Summary

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.
Drawing from the realms of psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and philosophy, the first half of the course examines the defining traits of being human. You'll explore the connection between brains and minds, as well as the nature of the self, time, and human free will.
The second half of the course shifts from the nature of the individual to the nature of the universe. Here metaphysics, science, and theology all intersect as you consider the existence of God, the science behind relativity, and the bizarre-even spooky-world of quantum mechanics.
Although the subject has ancient roots, the metaphysics you study in this course is far from an esoteric system of thought. Indeed, this material is very much alive today-at the forefront of philosophy, physics, and medical technology. When you complete this course, you will have a much richer perspective on the world around you. Virtually every lecture will challenge some of your bedrock beliefs about yourself and the universe.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2013 The Great Courses (P)2013 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Felix on 28-06-14

Good

What did you like about this audiobook?

Covers the landscape of metaphysics well, perfectly fine as an introduction to the subject. I liked the readers style found him to be humorous and a good communicator of the concepts. ( some reviewers didn't like his voice - to fussy in my opinion, didn't bother me one iota) Enjoyed it and if you are interested in learning about the ultimate nature of reality this is a good place to start.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

yes

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mrs. Lynne Jarman on 25-09-16

Have patience

Where does Exploring Metaphysics rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Good but like others I found Johnson's voice a tad irriating

Who was your favorite character and why?

NA

What didn’t you like about Professor David K. Johnson’s performance?

Irritating manner.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

NA

Any additional comments?

One thing that helped was slow the speed down to 90. Also listen to an chapter and then read the course material.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Grant on 21-09-14

Examine your existence in an incredible journey!

What made the experience of listening to Exploring Metaphysics the most enjoyable?

I found the delivery delightful. The narrator had great infection and the passion of the topic was clearly there and translated well into the audiobook. I have always enjoyed lecture classes from highschool to college. The particular lecture keep my interest and had somewhat of a coversational tone. I caught myself answering allowed as if the narrator and I were having a discussion over lunch or dinner.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have loved to have listened to this book in one sitting however the subject matter lends itself to small doses, say two to three a day. I found after listening to a few I needed to take a step back and digest the information over a day or two. Integrate it into my knowledge base, do a few google searches, and make connections with my database of learned material. I encourage others to do the same. I found in practicing small chunk assimilation the course proved more valuable and facilitated an enjoyable journey of interrelated learning and synthesis of a new understanding of metaphysics in the scope of ones passions and talents.

Any additional comments?

I had taken a few upper level philosophy courses during my undergraduate studies, and found them a challenge that did not provide the enjoyment I thought I would experience, and frankly I was skeptical when I purchased this title. Now having completed the course, my thirst for more by this professor and metaphysical study has been ignited. The information was presented extremely well in a thoughtfully crafted journey that built on itself to provide a comprehensive view of the discipline of metaphysics. By no means do I think it is a complete opus, and I did not purchase it with that idea in mind. I can say it was a phenomenal starting point. Informative, enjoyable, thought provoking, and complete enough to explain its points while beckoning the reader to search out extra information to enrich the experience. A+ course.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gary on 17-07-15

Quantum physics is weird this lecture is not

This was an extraordinarily good lecture series. The science that explains the best way of thinking about the problem was always at the center of the lecture. I had not realize that most of my readings about science and philosophy had met at the intersection of metaphysics so nicely until I listened to this series. I will end up getting a book on metaphysics because I can't find any more on this topic at audible. For me, I hate reading and it's a real compliment to this lecturer because I'm even willing to read a book on the topic because of this lecture. I wish the author had more lectures or even a book out there but I can't seem to find any at Amazon.

There wasn't a single topic that he talked about that I didn't find exciting. He starts off by talking about the mind body dichotomy and what this means for the soul. He doesn't mince words. The soul comes about mostly from just silly propositions (and is not fundamental to Christianity until after 300 A.D.), but he says repeatedly in the series just because it is a silly argument doesn't necessarily mean the proposition is faulty. He doesn't miss a single argument on what consciousness is and gives all reasonable hypotheses their due.

He looks at all the classic proofs for the existence of God (ontological, design, morality, first cause) and pretty much shows why they are silly. Now days, instead of 'by design', because Darwin has completely eviscerated those arguments, they talk about 'fine tuning' instead. The fine tuning arguments are the hardest to refute because they are the hardest to explain without understanding a bunch of physics. He does a fairly nice job.

After looking at the mind he delves into the nature of the physical reality. Why Einstein is so important for our understanding about space and time and what does free will really mean and is time fundamental or an emergent property? Einstein takes time out of the universe (with his block universe) and space has no substance (unlike Newton and his bucket of water) and all is relational.

The best way to look at this lecture series is not as a pointless set of discussions about esoteric matters on reality, but as a summary of the best thoughts on how multiple experts understand the world. He really got into quantum physics and discusses why it is so weird (measurement problem, entanglement, double split experiment, ...), and he gives the best summary on Bell's experiment I've heard and tells why there are no hidden variables explaining 'spooky action as a distance' and what entanglement is.

Make no mistake about it. There is some references to long ago dead philosopher's, but this lecture is at the cutting edge of science and it would be a rare listener who would not learn some science that they did not already know from this lecture.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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