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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The great ideas of philosophy: Christian edition.

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Daniel N. Robinson?

Absolutely not. It started out in Greece and Rome not bad... but then Christianity came along and it became extremely biased and devoted to promoting the author's faith and its supposed genius.

What three words best describe Professor Daniel N. Robinson’s performance?

Passionate. Biased. Christian.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was very disappointed. He's intelligent and he has promise, but he sees the world through a "Christianity is perfect" lens which just does not make sense for a supposed critical-thinking piece of work.

Any additional comments?

Don't bother unless you're already very devoted to being Christian.

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- Ian

A Rather "Spatial" Take on Philosophy

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

There is no doubt that Robinson is extremely learned. He's also a little self-impressed. His style can sometimes catapult you into the stars, or drive you nuts, depending on how well you're paying attention. Now, if your looking for a linear take on the history of philosophy, where the lecturer lays everything out according to a strict chronology and a "cause and effect" approach, you would probably do better with another overview. Yet if you're interested in being pulled through 2,500 years of thought according to an extremely erudite professor, who has, mind you, some eccentricity thrown in for good measure, than you will appreciate this approach. In other words, Robinson likes to go for the big ideas. And he likes to spend a lot of time building up to those big ideas. If you're patient and can follow his near-prose style of speaking, it does pay off. And, to his credit, he's working very hard to set things up so you can have your own epiphany with the ideas, which is what great philosophy professors should do. But then again, sometimes you just want the facts, and you want them laid out clearly and concisely. I sometimes found myself thinking "this is amazing," and other times, I found myself thinking, "ok, yeah, yeah, yeah, think I'll forward to the next lecture now." In all he gave me some great insight, some "great ideas," but I did feel it was a lot of work sometimes, and a lot of highs and lows.

What did you like best about this story?

Robinson is smart as hell and passionate, and this comes across in many of the lectures. He seems to do a little bit better with modern philosophy, starting with Bacon.

You're best off finishing a lecture if you happen to start it.

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- Brian

Book Details

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