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Publisher's Summary

For 3,000 years, mankind has grappled with fundamental questions about life. What is real? Who or what is God? When is it legitimate for one person to have power over others? What is justice? Beauty?
This 84-lecture, 12-professor tour of Western philosophical tradition covers more than 60 of history's greatest minds and brings you a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present.
It took 3,000 years for the debate chronicled in these lectures to reach maturity.
With this series of lectures, you can encompass it by the end of next month. You'll travel chronologically through the history of the Western world, charting the intriguing development of Western philosophy and drawing fascinating connections between thinkers separated by the gulf of time and space. You'll acquaint yourself with the Greek Pre-Socratics (the world's first scientific thinkers) and examine in detail the insights of three towering figures: Socrates, his student Plato, and Plato's student, Aristotle.
You'll examine the contributions to philosophy from biblical traditions and the great minds of the Christian age. Then, you'll mark the critical schism that developed between the claims of faith and those of science and participate in the breathless discovery found during the Enlightenment, which reveled in the new freedom of human potential and scientific expansion. You'll study the provocative philosophical responses (by the Existentialists and others) to the challenges raised by the new scientific consciousness. And you'll conclude with an overview of the work of Derrida and other late 20th-century philosophers and theorists.
The full list of lecturers includes Professors Alan Charles Kors, Darren Staloff, Dennis Dalton, Douglas Kellner, Jeremy Adams, Jeremy Shearmur, Kathleen M. Higgins, Louis Markos, Mark Risjord, Phillip Cary, Robert C. Solomon, and Robert H. Kane.

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

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 02-28-15

A high-quality, college course without text or ref

What made the experience of listening to Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition the most enjoyable?

The breadth was quite strong until the later half of the eighteenth century. Up to that point, the impact of non-philosophical thought was given reasonable consideration: Copernicus and Newton for example. However, the impact and, to some degree, the writings of Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg and Hubble, to name a few, were left out as the narrative focused more narrowly on work more explicitly labeled as modern philosophy.

What did you like best about this story?

The sense of continuity. It would have been unsurprising for a lengthy series of lectures by so many distinct academics to seem disjoint. This did not. Numerous references are made to previous lectures and far more to previous topics in a remarkably consistent fashion.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

One of the speakers gave the impression of being in a rush, needing to fit as much as possible in to the available time. He was very lucid and clear, which is good because the rushing could have made his fairly dense presentation hard to follow.1 problematic professor out of 12 is an excellent ratio.

If you could give Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition a new subtitle, what would it be?

None needed.

Any additional comments?

BE AWARE!!The lack of the accompanying course notes is very unfortunate. I contacted The Great Courses and they refuse to provide the course notes to Audible customers. On the Audible site, the publisher's description ends with "Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase."

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39 of 39 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Robin on 08-25-13

Fantastic overview

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

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 philosophy 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.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The lectures on Nietzche, Rorty, Aquinas and Kierkegaard.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

They are all confident and clear in their presentation, and it seems obvious that they are all truly experts and experienced teachers.

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


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24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Chris on 05-01-17

Surprisingly good

There is something for everyone in this introduction to philosophy. I have a Masters Degree in the subject and bought this course as a refresher, overlooking some of the negative reviews from the hard-to-please crowd. That was the right choice. Here are my thoughts. The choice of philosophers was a good, including both the usual greats as a few surprises. The selection is well-balance across time (sampling each period from the pre-socratics to the present) and also across space, the different approaches to and branches of philosophy (from softer spiritual, ethical, and political questions to harder questions of analysis, knowledge, and science). This evenhandedness was quite an accomplishment in my opinion. In terms of rigour, the level is about right for this sort of course: there is plenty of substance for people with a background in philosophy yet beginners will also be able to enjoy and benefit from it. The fact that I am going to listen to it again is probably the surest sign that's it's achieved it's aim. Overall, a very solid and enriching course.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Matthew McGuire on 07-15-17

lots and lots of matrial

This is a great resource and has given me a glimpse into profoundly deep thoughts from 3 thousand years of grear western minds. Many of these were not known to me before. So much material! Just thinly spread; despite many hours of lectures.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Brendan on 04-15-17

Great series!

This series really needs a chapter outline or third party guide to label the speaker and topic of each chapter.

Beyond this small gripe, the series is great, speakers and content are excellent, as is audio quality and execution. Based on this series I shall defiantly be purchasing more content from The Great Courses

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