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Publisher's Summary

Conventional wisdom suggests there is a sharp distinction between emotion and reason. Emotions are seen as inferior, disruptive, primitive, and even bestial forces. These 24 remarkable lectures suggest otherwise-that emotions have intelligence and provide personal strategies that are vitally important to our everyday lives of perceiving, evaluating, appraising, understanding, and acting in the world.

Take a tour of Professor Solomon's more than three-decade-long intellectual struggle to reach an understanding of emotions, which he argues are, "the key to the meaning of life." A distinguished philosopher himself, Professor Solomon's lectures unfold as a rich dialogue with other philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Adam Smith, Nietzsche, William James, Freud, Heidegger, and Sartre.

In your exploration, you'll address such questions as: how do we distinguish emotions from feelings, such as heartache? What is the meaning of our emotions, and how do they serve to enrich and guide our lives? Are there a determinable number of basic emotions that serve as building blocks for the range of emotions we experience? Is an emotion such as jealousy a genetic trait shared by all humans - or is it something learned? As you listen to these lectures, prepare to think: Think about your own emotions; think about what you observe in others; think about the enormous body of research and conjecture on this fascinating topic as Professor Solomon takes you on a challenging and stimulating journey. The more we puzzle over the nature of emotions, the deeper the mystery becomes. It is a mystery that is by no means solved, but one that repays in careful, philosophical analysis.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Meditation on emotions - Slow to start but worth the experience

This course is broken into three main section. The first seems to be long and somewhat tedious- however it is a good setup for the other two sections. Overall a good meditation on the topic of emotions.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Interesting... in parts

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The presenter does have some interesting insights to contribute, but the lectures are uneven. He appears to be largely unaided by written text, and it shows. Space-fillers, such as "sort of" and "kind of" abound, creating the impression of lacking precision and ad-libbing. The ideas are often not well-supported to empirical research, and even attempts are made to adopt a social constructionist approach (although the latter happens without much conviction). The author's criticism of evolutionary psychology is weak, and no mention is made of Margaret Mead's groundless attempt to prove that jealousy is an entirely socially-constructed emotion. There may be intimations of racism although this never crystallizes to a significant extent. Still, the lectures are worthwhile to a certain extent.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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The impeccable Robert Solomon

I've been a fan of Robert C. Solomon's work for a long time, he was first introduced to me in Richard Linkletter's film Waking Life, where the director actually crashed one of the professor's classes and filmed it and then later interviewed him in the same movie. I also had the privilege of reading his textbook introducing philosophy for my philosophy 101 while I was an undergrad. This collection of lectures on human emotions and the philosophical views with neuroscience were very enlightening and Robert has a way of delivering his lectures in an entertaining way as a storyteller.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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How does this have high ratings?!?

What disappointed you about The Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions?

This is quite possibly the most boring thing I have ever read/listened to.

Any additional comments?

I have a few dozen books from the Great Courses. The idiotic canned applause and the cringe worthy introductory music aside, I have found some good courses. This, alas, is not one of them. If you enjoy being spoken to like a third grader in a special class, maybe you will enjoy this. I swear I could summarize each 30 minute section in three sentences or less. I love this topic, but this was terrible.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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6-stars lecture

After listening to two other Great Courses by Robert C. Solomon, I had to get this, and I was not disappointed.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mitchell
  • Lehi, Utah, United States
  • 09-02-17

A series of non-evidenced assertions

After listening for an hour and a half, the professor has yet to try to cite any kind of evidence of his main thesis. Some of what he asserts seems trivially true, but some really does cry out for scientific validation. However, the author instead cites counter-examples, then rationalizes them away. It feels like one logical fallacy after another, topped by No-True-Scottsman. That is, only emotions that fit into his framework are "real" emotions.

Less assertion and explanation and more evidence please.

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The best. Listen now.

Amazing
Awesome
Best great courses audiobook yet
So insightful
If you thought the description was intriguing then order and listen right away

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Breaks new ground

Emotions don't just happen to us, they're something we do. To learn to perceive them more clearly, and to tune them more precisely, is to learn key strategies for personal power, for human connection, for integrity, for happiness, and fulfillment. This course has more juicy and necessary and surprising insights per minute than anything else you are likely to hear, ever. Solomon is a true exemplar of an enquiring mind; to hit "play" on any of his courses is to be instantly engaged at the highest intellectual level -- but most especially with this one, which reprises his own VERY original work.

  • Overall

Very insightful

This lecture series helped me come to a better understanding of the human emotional experience.

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A little meandering, but great for psych fans

Any additional comments?

I think this was a really solid course. The lectures are a little less structured than some other courses, and the lecturer can take some time to reach his conclusions, but I enjoy the more conversational tone. The topics may seem simple, but I really think that's because the presenter has a great mastery of his subject. <br/><br/>Anyone who's looked into psychology with more than a passing interest knows it's incredibly complex. I didn't always agree with his conclusions, but he gave the background of the subject and why he formed his arguments they way he did. <br/> <br/>As others have mentioned, the musical intros and canned applause that great courses uses for each lecture are a little silly, but it's a minor annoyance. Easily one of my favorite great courses lectures, including at least 4 others I've listened to on psychology.

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  • ShaneG
  • 02-27-17

Fantastic

Absolutely brilliant set of lectures, very interesting questions posed and a lot of arguments given to explain and defend his stance

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 10-31-17

deeply philosophical, and very interesting.

longer than I expected, but a great perspective on emotions. a philosophical approach to discussing. possibly a great companion to 'self comes to mind's by Antonio dimassio

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  • Paola
  • 09-24-17

fascinating

Wonderful audiobook. Continuously challenging commonly held opinions with new, interesting thoughts. Not on abstract theories, but concerned with concepts and ieas that impact on daily life. Perfectly clear to a novice to the field. A warm, humble, friendly voice - arguing his way along with down-to-earth examples - too sad he is no longer alive.

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  • LC
  • 09-17-17

A load of waffle

Just a load of naive waffle and stories, mostly made up, with no evidence or logical evaluation of the ideas being proposed. Instead they are generally stated as established because "I have just told a nice story that seemingly supports it, therefore it is proven"

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  • Holly Parker
  • 06-06-17

Riveting listening

Absolutely loved listening to this series if lectures, from an academic perspective they are engaging and accessible to the listener, outlining the complex nature of several emotions while tracking the temporal development of critical thinking through Aristotle, Kant, Hume and beyond.