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No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life

Narrated by: Robert C. Solomon
Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Economics
4.5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

Non-member price: $51.19

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Publisher's Summary

What is life? What is my place in it? What choices do these questions obligate me to make? More than a half-century after it burst upon the intellectual scene - with roots that extend to the mid-19th century - Existentialism's quest to answer these most fundamental questions of individual responsibility, morality, and personal freedom has continued to exert a profound attraction.

Now, in a series of 24 probing and thoughtful lectures, you can enrich your own understanding of this unique philosophical wave, the visionary thinkers it brought together to ponder and debate these questions, and the prominent role it still plays in contemporary thought.

"Existentialism is, in my view, the most exciting and important philosophical movement of the past century and a half," says Professor Solomon. "Fifty years after the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre gave it its identity and 150 years after the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard gave it its initial impetus, it continues to win new enthusiasts and, in keeping with its still exciting and revolutionary message, vehement critics." Plumbing both sides of the debate, these lectures examine a wide range of Existentialist thought. You'll be exposed to the religious approach of Kierkegaard; the bold fiction of Camus; the warrior rhetoric and often-shocking claims about religion and morality posed by Nietzsche; the radical and uncompromising notion of freedom championed by Sartre; and the searching analysis of human historicity and finitude offered by Martin Heidegger. And you'll encounter the reluctance - often angrily expressed - of many of Existentialism's major figures to be thought of as part of any philosophical movement or even as intellectual allies!

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

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Outstanding

Great introduction to existentialism and a good summary and interpretation of key texts. Solomon covers different concepts within existentialism including freedom and responsibility, and continually points out its relevance to one's everyday experience. It is a broad survey of ways about how to think about ourselves and our place in the world which, if you found this as Intersting as I did, will have you thinking for hours after listening. I thoroughly enjoyed this, particularly the coverage of Camus, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. It has inspired me to read some of the key texts discussed. The presentation is clear and very followable despite the complexity of some of the ideas, some lectures will require a bit more concentration than others. If you are interested in philosophy at all, having some sort of life-crisis or want to have some good discussion material for debating friends on the big questions, I would really recommend this course.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great overview

For an amateur, ‘No Excuses’ has been an excellent resource to understand the key ideas Existentialism contributes to thinking.

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interesting

well presented and very interesting talks on this subject. what else do you need. brilliant!

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Essential

This is a great series of lectures by a professor who knows his subject well.

Essentials are well explained and the men who made them are put into context.

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  • Sam
  • 05-11-2018

Existentialism.

The reading was fine, and I don't know if this is apoor rating of the lectures or of existentialism itself, but it just seemed to be a mix of trite observations masquerading as profundity.
Gave up around lecture eleven.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful