Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened that transformed the entire culture of Western civilisation. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in such a striking fashion that there could be no going back on what had taken place. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely new aspect. Sciences would be born or emerge in an entirely new guise. The ideas that broke this mould largely began, and continued to flourish, in the city of Florence in the province of Tuscany.
The Borgia family have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice, and vicious cruelty - all have been associated with their name. And yet, paradoxically, this family lived when the Renaissance was coming into its full flowering in Italy. Examples of infamy flourished alongside some of the finest art produced in western history.
Karl Marx's philosophical critique of capitalism and his solution of communism directly led to the formation of the communist state in the Soviet Union. Whilst this great venture has now all but completely failed, Marx’s philosophy has proved to be arguably the most influential of the 20th century; the influence of Marxism can be seen in subjects as diverse as the infamous policies of Joseph Stalin to many of the progressive humanitarian reforms of the 20th century. The audiobook is an expert account of Marx’s life and philosophical ideas - entertainingly written and above all easy listening.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Kierkegaard in just one hour.Although Kierkegaard was not a philosopher in the academic sense, he produced what many people expect of philosophy. He didn’t write about the world, he wrote about life – how we live and how we choose to live, particularly focussing on the individual and the notion of his (or her) existence.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Russell in just one hour. Bertrand Russell claimed to be driven by three great passions that drove his personal as well as his intellectual life: a longing for love, a quest for knowledge and a heart-rending pity for human suffering. His philosophical outlook, which took deep account of the science of his time, was nonetheless rooted in logic and empiricism.
Following on from the incredible online success of the History in an Hour titles - now there’s a philosophy series for busy people, on the go. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Sartre in just one hour. Here is a concise, expert account of Jean-Paul Sartre’s life and philosophical ideas in this short audiobook. Entertainingly written and easy to listen to - this also includes selections from Jean-Paul Sartre’s work with suggested further reading, and chronologies that place Sartre in the context of the broader scheme of philosophy.
One of the two major philosophical traditions of the 20th century was linguistic analysis, derived largely from Wittgenstein. The other, diametrically opposed, came from Heidegger, and its fundamental question was: ‘What is the meaning of existence?’ For Heidegger, this was not a query that could simply be ‘analysed away’ - it was beyond the reach of logic or reason. This was the primary ‘given’ of every individual life. To confront it, Heidegger needed to develop an entirely new form of philosophy. Here is a concise, expert account of Heidegger’s life and philosophical ideas that is entertainingly written and easy to understand.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Socrates in just one hour. Socrates is widely renowned as one of the founders of Western philosophy, despite the fact that his ideas survive largely through the work of his pupil Plato. Socrates’ dialectic – a method of aggressive questioning – was the forerunner of logic; he used it to cut through the pretentions of his adversaries and arrive at the truth.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Foucault in just one hour. The French philosopher Michel Foucault set about his task rather like a historian. After painstaking research, he concluded that knowledge and power were intimately related throughout history.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Wittgenstein in just one hour. Ludwig Wittgenstein saw himself as ‘the last philosopher’. In his view, philosophy in the traditional sense was finished. A superb logician, Wittgenstein distrusted language and sought to solve the problems of philosophy by reducing them to the purest form of logic. Everything else - metaphysics, aesthetics, ethics, finally even philosophy itself - was excluded.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Kant in just one hour. Immanuel Kant taught and wrote prolifically about physical geography yet never travelled farther than forty miles from his home in Königsberg. Appropriately, his philosophy strenuously denies that all knowledge is derived from experience, insisting instead that all experience must conform to knowledge. Kant’s aim was to restore metaphysics.
Philosophy for busy people. Read a succinct account of the philosophy of Leibniz in just one hour.Leibniz was the first great German philosopher to produce an all-embracing philosophical system. He came to the remarkable conclusion that space and time do not exist – they are mere superstitious assumptions. Only things exist and only God is able to see things as they truly are – from a perspectiveless viewpoint. Yet the infinite of ultimate objects that make up the world (‘monads’) are not material: they are metaphysical and thus not subject to the laws of cause and effect.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Derrida in just one hour. Jacques Derrida’s ‘deconstructionism’ is nothing less than an effort to destroy all ‘writing’ by demonstrating its inevitable falsehood. The writer writes but does not know what he is writing. Derrida argues that all texts have their own hidden agenda and contain their own metaphysical assumptions – the writer’s very language inevitably distorts what he thinks and writes.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Plato in just one hour. Plato is still seen by many as the greatest of all philosophers, inspiring many of the finest thinkers through the ages. Indeed, many see all later philosophy as nothing but attempts to answer the questions he raised. He founded the Academy, the world’s first university, in 387 BC and taught that the physical world is not reality but rather a reproduction of the true source.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Schopenhauer in just one hour.Arthur Schopenhauer, the ‘philosopher of pessimism,’ makes it clear that he regards the world and our life in it as a bad joke. However, if the world is indifferent to our fate it doesn’t thwart us deliberately – its façade is supported by what Schopenhauer calls the universal Will. He saw this as a force that is blind and without purpose, bringing on all our misery and suffering.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Rousseau in just one hour. In Rousseau we encounter a walking ego, a naked sensibility - his arguments are both deeply stirring and deeply inconsistent. Yet whilst his contemporaries Kant and Hume may have been superior academic philosophers, the sheer power of Rousseau’s ideas was unequalled in his time. It was he who encouraged the introduction of both liberty and irrationality into the public domain, lamenting how ‘man is born free but everywhere he is in chains’. This audiobook is an expert account of Rousseau’s life and philosophical ideas - entertainingly written and above all easy to listen to. Also included are selections from Rousseau’s work, suggested further reading, and chronologies that place Rousseau in the context of the broader scheme of philosophy.
Philosophy for busy people. Listen to this succinct account of the philosophy of Descartes in just one hour. Descartes was the first modern philosopher. His scepticism led him to doubt all certainties, until finally he arrived at his famous maxim 'I think therefore I am'. He would also apply his rationalism with great effect in science and mathematics, conceiving a scheme for scientific method and inventing Cartesian co-ordinates in geometry.
Philosophy has always been dangerous for philosophers; Friedrich Nietzsche made it dangerous for everyone. His ideas presaged a collective madness which was to ravage Europe throughout the first half of the 20th century, drawing a chilling parallel with the insanity that gripped Nietzsche towards the end of his life. His philosophy is one of aphorisms and penetrating psychological insights, his major concept being the Will to Power - a notion that he saw as the basic impulse for all our acts. Viewing Christianity as a subtle perversion of this concept Nietzsche is famous for his pronouncement that ‘God is dead’.
Augustine’s Confessions details his personal struggles with morality, his spiritual crisis and the conversion to Christianity that ultimately led him to his major contribution to philosophy: the fusion of the doctrines of Christianity and Neoplatonism. This provided Christianity with a strong intellectual backing by tying it to the Greek tradition of philosophy. Augustine also produced important philosophic ideas of his own, including theories of time and subjective knowledge that anticipated by many centuries the work of Kant and Descartes.
Philosophy for busy people. Read a succinct account of the philosophy of Spinoza in just one hour.Spinoza’s brilliant metaphysical system was derived neither from reality nor experience. Starting from basic axioms (assumptions), by means of a series of geometric proofs he built a universe which was also God – one and the same thing, the classic example of pantheism.