The Great Courses: Modern Philosophy
Books in series19
ORIGINAL
(4.3 based on 643 ratings)
  • No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert C. Solomon
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (72)

    What is life? What is my place in it? What choices do these questions obligate me to make? More than a half-century after it burst upon the intellectual scene - with roots that extend to the mid-19th century - Existentialism's quest to answer these most fundamental questions of individual responsibility, morality, and personal freedom, life has continued to exert a profound attraction.

    Madeleine says: "Wonderful Survey of the Evolution of a Philosophy"
    Wonderful Survey of the Evolution of a Philosophy

    This was an incredibly compelling audio course. I appreciated Prof. Solomon's inclusion not only of philosophical thinkers but also writers like Camus..Show More »

    Reviewed on April 13 2014 by Madeleine (London, United Kingdom)
  • The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lawrence Cahoone
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (67)

    What is reality? Ask yourself whether you can actually know the answer, much less be sure that you can know it, and you've begun to grapple with the metaphysical and epistemological quandaries that have occupied, teased, and tormented modern philosophy's greatest intellects since the dawn of modern science and a century before the Enlightenment.

    Carl says: "Outstanding summary of modern philosophy"
    Outstanding summary of modern philosophy

    The depth of understanding Prof Cahoone conveys throughout the lectures. His love of the subject was expressed brilliantly and yet dispassionately. As..Show More »

    Reviewed on October 11 2013 by Carl (ONALASKA, WI, United States)
  • Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, David Zarefsky
    • Narrated By Professor David Zarefsky
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (87)

    What is effective reasoning? And how can it be done persuasively? These questions have been asked for thousands of years, yet some of the best thinking on reasoning and argumentation is recent and represents a break from the past. These 24 engaging lectures teach you how to reason, how to persuade others that what you think is right, and how to judge and answer the arguments of others - and how they will judge yours.

    liam says: "If you are on the fence, Get it!"
    If you are on the fence, Get it!

    Clear, concise, informative

    Reviewed on August 22 2013 by liam (LAS VEGAS, NV, United States)
  • The Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kathleen M. Higgins, Professor Robert C. Solomon
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (96)

    Who was Friedrich Nietzsche? This lonely and chronically ill, yet passionate, daring, and complex man is perhaps the most mysterious and least understood of all contemporary philosophers. Why are his brilliant insights so relevant for today? How did he become the most misinterpreted and unfairly maligned intellectual figure of the last two centuries?

    Madeleine says: "Engaging Course"
    Engaging Course

    This is a very comprehensive course on Nietzsche. Not just his works and his thoughts, but there is a rather helpful and contexualizing of his life as..Show More »

    Reviewed on April 13 2014 by Madeleine (London, United Kingdom)
  • Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dennis Dalton
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    What is the connection between individual freedom and social and political authority? Are human beings fundamentally equal or unequal? In 16 in-depth lectures, Professor Dalton puts the key theories of power formulated by several of history's greatest minds within your reach. These lectures trace two distinct schools of political theory, idealism and realism, from their roots in ancient India and Greece through history and, ultimately, to their impact on the 20th century.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • The Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Revolutions in thought (as opposed to those in politics or science) are in many ways the most far-reaching of all. They affect how we grant legitimacy to authority, define what is possible, create standards of right and wrong, and even view the potential of human life. Between 1600 and 1800, such a revolution of the intellect seized Europe, shaking the minds of the continent as few things before or since. What we now know as the Enlightenment challenged previously accepted ways of understanding reality, bringing about modern science, representative democracy, and a wave of wars, sparking what Professor Kors calls "perhaps the most profound transformation of European, if not human, life." In this series of 24 insightful lectures, you'll explore the astonishing conceptual and cultural revolution of the Enlightenment. You'll witness in its tumultuous history the birth of modern thought in the dilemmas, debates, and extraordinary works of the 17th- and 18th-century mind, as wielded by the likes of thinkers like Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Pascal, Newton, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau.And you'll understand why educated Europeans came to believe that they had a new understanding-of thought and the human mind, of method, of nature, and of the uses of knowledge-with which they could come to know the world correctly for the first time in human history, and with which they could rewrite the possibilities of human life.

    Donald says: "Good material, annoying voice"
    Good material, annoying voice

    A physics student would normally be enraptured to watch Einstein write out the equations of Relativity on a chalkboard, because it would be a display ..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 29 2013 by Donald (Dallas, TX, United States)
  • Freedom: The Philosophy of Liberation

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dennis Dalton
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Professor Dalton explores the meaning of freedom and examines the progress of both personal and political freedom. These eight lectures are a guided tour along the byways of the philosophy of liberation, beginning with its ancient roots and ending in 20th-century America.Throughout these lectures, you'll follow the progress toward personal liberation and spiritual freedom found in the lives of those who were often consumed by fierce and difficult struggles for political freedom....

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Discover why intellectuals and historians alike consider Voltaire to be one of the most intriguing, influential, and elusive thinkers of the modern world. Focusing on the deepest, most enduring aspects of Voltaire's work and thought, but never losing sight of the colorful, fascinating man himself, these 12 lectures sketch for you a vibrant, thought-provoking vision of Voltaire as "the father of the Enlightenment" and one of the great literary personalities of all time.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics, and the Modern Experience

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert H. Kane
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Is there an ethics that we can all agree on without stifling pluralism and freedom? What would such an ethics look like? Most important, how should you, as a thoughtful person, find your way among the moral puzzles of the modern world and its cacophony of voices and opinions? These are just some of the engaging and perplexing questions you'll tackle as you join Professor Kane for this thought-provoking, 24-lecture examination of the problems surrounding ethics in the modern world.

    "unknown" says: "Yes, Virginia, there is an objective truth."
    Yes, Virginia, there is an objective truth.

    The title of this course could have been "The Quest for Objective Values". The professor does an excellent job in the first part of the course of surv..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 17 2014 by "unknown" (Albany, CA, United States)
  • The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Leo Damrosch
    • Narrated By Professor Leo Damrosch
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In 24 lectures that let you see the world through the eyes of the Enlightenment's greatest writers, follow the origin of new ways of thinking-ideas we today take for granted but are startlingly recent-about the individual and society. You'll discover how these notions emerged in an era of transition from a world dominated by classical thought, institutional religion, and the aristocracy to one that was increasingly secular, scientific, skeptical, and middle class.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Great Philosophical Debates: Free Will and Determinism

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Shaun Nichols
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Do you make your own choices or have circumstances beyond your control already decided your destiny? For thousands of years, this question has intrigued and perplexed philosophers, scientists, and everyone who thinks deliberately about how they choose to live and act. For if free will makes us accountable for our choices, does the opposite hold true, that determinism absolves us of responsibility?

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • The Rights of Man: Great Thinkers and Great Movements

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Paul Gordon Lauren
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." These stirring words from the Declaration of Independence are a powerful statement of the importance of human rights in Western civilization. But many of the freedoms we enjoy today were not so "self-evident" to lawmakers throughout much of our history.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Philosophy as a Guide to Living

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Stephen A. Erickson
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    We've all asked ourselves whether there is any meaning in human life. But for philosophers, this is just the first question of many: Is such a question even answerable by philosophy? And if so, can the practice of philosophy itself pursue a positive answer? Can philosophy prove life has any meaning? These 24 accessible lectures offer a thoughtful and stimulating discussion of how some of the greatest minds in the past three centuries have pondered why we are here and what journey we might be on.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Machiavelli in Context

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor William R. Cook
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Mention the name Niccolò Machiavelli and you might unleash a powerful response-even among people who have never read a word of his writing. The word "Machiavellian" conjures up images of an indistinct figure quietly making his way through the darkest corridors of power; a cold-blooded political liar; or a coolly practical leader - amoral at best - willing to do whatever is necessary in a world governed not by ideas of right or wrong, but by solutions dictated by realpolitik.

    Saud says: "Profound"
    Profound

    Don't dismiss the man because of the popular perception. This is a fundamental course for anybody remotely interested in history and/or leadership of ..Show More »

    Reviewed on May 01 2014 by Saud (United States)
  • Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor James Hall
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (16)

    Everyone has to think in order to function in the world, but what is the best way to reason effectively in your pursuit of reliable beliefs and useful knowledge? What is the best way to prove a case, create a rule, solve a problem, justify an idea, invent a hypothesis, or evaluate an argument? In short, what is the best way to think? Professor Hall helps you cut through deception and faulty reasoning in these 24 humorous, clear, and interesting lectures, offering a friendly but intellectually rigorous approach to the problem of thinking. Among the topics you'll learn about are:. Deduction: This form of reasoning reaches a conclusion based on a set of premises; if the premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows.. Induction: Less ironclad than deduction, this approach surveys the evidence and then generalizes an explanation to account for it; the conclusion may be probable, but it is not certain.. Syllogism: This simple but powerful deductive argument offers two premises and a conclusion. An example: "All Greeks are mortals. All Athenians are Greeks. Therefore, all Athenians are mortals.". Dialectic: A question-and-answer dialogue, called dialectic, is valuable for uncovering first principles.. Venn diagrams: This technique uses overlapping circles to represent different classes of objects or ideas in order to clarify a syllogism.Some of the greatest philosophers who ever lived have used these tools to separate ideas that make sense from those that don't. Now you, too, can think more clearly, making better lives for ourselves and for those to come.

    Douglas says: "Wow!"
    Wow!

    Stunned by the negative review of this wonderful lecture series. I can't imagine anyone halfway versed in metacognition having any problems following ..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 18 2013 by Douglas (Auburn, WA, United States)
  • Questions of Value

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick Grim
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    We live in a world seemingly dedicated to questions of fact and finance. What should I invest in? What school district is the house in? But the fundamental questions of our lives are actually questions of value: What makes life worth living? Are there values that transcend cultural differences? Is all value subjective?

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • The Conservative Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    A thorough understanding of Conservatism's lineage, principles, and impact on history is essential to making sense of the 21st-century political dialogue-a dialogue that consumes the television you watch, the newspapers you read, and the radio you listen to.No matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum, these 36 lectures will intrigue you, engage you, and maybe even provoke you to think about this political philosophy in an entirely new way.

    Quaker says: "Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses"
    Another gem by Prof. Allitt & The Great Courses

    The course attempts to define conservatism and then track its evolution through the ages in both the U.K. and the U.S.. One learns how the philosophie..Show More »

    Reviewed on July 12 2014 by Quaker (Philadelphia)
  • The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lawrence Cahoone
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    Without even realizing it, we all use the fruits of political philosophy. From liberty to democracy to community, the terms and concepts originated by political philosophers are ingrained in our global consciousness. Yet many of us have an incomplete picture of how these ideas developed and, quite possibly, a skewed perception of their intentions and implications. This highly relevant course sheds light on the labyrinth of Western political and social theory, as well as its influence on modern history.

    Saud says: "Enlightening"
    Enlightening

    While this course is dry compared to some other Great Courses offerings, it's still fascinating if you stick with it.

    Reviewed on October 14 2014 by Saud (United States)
  • Exploring Metaphysics

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, David K. Johnson
    • Narrated By Professor David K. Johnson
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (59)

    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.

    DaniDarko says: "Very dissapointing"
    Very dissapointing

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

    Reviewed on May 21 2014 by DaniDarko (Minnesota)