Practical Philosophy: The Greco-Roman Moralists : The Great Courses: Ancient Philosophy

  • by The Great Courses, Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Narrated by Professor Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient Philosophy
  • 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

It's easy to forget that philosophy means "love of wisdom," not "love of thinking." In addition to philosophy that tells you how to think well, the field also provides guidance on how to live well - solid advice on how to be a good father or friend, or how to grow old gracefully, or to know what true happiness is.
Greek and Roman thinkers such as Marcus Tullius Cicero, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Dio Chrysostom, and Plutarch of Chaeronea devoted their lives not to metaphysics and epistemology but to the appreciation and practice of morality and virtue, values, and character. They give us - in plain, straightforward language - rules designed to help us progress as people.
These 24 inspiring lectures introduce you to the sages who, as a group, represent the "missing page" of the history of philosophy. Although their names are sometimes familiar to us, as in the case of Cicero and Plutarch, their philosophy is not. Studying these thinkers offers some surprising ways to think about philosophy.
For example, they believed the heart of philosophy is the question of how to live well as a human being. It is how you act, not what you think, that is most important. Virtue and morality are the keys to living a good life. And philosophers should practice what they preach (although, as you'll discover, the Greco-Roman moral philosophers certainly had flaws).
From Cicero's deep sense of civic duty to Marcus Aurelius's pursuit of wisdom and dedication to the common good, this course offers ample opportunity to hear, in their own words, the philosophers' prescriptions for healthier living.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Philosophy As Self-Improvement

It's refreshing to hear of Philosophy As Seeking Wisdom as opposed to Philosophy As Endless Semantic Quibbling. Johnson's lectures outline the moral thinking of several important philosophers while putting them in the context of their time and place. His reading is excellent.

The only complaint I have is that most of the individuals covered are Stoics. I would've liked to hear Johnson spend a lecture or two on Epicurus, or perhaps a famous Cynic like Diogenes.
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- Joshua

Wonderful introduction to practical philosophy

If you could sum up Practical Philosophy: The Greco-Roman Moralists in three words, what would they be?

Character, Practice, Habits


What does Professor Luke Timothy Johnson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Very passionate reader, really enjoyed his style.


Any additional comments?

I would have loved this course to be twice as long as it was. The content is a great mix between historical context, philosophical ideas and practical tips. I found the book to be both inspiring and challenging. Although I was already familiar with the topic, I learned a lot. Highly recommended.

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- Curdy "Say something about yourself!"

Book Details

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