The World of Philosophy series is a dramatic presentation, in understandable language, of the concerns, questions, interests, and overall outlook of the world's great philosophers and philosophical traditions. Special emphasis on clear and relevant explanations gives you a new arsenal of insights toward living a better life.
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"Lucid, insightful, informative"
This has got to be one of the best audio-books I have heard so far. It addresses its inherently difficult subject with such clarity of thought that some of the most complicated ideas are made accessible.
The book was very informative, yet it kept my interest and I really wished it had been longer.
The books discusses the ideas of Al Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Al Ghazali and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) in relation to one-another, with Ibn Sina's philosophy at the center. It doesn't assume previous knowledge about any of them or about Greek philosophy, although it expects the reader to know at least who Aristotle was.
The narrators added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. Arab names and words are pronounced correctly, which is a rarity, and the general quality of the narration is high.
"Exciting, relevant, inspiring"
As a 9/11 student of Muslim philosophy, this work is a watershed. Many of the ideas of these ancient middle eastern philosophers remains forward-looking today. A didactic history of the bridges between West and Mid-east.
"Great thinkers never go out of fashion"
The author of this lecture does a really good job of explaining what the thinker meant, then quoting the thinker, and then restating what it means, a very effective way of presenting information.
Avicenna, one of the great thinkers mentioned in this book, completely blew me away. I really like Hegel's "Phenomenology" available at audible, but it can be a difficult listen. Avicenna, who wrote 800 years before Hegel covers the same concepts but in a way that is more accessible. "Necessary existence is absolute being" a concept both thinkers develop
fully and ultimately leading to spirit that becomes aware of itself through the understanding of the absolute notion. He explains Hegel better than Hegel, and he did it 800 years before Hegel wrote. I'd be hard press to come up with something that Hegel covered in for which Avicenna didn't have similar thoughts on the matter.
Al-Ghazali predates Descartes with his quest for certainty over skepticism and reason over faith and it took a Western Enlightenment to understand what Al-Ghazali knew hundred of years earlier.
Another thinker prominently featured was "The Commentator" as St. Thomas Aquinas refereed to Averroes. Aquinas, who did more to put the Medieval Church on firm logical and philosophical foundation then anyone within the Western tradition and thus opening a gateway for Western science to flourish clearly was influenced (and acknowledged such) by Averroes.
I forever more will never let somebody say that "Western Philosophy" is redundant without challenging that statement by quoting from the thinkers covered in this book. Hegel might mark the end of metaphysics as Heidegger said, but Avicenna was there first.
My only real complaint with this book is its short length. I think at one credit a slightly better deal than this short book would be the lectures by Dorsey Armstrong on "Great Minds of the Medieval World" available at audible. She covers almost all of the thinkers mentioned in this book and a whole lot more. But don't get me wrong, I think this book is wonderful and would recommend both lectures as incredibly good value.
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