More than 2,500 years later, the fundamental questions asked by the ancient Greeks 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? What is justice? What is happiness? How shall we best live our lives?
In this series of 24 lectures, Professor Roochnik invites you to join this eternal discussion. You'll study the development of Greek philosophy, meet its major thinkers, and explore the issues and ideas that concerned them, from the Pre-Socratic concerns with "Being" to the staggering contributions of Plato and Aristotle.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."
In 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 joining the conversation, you will come away with a new appreciation for how Greek philosophy still heavily influences our view of life.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses
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Like many of the courses in this series, it lives up to its name. It is great. The professor is top notch, and even though I have completed graduate work in philosophy I still learned a great deal. The learnings came from putting things in a larger perspective given this professor's immense background, and also learning A bit more about some of the thinkers with which I was already familiar.
"An Excellent Introduction"
I bought this title after reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, to further explore the topics presented in that book.
"An Introduction to Greek Philosophy" is an excellent--if not essential--companion to ZMM. Prof. Roochnik covers a wide body of ancient works clearly and efficiently. He also references numerous other A.D. philosophers throughout his lectures, creating new paths of exploration for you if you enjoyed this title.
Perhaps my largest takeway was Roochnik's urging to take the side of the philosopher before offering your own critique, no matter how ludicrous their writings initially sound. Sound advice outside, as well as inside, the classroom. Other personal takeaways I enjoyed include:
- The Pre-Socratics (more enjoyable than I initially thought they would be)
- Relativism vs. Absolutism
- Plato's Forms
- Aristotle's God: "God does not love, because God does not hate."
The entry/exit of each chapter is laughable--I don't remember attending any college course that opened each lecture with a string quartet and a rousing ovation. Don't let that skew your perception of the quality of the material covered. This title was well worth the cost of an Audible credit (and -way- cheaper than the equivalent university credit).
"Prof. Roochnik is a ROCK STAR!"
I'll listen to any lecture given by Prof. Roochnik. His knowledge is equalled only by his ability to convey the information is simple easy to understand terms. A great teacher!
"A bit dry, but essential"
I have to admit some bias for these lectures. You're basically getting a semester's worth of classroom lectures for under $30 per course. This introduction to Greek philosophy was fantastic and engaging, though the last couple hours were somewhat tedious to get through.
And amazing lecture, perfectly suited for a long commute. The speaker was incredibly easy to listen to.
"Gave me much needed contrasts and comparison"
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 and were the main concerns of the pre-Socratics. So often, I'll read something and they will refer to Parmenides ('nothing is not possible"), Heraclitus ("we never cross the river"), Democritus ("all is atom"), or another pre-Socratic philosopher and they would expect me the reader to understand the complete context by what was meant by the single name. Now I can understand.
This lecture series will put each of the main thinkers into context and compare them between each other, and tell you how they are similar and where they differ, and also never overly confusing the listener by giving too much to process at once.
There are many great gems within this series. Plato knew his "nature was not to know nature" and he would be better served by focusing on what our 'values' and 'virtues' should be and realized he was best able to work with logos (rational discourse), but always realizing that the sophisticated sophists (non-absolutist or relativist) had a strong argument and could not be defeated on their own terms. By just asking the question, "what is justice" is equivalent to as the Professor says, asking the question "who won the game last night", by the very fact of asking the question presumes there was a game and a winner, just as asking the question "what is justice" can imply things beyond the question itself.
I now know why my heart lies with the pre-Socratics (and sophists), why Plato is always more worth while than I've known and Aristotle with his common sense approach and his belief in reality being knowable is still relevant today, and ultimately the foundation laid down by these great thinkers are still just as relevant today.
"Cadence made it difficult to get engaged"
The professor's cadence in speaking made it difficult for me to get engaged. At times he sounded like a robot. Which is a shame because based on some of the examples he provided during his lectures he certainly has a sense of humor, some personality, and perhaps the kind of guy which you'd like to go out for a drink. However, I just couldn't get into the conversation. The whole thing just seemed too slow. The pace of the insight was also slow...too far and between and he kept providing too many examples for what seemed like easy concepts. Overall I wouldn't recommend this course but lecture 21 on Aristotle's "God" was the most interesting.
Wow. This book was extremely good in explaining Greek philosophy. Highly recommend. You will enjoy it.
"A solid overview of early Greek philosophy"
I already have so I could discuss the contents with him
He manages to connect these philosophers by showing how each one criticized or built on what came before him, showing how philosophy in ancient Greece evolved.
It was really interesting to find out Aristotle's opponents believed in evolution 2000 years before Darwin.
This only covers up to Aristotle. I was hoping it would go further to cover people like Plotinus. It is only an introduction though so it is fair that it only covers the first few major Greek philosophers.
I also like how Professor Roochnik connected everything to how we can see it in the context of modern issues as many of these ideas are just as relevant today as in ancient Greece.
"An Enlightened Dialogue"
This 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 speaks. Plato and Aristotle works are presented as the culmination of greek wisdom. The sophist objections and thought are always mentioned. In the course they served as a bridge with modern concepts and thought. The work gives a clear exposition of greek philosophy. One will profit listening to it!
"Excellent introduction to Greek philosophy"
Ranking it against other great courses as it is not a book. Great introduction to Greek does not go into too much detail, but enough to get on with at the moment. I have to say i have heard it said that the best way to understand philosophy is not to read the books but to have is spoken to you and i would certainly agree with that position
Socrates - constantly asking what is ???
Liked his enthusiasm
Great intro to a difficult but worthwhile subject
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