Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle : The Great Courses: Ancient Philosophy

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert C. Bartlett
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient Philosophy
  • 18 hrs and 19 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For more than two millennia, philosophers have grappled with life's most profound and "eternal" questions. It is easy to forget, however, that these questions about fundamental issues like justice, injustice, virtue, vice, or happiness were not always eternal. They once had to be asked for the first time.
This was a step that could place the inquirer beyond the boundaries of the law. And the Athenian citizen and philosopher who took that courageous step in the 5th century B.C. was Socrates.
In this intellectually vibrant - yet crystal-clear and accessible - series of 36 lectures, an award-winning teacher provides you with a detailed analysis of the golden age of Athenian philosophy and the philosophical consequences of the philosopher's famed "Socratic Turn": his veering away from philosophy's previous concerns with the scientific study of nature and the physical world and toward the scrutiny of moral opinion. After Socrates, philosophy would never be the same. You learn that much of Socrates's philosophy is captured in the writings of his contemporaries and followers, including not just Plato and Aristotle, but also figures like Xenophon, a great thinker and military commander, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. Professor Bartlett takes you through Plato's most important dialogues - where Socrates is the protagonist - and shows how they convey the core of Socrates's philosophy. He then moves on to Aristotle, who did more than anyone to establish a comprehensive system of philosophy in the West, producing work encompassing morality, politics, aesthetics, logic, science, rhetoric, theology, metaphysics, and more.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

EVERYONE should listen to this

This is great coupled with Plato's readings. I have ONLY read Plato's Republic (and it was years ago) but this audiobook reminded me of how Socrates has so thoroughly shaped the philosophy I follow. I have a great loyalty to 'justice'. It has also motivated me to look at Plato's other works and revealed to me so much more about Socrates than I expected.

I listen while I go about chores or other jobs that don't require my 100% attention (like at work while making gels, making solutions, purifying proteins, etc [I work in a lab]). I've found that it GREATLY settles my mind. After listening, I feel enthralled but so much more stable and satisfied. If you care about Justice, this is an informative and fulfilling listen.
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- DaemonZeiro

The Life Socrates, NOT The Philosophy of Socrates

What disappointed you about Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle?

This course focuses on the life of Socrates and the lives of his students and contemporaries. The story here provides a cultural and contextual background for these major Greek thinkers, but unfortunately gets caught up in the details of ancient Greek social history without giving much attention to the tenets of the philosophy. Of course, some points of Socrates' teachings are necessarily described, but I found this course wasn't at all what I was looking for, and I found it rather boring.


Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Probably not, unless I got a very good recommendation for a course that fulfills my desire to have someone deeply explain the ideas (as opposed to the history).


Did Professor Robert C. Bartlett do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes, he is an excellent orator and very skilled at weaving information into a followable storyline.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This course would be better categorized and described as "History of Philosophy." It's great if you want to understand the history of philosophy and the relationships between some of the major Greek philosophers. It's not the best if you want to learn about the intricacies of their ideas.


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- neutronsoup

Book Details

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