An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Great Courses #4477)

David Roochnik

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An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Great Courses #4477)

An Introduction to Greek Philosophy Great Courses lectures minutes per lectureThe first philosophers in Western history the ancient Greeks asked the most fundamental questions about human beings and their relationship to the world More than

  • Title: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Great Courses #4477)
  • Author: David Roochnik
  • ISBN: 9781565853522
  • Page: 399
  • Format: Audio CD
  • 24 lectures 30 minutes per lectureThe first philosophers in Western history the ancient Greeks asked the most fundamental questions about human beings and their relationship to the world More than 2,500 years later, the issues they pondered continue to challenge, fascinate, and instruct us Is reality stable and permanent or is it always changing Are ethical values lik24 lectures 30 minutes per lectureThe first philosophers in Western history the ancient Greeks asked the most fundamental questions about human beings and their relationship to the world More than 2,500 years later, the issues they pondered continue to challenge, fascinate, and instruct us Is reality stable and permanent or is it always changing Are ethical values like justice and courage relative Or are values absolute simply and forever right and true What is justice What is happiness How shall we best live our lives An Introduction to Greek Philosophy beckons you to join this eternal discussion For that is what this subject truly is a conversation among thinkers that has continued through the centuries and remains accessible to us today You find it constantly stimulating, sometimes controversial, and nearly always remarkably relevant.A Hunger for Reasons, not Myths or BeliefsProfessor David Roochnik has organized this series of 24 lectures as a dialectical approach the word comes from the Greek dialegesthai to converse The philosophers are presented as if they were participating in a conversation In this way, the course unfolds in a manner similar to the actual development of Greek philosophy.In this course, you study the development of Greek philosophy, meet its major thinkers, and explore the issues and ideas that concerned them For example the first real philosophers were the Presocratics literally, the philosophers who lived before Socrates They included Thales of Miletus 585 B.C.E , Anaximander 610 546 , Anaximenes approx 550 , Xenophanes approx 570 and Pythagoras approx 570 500.The Presocratics rejected myth and divine inspiration such as had been embodied in the works of Homer and in Hesiod s creation story, the Theogony as valid explanations of reality Instead, they insisted that true understanding always requires a logos, a rational explanation hence such English words as psychology and biology.The Presocratics were concerned with issues such as identifying the arche or Being the thing that is the origin of all other things They also introduced sophistic relativism, the notion that truth, goodness, and all other values were relative, depending entirely on the person or group that held them This concept would become a major point of debate for the Greeks and for the ages.Are We Footnotes to Plato The heroes of this course, and certainly of Greek philosophy, are Plato 429 347 B.C.E and his student, Aristotle 384 322 B.C.E Unlike the Presocratics, who wrote too little, Plato and Aristotle were prolific authors Both argued against relativism and instead were staunch objectivists who believed that certain important values were absolutely and universally true And both left a staggering mark on history.Alfred North Whitehead, the great 20th century British philosopher, said, The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato In the Middle Ages, Aristotle was held in such high esteem that he was simply known as the philosopher Among Plato s many contributions to philosophy is his ingenious device for the examination of ideas his written dialogues In them, Plato never uses his own voice Instead, the dialogues take place among a changing cast of characters, and Socrates is the most notable among them The effect is to invite us to take part in the conversation and, ultimately, to become philosophers.You study Plato s dialogues as well as his notion of the Forms This was his response to relativism and proposed that every virtue and value has an absolute and perfect Form, which humans understand even before birth.Greek philosophy can be said to culminate with Aristotle, who wrote treatises on a breathtaking range of subjects He is said to be the first to view knowledge as being divided into specific disciplines such as biology or astronomy The university was later modeled on this approach More than any other philosopher, Aristotle synthesized the views that preceded him.For Aristotle, one value was foremost and was contained in everything, from the tiniest organisms to the phenomena of fire to human beings purpose Everything has a purpose that can be recognized and objectively defined, and that gives meaning to life You explore the details and rationale of Aristotle s teleological or purposive world view, one of the most significant in history.An Invitation to ThinkIn this course, you not only learn about Greek philosophy but, to some extent, how to do it Professor Roochnik emphasizes that Greek philosophy is ultimately not about facts or answers but about the give and take of ideas.By the end of these lectures, you will understand how Greek philosophy still heavily influences our view of life We live today, Professor Roochnik maintains, at a time that is shaped by Presocratic, relativistic philosophy Contemporary thinkers, and often the average person, have great difficulty finding objective truth or meaning in life.What have we lost in turning away from the world of Plato and Aristotle a world where everything has a place and a purpose and life is saturated with value and meaning On the other hand, what would we lose if we returned to that world These are a few of the many questions that will give you ample food for thought For the Greeks, that was the greatest feast of all.

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    One thought on “An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Great Courses #4477)

    1. booklady on said:

      Fantastic introduction to Greek Philosophy! Professor Roochnik brings the individual philosophers to life, setting them in their cultural and historical context. He also helps clarify concepts through comparisons to contemporary situations. And most important, he showed that despite their separation from us, the Greek thinkers and the ideas proposed by them over 2000 years ago, are still inspiring, relevant, and have so much to offer us today. First listened to this course in 2002, but got so mu [...]

    2. Gary on said:

      The Professor does an incredibly good job of making Greek Philosophy understandable. Today as well as during the ancient Greeks there's been the outstanding disagreement for what the nature of Knowledge really entails. Importantly the lecturer covers the comparisons and contrast between the pre-Socratic, the sophists, with Plato and Aristotle.The being and becoming, the crossing a river or never crossing it, the atom or the void, the essence verse the existence, those are all aspects of nature a [...]

    3. Suzanne on said:

      For those of us who successfully avoided philosophy classes in college fearing classroom comas, Professor Roochnik presents this introductory material in an engaging and well-organized manner. In addition to overviewing the major philosophical players and the literature and history of their time, Roochnik often reflects on the modern day relevancy of the subject matter. Upon finishing, I am surprised to find myself hankering for more a second helping.

    4. Christopher Hellstrom on said:

      I've been listening to the Great Courses for over 25 years. A lot easier and cheaper now that they are on Audible. This was a very good one with half of the time spent on pre-socratics and the rest on Plato/ Aristotle.

    5. Bob Nichols on said:

      Part II is a summary of early Greek thought (unfortunately, I don't have access to Part I of this two-part set). In this second set of lectures, Roochnik covers Plato (a continuation of Part I?) and Aristotle and he does a good job of breaking down the philosophies of each and presenting them in an appealing way.Plato posits pre-existent forms (truths) that are prior to sense experience, which we recollect because we know them from some prior existence. While at first thought this might be regar [...]

    6. Silas on said:

      This was an excellent introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. I have previously taken a course on Pre-Socratic philosophy, and I appreciated that the Pre-Socratics were not glossed over here in favor of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Rather than simply conveying their beliefs, Roochnik shows how each builds on or reacts to his predecessor, and continues that theme throughout. Socrates is seen as a reaction, and receives a decent portion of the course, for none of his own works having survived [...]

    7. Mars Cheung on said:

      Bought this course as a supplement to my study of philosophy. Professor Roochnik does a brief overview on, not only Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, but also the Sophists and several of the Pre-Socratic philosophers including Thales and Heraclitus. An introduction on what each philosopher brought to the table was provided along with some of the contributions of their respective students. As this was only an introduction to Greek Philosophy, the depth of subject matter was not as deep as I would ha [...]

    8. Marcus Vinicius on said:

      An Enlightened DialogueThis course exposes the ideas of greek philosophers in a dialectic form. The thinkers are engaged in a dialogue, reacting from the ideas of his predecessors. The author examines the presocratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in an understandable way and gives his insights about the many problems they posed. When exposing Socrates words, no distinction is made to adress the question about who is speaking (Socrates or Plato). The presupposition is that Socrates [...]

    9. Yasser Mohammad on said:

      This is a standard exposition of Greek philosophy starting from Thales and pre-Socratics, passing by Socrates and Plato and culminating with Aristotle. The structure of the course is dialectic (Roochnik is a Plato's scholar mainly so that is expected). You will find standard information here and very few surprises.Personally, I specially liked the way Plato's and Aristotle's forms are contrasted.

    10. Chris Aldrich on said:

      A lovely little introduction. By Great Courses standards it wasn't as breezy or as straightforward as most. the lecturer's style wasn't as story telling-esque as most, but it's also some pretty dense material to get through without notes or a text to refer back to. It's one of the first that will require a repeat to get everything out of it properly.

    11. Estuardo Choc Salazar on said:

      I didn't finish it, greek philosophy it's not my thing but the course and professor are great.

    12. Jams on said:

      DNF. This is good information, but I guess Greek philosophy is not for me right now. I'll try again later.

    13. Seth Holler on said:

      Sep 2016. Excellent on the Presocratics, weak on Plato, decent on Aristotle.Aug 2017. Again, but only for the Presocratics and Socrates.

    14. Thomas on said:

      Great review/intro to Greek philosophy. Well-organized and covering a decent amount of ground. Nothing new for anyone who knows the subject, but well told by a good teacher. Audible.

    15. Tommaso De on said:

      Excellent introduction, very very clear and super fascinating. Strongly suggested.

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