The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition : The Great Courses: Intellectual History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Daniel N. Robinson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Intellectual History
  • 30 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.
Professor Robinson guides you through more than 2,000 years of philosophical thinking and gives you a coherent, comprehensive, and beautifully articulated introduction to the great conversation of philosophy. Every lecture contains substance that can change your view of the world and its history.
You'll journey from the early philosophical ideas of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; chart the origins of Christian philosophy and investigate the Islamic scholars who preserved and extended Greek thought during the Middle Ages; and venture through Enlightenment contributions to philosophy, from Francis Bacon to Locke, Hume, Kant, Mill, and Adam Smith.
Then shift your attention to the modern era, where you see groundbreaking ideas like psychoanalysis, pragmatism, and nihilism, as well as the collision between the inherently social understanding of meaning created by Wittgenstein, the vastly different estimation of human thought developed by the code-breaking genius Alan Turing, and the subtle response to him made by the American philosopher John Searle.
While the lectures cover an enormous range of key thinkers and ideas, they always focus on the most important ideas. The result is a course that gives you everything you need to finally grasp humanity's exciting philosophical history - without years of intense academic study and piles of dense reading.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Well presented introduction to philosophy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The book covers philosophy from the start of civilisation to modern times - with some thematic discussions at the end. It is largely focused on western ideas, although there were passing references to eastern thought, particularly early on. So a really good overall introduction, best supplemented with supporting reading. It tackles some difficult concepts and does, at times, require work from the listener (ie. full concentration and time to digest ideas): I repeated some parts 2 or 3 times to get the full meaning. Overall very stimulating and largely enjoyable.


What about Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance did you like?

The American lecturer had a pleasant and warm tone, clearly and naturally spoken, with a few endearing tics such as saying "do you see?" at the end of some particularly complex example or explanation - or to emphasise a point. As the lectures developed it was interesting to build a picture of his personal perspectives - on some challenging issues, which is not to say that arguments were not presented in the round.


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

These lectures were stimulating and had the impact of returning me to other books to further develop my understanding.


Any additional comments?

There was a lot crammed in - most of the major figures of philosophy are touched on. Also a focus on some ideas not normally treated as "philosophical" eg. USA constitution and Freud. An excellent initial overview.

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- Andrew

What a great idea!

Fabulous romp through history and it's formative ideas. The reader is interesting to listen to, has a great grasp of the subject and witty to boot.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses