The Great Courses: Intellectual History
Books in series18
ORIGINAL
(4.3 based on 735 ratings)
  • The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition | The Great Courses

    The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (30 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (166)
    Story
    (162)

    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.

    Great overview with some degree of detail

    I found this to be a thought-provoking and interesting overview of many of the major philosophers and their respective reasonings and arguments. This ..Show More »

    Reviewed on September 24 2013 by W. Morgan (Tennesse)
  • The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World's Great Intellectual Traditions | The Great Courses

    The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World's Great Intellectual Traditions

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jay L. Garfield
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    What is the meaning of life?It's a question every thoughtful person has pondered at one time or another. Indeed, it may be the biggest question of all-at once profound and universal, but also deeply personal.We want to understand the world in which we live, but we also want to understand how to make our own lives as meaningful as possible; to know not only why we're living, but that we're doing it with intention, purpose, and ethical commitment.

    Thoughtful, Evenhanded, Precise, and Well Spoken

    This lecture series discusses The Bhagavad Gita, Aristotle, The Book of Job, Stoicism (including Epictetus, Seneca, Lucretius, and Marcus Aurelius), C..Show More »

    Reviewed on March 12 2014 by George (Mississippi)
  • The Wisdom of History | The Great Courses

    The Wisdom of History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Do the lessons passed down to us by history, lessons whose origins may lie hundreds, even thousands of years in the past, still have value for us today? Is Santayana's oft-repeated saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," merely a way to offer lip service to history as a teacher-or can we indeed learn from it? And if we can, what is it that we should be learning?

    Very engaging history of the 20th Century

    Educational, valuable, enlightening

    Reviewed on March 01 2014 by Cary (Concord, CA, United States)
  • Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition | The Great Courses

    Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (43 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Alan Charles Kors, Professor Darren Staloff, Professor Dennis Dalton, and others
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (95)

    For 3,000 years, mankind has grappled with fundamental questions about life. What is real? Who or what is God? When is it legitimate for one person to have power over others? What is justice? Beauty? This 84-lecture, 12-professor tour of Western philosophical tradition covers more than 60 of history's greatest minds and brings you a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present.

    Fantastic overview

    I have recommended it to my friends, because this is, as far as I know, the best and most simultaneously accessible and comprehensive overview of phil..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 25 2013 by James (ROCHESTER, NY, United States)
  • A History of Freedom | The Great Courses

    A History of Freedom

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Rufus J. Fears
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    It can be argued that one simple idea-the concept of freedom-has been the driving force of Western civilization and may be the most influential intellectual force the world has ever known. But what is freedom, exactly? These 36 engaging lectures tell the dramatic story of freedom from ancient Greece to our own day, exploring a concept so close to us we may never have considered it with the thoroughness it deserves.

    An Understanding Few Possess

    Herein describes the nature and portent of freedom; and why the fabric of freedom -- the power behind proactive reality -- is so tangled by two primar..Show More »

    Reviewed on May 27 2014 by rob_hay ()
  • The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living | The Great Courses

    The Soul and the City: Art, Literature, and Urban Living

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Arnold Weinstein
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    These eight lectures are a celebration of humanity and the rich texture of human experience. They are a fascinating focus on the complex artistic representations of city life from the 18th to the 20th century. Join Professor Weinstein as he reveals the portraits of humanity that came from several of the period's greatest artists, writers, and thinkers.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Life Lessons from the Great Myths | The Great Courses

    Life Lessons from the Great Myths

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (34)

    Change the way you think about some of the greatest stories ever told with this examination of the most important myths from more than 3,000 years of history. The ways in which the human imagination can transform historical events, people, and themes into powerful myths that endure through the ages is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

    Lots of lecturing, not much teaching

    I listened to this as a part of the Crash Courses Mythology thing. At first I thought it would be a nice summarization of the things I learned from t..Show More »

    Reviewed on November 27 2013 by Angela (United States)
  • European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century | The Great Courses

    European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lloyd Kramer
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    In the 19th century, Europe was the crucible for most of the ideas, institutions, and "isms" that now shape the life of our entire planet-nationalism, capitalism, democracy, socialism, feminism, and the list goes on and on. But where did these ideas come from? Over the course of 24 sweeping lectures, Professor Kramer invites you to view intellectual history as a series of overlapping, interconnected dialogues....

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • European Thought and Culture in the 20th Century | The Great Courses

    European Thought and Culture in the 20th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Lloyd Kramer
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    As a sequel to European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century, Professor Kramer tackles the major intellectual themes and debates that decisively shaped 20th-century European culture. These 24 lectures cover an amazingly wide range of thinkers and writers, the key historical circumstances and challenges they faced, and the fascinating and subtle ways in which their works relate to one another and to the larger story of modern European culture.

    Better than any course I had in college

    The topic is marvelous and the lecturer superb. All that stuff you wish you'd paid more attention to when you were younger: key writers like James Joy..Show More »

    Reviewed on June 01 2014 by David Edelberg (Chicago, IL USA)
  • Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life | The Great Courses

    Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Francis J. Ambrosio
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    What is the meaning of life? Is human existence meaningful or absurd? If you've ever pondered these questions, you have an extraordinary adventure in store, as an award-winning teacher presents a boldly revealing inquiry into these most fundamental of human concerns. In this inspiring series of 36 lectures, Professor Ambrosio charts how these questions have been pursued and grasped through the ages, providing you with the understanding and the tools to come to terms with them in a direct, practical way.

    Simple ideas made complex

    Each chapter requires some serious work to become easier and more pleasant to listen to. This feels more like one of those old books in which you cons..Show More »

    Reviewed on November 21 2013 by Curdy (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition | The Great Courses

    Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant Hardy
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (107)

    Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to get only half the story. The Eastern intellectual tradition has made just as important a contribution-and is also the product of thousands of years of cumulative thought by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Their ideas demonstrate wholly different ways of approaching and solving the same fundamental issues that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as . the existence of God; . the meaning of life; and. the nature of truth and reality.This epic and comprehensive 36-lecture examination of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers-from a much-honored teacher and scholar-offers a thought-provoking look at the surprising connections and differences between East and West. By introducing you to the people-including The Buddha, Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Confucius, and Gandhi-responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, it will strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.

    Great Lectures among the best of the Great Courses

    Listening to a professor acknowledged for his ability to teach and who has obvious passion for the subject and a large coverage without losing his aud..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 16 2013 by Michael (Livermore, CA, United States)
  • Jewish Intellectual History: 16th to 20th Century | The Great Courses

    Jewish Intellectual History: 16th to 20th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David B. Ruderman
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Over the last four centuries, a small group of thinkers attempted to answer a series of remarkably challenging questions: In a world having a history of untold suffering-especially, it seemed, for Jews-was the existence of an all-powerful and comforting God still tenable? What were the purpose and meaning of Jewish practices and customs? Could Jews still justify the notion of a chosen people in a social climate in which Jewish integration and full participation with the rest of humanity had become the norm?

    A Gem! Best treatment of material I've ever read.

    Insightful, deep, engagingly delivered.

    Reviewed on December 29 2013 by Yury (Brooklyn, NY, United States)
  • Between Cross and Crescent: Jewish Civilization from Mohammed to Spinoza | The Great Courses

    Between Cross and Crescent: Jewish Civilization from Mohammed to Spinoza

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David B. Ruderman
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Experience the evolution of all of Jewish life during the 10 critical centuries from its rabbinic foundations in late antiquity until the dawn of modernity in the 17th century. During this time, Judaism was forever affected by its encounters with the surrounding social, economic, political, and intellectual environments of both medieval Islam and Christendom. As a result of those encounters, new pathways of philosophical inquiry and religious spirituality would be formed. The Hebrew language would find new ways of artistic expression. And the role of Jews in the life of the surrounding community would be changed forever.

    Fascinating and Comprehensible

    This is an area of history which I personally knew little about and had a hard time finding ways to learn about it.

    The audiobook is a gold ..Show More »

    Reviewed on December 03 2014 by Andy (Westport, CT, United States)
  • Cycles of American Political Thought | The Great Courses

    Cycles of American Political Thought

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Joseph F. Kobylka
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    American history is often presented as a tale of dynamic movers and shakers who subdued an untamed wilderness on the way to forging a great nation-all the while leaving philosophy for their European counterparts.But this history neglects the philosophical underpinnings of America. As these 36 lectures demonstrate, America has borne the imprint of influential thinkers from its earliest days, from the Reformation theology of John Calvin to the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke.

    Waste of time
    Reviewed on December 02 2014 by john maloney (jupiter, florida United States)
  • American Ideals: Founding a 'Republic of Virtue' | The Great Courses

    American Ideals: Founding a 'Republic of Virtue'

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    An insightful 12-lecture course that explores the principles that guided the founding of the United States, the conditions that led to the break with Great Britain, and the creation of such founding documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.You'll deepen your understanding of fundamental ideas that inspired American independence and that continue to have a profound influence on American thought. You'll also receive insight into what historians call "the long conversation" in American society.

    Weak analysis

    This course was just a meandering series of quotes from the forefathers followed by vacuous reverence. It felt like the professor just threw something..Show More »

    Reviewed on December 02 2014 by Jake (Port Hueneme, California, United States)
  • Tocqueville and the American Experiment | The Great Courses

    Tocqueville and the American Experiment

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor William R. Cook
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Participate in a spirited exploration of Alexis de Tocqueville and his unique observations of this young nation that resulted in the two volumes of Democracy in America. How is it possible that perhaps the greatest book about U.S. democracy ever written was penned by a Frenchman visiting this country 175 years ago? Why is it still relevant in today's ever-changing political landscape?

    Great introduction to Tocqueville

    The author took up Tocqueville prior to running for office a few years prior. If what you are looking for is an understanding of Tocqueville's visit,..Show More »

    Reviewed on November 14 2013 by Lance (Maryland, United States)
  • The American Mind | The Great Courses

    The American Mind

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    In this course, you will delve deeply into the philosophical underpinnings of the nation, forged by the Puritans and the leaders of the American Revolution. You will also explore many other aspects of the elaborate structure that became modern America, tracing ideas in politics, religion, education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, literature, social theory, and science - proving that Americans have a much richer intellectual tradition than generally imagined.

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

  • Great Minds of the Medieval World | The Great Courses

    Great Minds of the Medieval World

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dorsey Armstrong
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (24)

    In this gallery of extraordinary minds, you’ll encounter the leading lights of a world-shaping era, including figures such as Maimonides, Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Abelard, and Francesco Petrarch. Professor Armstrong goes to great lengths to bring these historic figures to life, revealing both the great intellectual contributions and the personal strivings, challenges, and triumphs of some of history’s most remarkable human beings.

    Prof Armstrong at her best!!!

    Oh what a great lecture series! It was more than I expected. I was left wishing these lectures were longer and wishing for more info on many of the gr..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 13 2014 by Benoibe (New Orleans, LA, United States)