The contemporary issues you'll consider include conflicts between public and private morality, the degree to which the law should enforce morality, the teaching of values in the schools, the role of religion in public life, the limits of liberty and privacy, individualism versus community, and the loss of shared values and the resulting discontent about politics and public discourse. Professor Kane's approach is as searching and comprehensive as any you could ask for. His lectures range over a rich array of literary, religious, and philosophical sources representing thousands of years of civilization. Most intriguingly, they spur you to ponder the possibility of recovering the ancient quest for wisdom and virtue in a way that respects the insights of modern thought and the achievements of modern pluralism. Whatever your thinking on such questions, whatever your own personal question for true meaning, you can rest assured that it will be immeasurably enriched by the harvest of reflection you glean from these compelling lectures.
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 ReviewsMost Helpful
By Simon on 17-08-15
Crystallised my vague thinking
I found this course challenging and rewarding. It's far from the first philosophy that I've read, so what I needed was a framework from which to hang it. This course was brilliant for contextualising some existing knowledge and creating new lines of thought.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By "unknown" on 17-07-14
Yes, Virginia, there is an objective truth.
The title of this course could have been "The Quest for Objective Values". The professor does an excellent job in the first part of the course of surveying the great philosophers and their positions on relative vs objective values and morals. To each great thinker's position, he offers the opposing view of another great thinker, effectively presenting relativism vs objectivism as an engaging debate that spans all of history.
He then spends the rest of the course defining his own position, which is that yes, there is an objective truth, and that humanity is on the cusp of discovering it. Or at least of discovering how to perceive it, which, in his view, seems to have something to do with recognizing that "aspirational" goals are just as real as achievable goals.
This latter part of the course seems outdated; it is set in a time when we (Americans) had more faith in government, less faith in torture, and more openness to working across party lines and religious divides than we do now. Some of the examples and thought experiments fall flat, given the changes in our culture that have come about since then. I would love to hear an updated version of the same material from the same professor. (His lecturing style, by the way, was excellent.)
The most memorable topic in the lectures, to me, was Plato's view of democracy. If Plato could see us now he would be entirely vindicated.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
By Brett on 07-05-15
Times They are a Changing
We live in a time where cultures clash. It is no longer suitable to adopt a universal value system and suggest that everyone should follow this. If we try, which system do we choose? This dilemma has led to relativism, which suggests that every ethical/value system is as good as the next. However, this undermines what we know about the world. This course tackles relativism and provides a lot of insight and wisdom.
Lectures in Part 1 (the first 12 lectures) were a little slow for me because they tended to review different philosophical theories from history. I found this section remote and sometimes boring. Lectures in Part 2, however, were much more lively. They focused on what do we do once we know why were are in this situation, i.e., what is our modern approach to pluralism and relativism. I found Part 2 much more practical, thought provoking, and interesting.
The teacher is great and adds a lot of color to the lectures. My only gripe is that he goes from very loud to very soft. On headphones it was a pain to find the right volume setting.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful