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The Big Questions of Philosophy Lecture

The Big Questions of Philosophy

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Publisher's Summary

We have all pondered seemingly unanswerably but significant questions about our existence - the biggest of all being, "Why are we here?" Philosophy has developed over millennia to help us grapple with these essential intangibles. There is no better way to study the big questions in philosophy than to compare how the world's greatest minds have analyzed these questions, defined the terms, and then reasoned out potential solutions. Once you've compared the arguments, the final step is always deciding for yourself whether you find an explanation convincing.

This course gives you the tools to follow and create logical arguments while exploring famous philosophers' viewpoints on these important questions. Although progress has been made toward answers, brilliant thinkers have continued to wrestle with many big questions that inspire thoughtful people everywhere. These questions include: What is knowledge? Does God exist? Do humans have free will? What is right and wrong? How should society be organized?

Given the complexity of these big questions, it should be no surprise that many controversies are far from settled. In fact, by the end of these 36 lectures, you may be even less sure of the right answers to some of the questions than you were at the beginning. But being a philosopher means constantly testing your views - giving a reasoned defense if you believe you are right and modifying your ideas when you realize you are wrong. You'll discover that great thinkers before you have offered convincing answers to hard questions, philosophers after them have made equally persuasive objections, and then still others have refined the debate even further - causing the issues to come into sharper and sharper focus.

Join Plato, St. Anselm, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Mill, Smith, Marx, Rawls, and many others in an exploration of fundamental questions. Get ready to think big!

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (24 )
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4.4 (19 )
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4.3 (19 )
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Performance
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  •  
    fedgie 12/10/2016
    fedgie 12/10/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    Overall
    "Scotsmen don't lie!"

    because we believe everything thing we say to be the truth! great listen gets you thinking and asking yourself questions!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. M. Kosky Dorset, UK 21/07/2016
    N. M. Kosky Dorset, UK 21/07/2016 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    Briefly- lucid, reasonably comprehensive and up to date. Very much recommended. Suitable for the non- expert.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayne Charlton 10/06/2016
    Jayne Charlton 10/06/2016 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    This is an excellent overview of the quest for understanding the basic principles of philosophy. Just makes me want to continue in my quest for the real question!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shikha 27/05/2016
    shikha 27/05/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "very good"

    enjoyed listening to it..made me think a lot and fascinated me at some point..love the narrator

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Gary
    Las Cruces, NM, United States
    17/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No easy answers, just easy questions"

    I get irritated by people who think philosophy is a waste of time. A course like this one shows how profitable it is to learn critical reasoning and why it is so important for understanding our place in the universe. Most of the tough questions asked in the series don't have a cookie cutter answer, but all of them provided a method for approaching the question more profitably.

    For example, on the nature of identity, what does it mean to be the same person over time ("ship of Theseus" question), he will show that it's probably more profitable to realize that the categories and labels that we put on the concepts about self identity are convenient fictions, and there just might not be a way to answer the question properly. He'll say perhaps as in the Dr. Who TV show that an episode from season one is different from an episode from last season, but they are connected because they are part of the same series. We aren't episodes, but are the series of events that make us up.

    I loved the beginning lectures on the nature of knowledge and how absolute knowledge is best thought of as justified true believe. That series of lectures on knowledge and science (and there were several) helps put "philosophy of science" in perspective for me.

    One note, I had listened to his course on Metaphysics. Get this one instead, because most of the lectures from that course seemed to also be on this one, and you get a lot more lectures in this course including most of the ones on the other one thus giving you better value for your money.

    [I'll give a warning, if you're certain in your belief systems and have no doubt in your faith based things, this lecture might be a disconnect for you because he'll pretty much state that the soul makes no sense, God might not exist, free will is not what you think it is, and so on. As for me, I love learning things that challenge my world view and can recommend this lecture series for anyone who feels the same].

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • A Customer
    24/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Experience"
    What made the experience of listening to The Big Questions of Philosophy the most enjoyable?

    This is a terrific audio book by a terrific author and lecturer. He really pulls you into philosophy rather than just talking about it. He also has a course on Metaphysics, which I'll take as soon as I get through with my current course.


    What about Professor David K. Johnson’s performance did you like?

    I love his enthusiasm for his topic.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    11/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting and challenging"

    although i might not agree with all of the conclusions the course draws, i do feel i learned a lot, and that the course was worth the time and money

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Marcus
    23/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "sorry but I enjoyed it!"

    This is a perfect book for understanding philosophy as a beginner.

    it gets too heavy into the questions about god. but I guess its an american thing.

    still, the book is light, comical, serious, and leaves me with more questions than before.

    just terrific!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Quin
    Littleton, CO, US
    02/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Content is ok, but the guy is hard to listen too"
    What did you love best about The Big Questions of Philosophy?

    He has an odd cadence and does this high pitch inflection on the second word of every other sentence. A few hours in he was already driving me nuts.


    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    12/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great lectures that will challenge your views!"

    I just can't say enough how great this whole series is. Professor David K Johnson is one of the better lecturers because of the way he is able to take complex ideas and break them down. While I don't pretend to understand everything in these lectures, I enjoy the challenge they present. Acknowledging that we can always allow for what we believe we know to change and grow is a central theme here. This particular lecture is supposed to pick apart certain beliefs and force us to honestly think about what they are and what they mean. Not to mention that Professor Johnson is absolutely hilarious. I highly recommend this lecture

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • fernando antonio hadba
    Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
    26/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very complete introduction."

    Ready for more courses on the subject.
    Very well divided and good takeaways at the end of each lesson

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Sheber
    11/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should have ended before Political discussions"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    80% of the course was a good refresher on basic Philosophical thought. However, when the author entered the realm of politics his bias towards liberal concepts made him forget some of the basic Philosophical concepts.Such as True beliefs needed justification and where experts have opposite conclusions neither experts opinion can be the basis of a true belief.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Eliminated the political discussions


    What about Professor David K. Johnson’s performance did you like?

    I thought he was funny and entertaining


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • JOSE CLAVERO
    Spain
    08/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good introduction to Philosophy"
    What did you love best about The Big Questions of Philosophy?

    A straightforward and comprehensive approach to a lot of very tough and interesting questions.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    A lot of good ideas and good arguments.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Political Philosophy


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I don't think this is the case, but maybe: "Dare to think".


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of stuff to achieve an "examined life" (paraphrasing Socrates)

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • sdemmitt
    26/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the most enjoyable books I've listened to."

    Challenged many of my own personal beliefs and opened up new perspectives of how I view the world. Very thought provoking. I am definitely going to give this another listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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