, or even "the pretenses of psychology." Nonetheless, it was the source of all these subjects. The branch of philosophy to which Kierkegaard gave birth has come to be known as existentialism.

  • The Venetians: A New History: From Marco Polo to Casanova | Paul Strathern

    The Venetians: A New History: From Marco Polo to Casanova

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria, and West Africa. This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic's eventual surrender to Napoleon. The Venetians illuminates the character of the Republic during these illustrious years by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history.

  • Nietzsche in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Nietzsche in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 10 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    Story
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    With Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophy was dangerous not only for philosophers but for everyone. His ideas presaged a collective madness that had horrific consequences in Europe in the early 1900s. Though his philosophy is more one of aphorisms than a system, it is brilliant, persuasive, and incisive. His major concept is the will to power, which he saw as the basic impulse for all our acts. Christianity he saw as a subtle perversion of this concept, thus Nietzsche's famous pronouncement, "God is dead."

  • Spinoza in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Spinoza in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 11 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    (40)
    Story
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    Spinoza's brilliant metaphysical system was derived neither from reality nor experience. Starting from basic assumptions, with a series of geometric proofs he built a universe which was also God, one and the same thing, the classic example of pantheism. Although his system seems an oddity today, Spinoza's conclusions are deeply in accord with modern thought, from science (the holistic ethics of today's ecologists) to politics (the idea that the state exists to protect the individual).

  • Socrates in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Socrates in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 18 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
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    Just a century after it had begun, philosophy entered its greatest age with the appearance of Socrates, who spent so much of his time talking about philosophy on the streets of Athens that he never got around to writing anything down. His method of aggressive questioning, called dialectic, was the forerunner of logic; he used it to cut through the twaddle of his adversaries and arrive at the truth. Rather than questioning the world, he believed, we would be better off questioning ourselves.

  • Heidegger in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Heidegger in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (34)
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    One of the two major philosophical traditions of the twentieth century was linguistic analysis, derived largely from Wittgenstein. The other, diametrically opposed, came from Heidegger, and its fundamental question was, "What is the meaning of existence?" For Heidegger, this question could not simply be "analyzed away". It was beyond the reach of logic or reason. It was the primary "given" of every individual life. To confront it, Heidegger needed to develop an entire new form of philosophy.

  • Kant in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Kant in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 20 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    Immanuel Kant taught and wrote prolifically about physical geography yet never traveled further than forty miles from his home in Kvnigsberg. How appropriate it is then that in his philosophy he should deny that all knowledge was derived from experience. He insisted that all experience must conform to knowledge. According to Kant, space and time are subjective; along with various "categories," they help us to see the phenomena of the world, though never its true reality.

  • Plato in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Plato in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    In an age when philosophers had scarcely glimpsed the horizons of the mind, a boy named Aristocles decided to forgo his ambitions as a wrestler. Adopting the nickname Plato, he embarked instead on a life in philosophy. In 387 B.C. he founded the Academy, the world's first university, and taught his students that all we see is not reality but merely a reproduction of the true source. And in his famous Republic he described the politics of "the highest form of state."

  • Hume in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Hume in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 17 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    Story
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    David Hume reduced philosophy to ruins: he denied the existence of everything, except our actual perceptions themselves. I alone exist, he argued, and the world is nothing more than part of my consciousness. Yet we know that the world remains, and we go on as before. What Hume expressed was the status of our knowledge about the world, a world in which neither religion nor science is certain.

  • Hegel in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Hegel in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 16 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
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    Story
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    With Hegel, philosophy became very difficult indeed. His dialectical method produced the most grandiose metaphysical system known to man. Even Hegel conceded that "only one man understands me, and even he does not." Hegel's system included absolutely everything, but its most vital element was the dialectic of the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. This method sprang from Hegel's ambition to overcome the deficiencies of logic and ascended toward mind as the ultimate reality.

  • St. Augustine in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    St. Augustine in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
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    In St. Augustine in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of St. Augustine's life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from St. Augustine's work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place St. Augustine within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

  • Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (25)

    "If we accept Wittgenstein's word for it," Paul Strathern writes, "he is the last philosopher. In his view, philosophy in the traditional sense was finished."

  • Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 22 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (34)
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    We see our age as the greatest in human history, filled with seemingly unending originality. Yet such dynamism is not a necessary characteristic of great eras. Among the most long-lasting and stable civilizations was that of medieval Europe. There stasis was achieved, and with it a stability that permitted the development of structured thought and intellectual embellishment of unparalleled degree.

  • Descartes in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Descartes in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 13 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (41)
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    Rene Descartes spent most of his childhood in solitude, a situation that also came to characterize his adult life. Fortunately, these countless lonely hours helped Descartes produce the declaration that changed all philosophy: "I think, therefore I am." Eventually convincing himself to doubt and disregard sensory knowledge, Descartes found he could prove his existence through his thoughts. This internal information, he believed, was the true reality and external forces were hopelessly deceiving.

  • Hegel: Philosophy in an Hour | Paul Strathern

    Hegel: Philosophy in an Hour

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 16 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
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    Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Hegel in just one hour. With Hegel philosophy became very difficult indeed – even the great man himself conceded that ‘only one man understands me, and even he does not.’ His dialectical method produced the most grandiose metaphysical system known to humanity, and included absolutely everything, its most vital element being the dialectic of the thesis, antithesis and synthesis.

  • Marx in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Marx in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 23 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (41)
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    Story
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    Karl Marx's devastating critique of capitalism, and his proposal of communism as the answer to the failings of the capitalist system, bore their greatest fruits in the twentieth century with the formation of the communist state in the Soviet Union. This great venture has now all but completely failed. Yet the force of the communist belief offered the prospect of "justice on this earth" to countless numbers. And Marx's critique has influenced generations of thinkers who call themselves Marxists.

  • Confucius in 90 Minutes | Paul Strathern

    Confucius in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 16 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (39)
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    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Confucius knew all about life and told us how to behave, but we can't find out precisely what he was up to. His well-meaning platitudes, quaint maxims, and quasi-enigmatic anecdotes combined to produce an ideal philosophy for civil servants. It would appear that his aim was to turn his pupils into good government officials, but his teachings succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, providing rules of conduct and spiritual fodder for more than two thousand years.

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