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 »isn't a scant overview where you get a handful of minutes on profound thinkers, you get a little bit more than - usually at least one full lecture and often more when the philosopher or philosophy is refered back to in later lectures.
The Professor clearly has mastery over his course and it's a pleasure to have had he opportunity to sit in on his classes while in my car, or on my lawn mower.... or layed out on the couch/floor.
I definitely recommend this as a great starting point and believe it will push you to consider or read/listen to more writings/lectures on the subject or, at least, on a particular philosophy or philosopher.
4/5 stars represents something I'd possibly listen to again - and I very well may - probbaly selectively based upon interest in a particular lecture or two. Trying to get away from LOVING everything I hear - but I'm frequently failing. This one slips to just shy of 5 because it didn't have me so 'eager' to continue listening at every breath of my day.
This lecture series discusses The Bhagavad Gita, Aristotle, The Book of Job, Stoicism (including Epictetus, Seneca, Lucretius, and Marcus Aurelius), C..Show More »onfucius, The Dao De Jing (including Zhuangzi), Buddhist teachings (including Santideva and Zen), Hume, Kant, Mill, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Gandhi, Lame Deer, and the Dalai Lama. He concentrates on bringing out what each subject has to say particularly on the meaning of life, and he always reminds the listener of themes that we have heard in previous lectures and how they compare to the current lecture. He took every perspective seriously, and during each lecture I felt he was making a great case for each viewpoint. He respects Nietzsche and Gandhi equally. He is calm yet engaging speaker. One revelation I had was the difference in how the ancient world generally understands the meaning of life as opposed to the modern world. I got a lot out of listening, and may listen again after a few months. If I were to guess, I would guess he gives slightly more time to compassion/nature of self, but he gives almost equal time to other topics such as the aesthetic/creative and knowledge/progress ideas of the good life.
If history is a lie we choose to believe, than these lectures deliver it in a palatable form. I think of this as a counter balance to Zinn revisionist..Show More » history. It gives clear, almost simplistic "lessons" we learn from all of history. Dr Fears always gives a performance that, to me, even rivals Dan Carlin.
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 »osophy that is available in the audio-book format. Furthermore, the fact that such a variety of scholars present the material is helpful: everyone seems to be an expert on the thing that they're talking about, and almost every one of the lectures is informative and interesting.
I suggest first listening to Famous Romans and Famous Greeks as a foundation for this wonderful course, although it would be beneficial even without t..Show More »hem.
I love Prof. Fears. His good-humored, unique style of storytelling combined with his vast knowledge and wise insights keep me coming back for more. This course was certainly thought-provoking; don't expect it to be an affirmation of everything you already think. And be aware that you'll be left with a sense of responsibility for the future of freedom.
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 »he other courses. However, it derails so completely from Classic Myth and World Myths that I am uncertain where Professor Fears gets his information from.
At first Professor Fears speaks at length about the Iliad and its status as a Great Book and the higher knowledge we receive from reading it. For instance, he claims that one of its major lessons is how terrible hubris is - thinking you know better than you actually do, and acting accordingly. He also says that the Iliad contains a "historical kernal of truth" - this will be an ongoing pattern.
Later he goes in some detail about a few other myths like Gilgamesh, but about halfway through the series he stops talking about ancient myths and begins talking about actual historical figures like Alexander the Great and Napoleon. The link between mythological truths and historical facts weakens until the professor is simply lecturing about the history of the United States without mentioning any mythology or stories at all.
One thing in particular that bothered me was that he makes a point of putting his personal views into the lectures which have very little bearing on the overall lesson. For instance, he claims that American culture will never die (in the form of rock and roll and McDonalds), and refers to any mention of Christianity as "right" and any mention of previous religions as "what they believed". I felt this glorification of his personal beliefs got in the way of the actual lessons, and made it more difficult to see what he was actually trying to teach.
Overall, I do not recommend this series if you are looking for a good introduction into mythology.
While the lecturer is deadpan and, I felt, a bit of a drone, this is an extremely exciting series of lectures that has already been useful to me as an..Show More » undergraduate professor if literature, culture, and intellectual history in the 20th-century. A truly BRILLIANT review, especially of continental, in particular of French, thought since the laye 19th-century. While I did fight at times to remain awake in spite of this lecturer's steady, dispassionate, monotone intonation patterns, he's spot on and I take my hat off to him. I'm also astonished at and damned jealous at the applause he receives at the beginning and end of each lecture. ; )
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 »tantly need to jump back several pages to understand the point being made.
Dr Hardy has a complete mastery of the material. It sounds like he is recalling from memory and it comes across as very conversational. He brings to..Show More » light the genius of the philosophical thought from India and China and then includes Japan and Korea. The history of the East is enlightening
Prof. Kobylka presents the information in these lectures clearly, and without any apparent editorial bias. On the few occasions he editorializes, he m..Show More »akes it quite clear that is what he is doing. On the whole, he presents a remarkably balanced view of political thought in the US.
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 » impressions of America and their relation to democracy as understood by the author and Tocqueville, the author does an admirable job.
It is only natural to ask questions about the Tocqueville visit in relation to the founding or in relation to today's society, but the author is focused solely on Tocqueville's firsthand account of his experiences in America. For the author to have veered off into these tangents, would have detracted from the focus, clarity of the book. Tocqueville spent almost a year in America and seems to have been an exceptionally insightful young man. This book will certainly challenge and inform your views of the Republic, democracy, and America in the early 1800s. Highly recommended.
This is a long book (24 courses) and that is perhaps the only criticism I had of the course. Much of what Tocqueville wrote is of interest to today and/or in context of the founding, but almost all readers will find their interest during the course to wax and wane. For me there were only a few topics where I just didn't have much of interest. Women in America, the sciences and education in America. Its not that the points weren't of interest but I feel as if the 1830 ish view and today's view are not an interesting juxtaposition, which is a big reason why I read courses / books like this.
Book is highly recommended for anyone looking to understand Tocqueville's visit and its relation to democracy. This is a cornerstone course. It won't answer any of your burning questions but it will certainly lay a strong foundation for understanding the roots of democracy in America. With democracies failing all over the world I think a course like this should be required reading for old and young alike as we are almost certain to live to see whats old come new again.
As a former new left enthusiast turned neo-conservative by way of Christian conversion, and as a former student of Dr Guelzo, I give this series of le..Show More »ctures a hearty Amen. Though I lack adequate historical knowledge that would give me a legitimate basis for passing judgment on the accuracy of the material presented, the past with which I am somewhat intimately familiar is clearly dead-on.. I appreciate Dr Guelzo's interesting teaching style and his deep and abiding commitment to scholarly research,. I love his love for all the interesting streams of American thought and experience. I can hardly wait to start another of Dr Guelzo's lecture series! Glenn Snyder
I liked learning about many influential thinkers that I had never heard of before. Many of their ideas were encapsulated or recapitulated by later thi..Show More »nkers, so there were no flashes of insight. Nevertheless, hearing who first engaged some of society's thorniest problems provided a very interesting read.
The professor has a thorough understanding and genuine affection for her subject and it makes the lectures very easy to listen to.
Because there was no separation of church and state the figures are heavily involved with the Catholic Church. There's no escaping that in a book like this, but if you are not interested in the medieval church you may not want to invest your time here.