The Birth of Western Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle (Portable Professor Series)

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PORTABLE PROFESSOR™ is a series of exciting and informative lectures recorded by some of today's most renowned university and college professors. Each course introduces listeners to fascinating, and sometimes startling, insights into the intellectual forces that shape our understanding of the world. Each package includes 14 riveting lectures presented by notable professors as well as a book-length course guide.

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Overview

PORTABLE PROFESSOR™ is a series of exciting and informative lectures recorded by some of today's most renowned university and college professors. Each course introduces listeners to fascinating, and sometimes startling, insights into the intellectual forces that shape our understanding of the world. Each package includes 14 riveting lectures presented by notable professors as well as a book-length course guide.

The foundations of Western Philosophy rest squarely on the shoulders of Plato and Aristotle, teacher and pupil, who were among the first to formally express the basic drive of human beings to understand ourselves and the world we live in. In these penetrating lectures, Professor Aryeh Kosman examines the key works of these seminal thinkers, and explores the ways in which their commitment to reason as critical to our moral, political, and spiritual lives is as relevant today as it was in ancient Athens.

COURSE LECTURES

  1. Plato (with Nods to Socrates)
  2. Euthyphro: The Virtue of Holiness
  3. Charmides: The Virtue of Quiet Self-Control
  4. Republic: Justice and the Virtue of Justice
  5. Republic: Justice and the Philosopher King
  6. Symposium: Is the Philosopher Capable of Love?
  7. Phaedo: Death and the Philosopher
  8. Aristotle: Patience with Complexity
  9. Organon: Substance as the Primary Mode of Being
  10. Metaphysics: What Is Philosophy?
  11. Biology and On the Soul: Life and Consciousness
  12. Nichomachean Ethics: Ethics and the Good Life
  13. Plato and Aristotle: ThePolitics and the Poetics
  14. Plato and Aristotle: A Final Review and Summation

Aryeh Kosman is the John Whitehead Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Professor Kosman began his studies at the University of California at Berkeley and completed his doctoral work at Harvard University, with study in between at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He joined the Haverford faculty in 1962 and has taught there since, except during visiting appointments at Princeton University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Pittsburgh. During his distinguished career, Professor Kosman has lectured and written extensively on ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy. He has received several teaching awards and is a former fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Note: The printed package incorrectly states that Professor Kosman received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and that he taught at Harvard. The publisher regrets the error.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760750049
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 5/3/2004
  • Series: Portable Professor Series
  • Edition description: 8 CDs, Book-length Course Guide
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    Having read Plato and enjoying it very much, I looked forward to these lectures. Unfortunately, this professor's style is very pedantic and redundant. He must have used the phrase 'in other words' more than 100 times. I kid you not. He does not seem to be able to convey the ideas and concepts of Plato and Aristotle clearly. I found it very easy to read Plato's Republic. This professor seemed to be just filling time and making the texts seem much harder than they are. I would avoid these lectures and just read up on Plato and Aristotle for yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2007

    Between a Plato and an Aristotle

    Granted, this man's voice could lull God to sleep however, his topic is as difficult as it often is subtle. In all fairness, Kosman knows his material inside out. My guess is that the material was not easy for him to learn and tease out of the Greek texts. So be prepared to sweat. Prof. Kosman either assumes that his listeners are practiced students of philosophy, or he has been in academia-land too long to relate to normal people. He might be shocked how abysmally thick we can be. More examples and simpler explanations would be good for morale out here. I would not say to listen to Shutt instead, but in addition to Kosman. And be prepared to listen over and over and to do a lot of reading and thinking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2007

    Okay, but not great

    When the series begins you automatically assume Professor Kosman is going to be intriguing and informative. Throughout the series he becomes less intriguing and more informative. If you are looking for information on the writings of these two great thinkers then this project is for you. However, if you are looking to understand these men and acquire a general understanding of their concepts then this project is not for you. He never fully enlightens the listener on the meanings of their concepts and never gives a definitive explanations to their meanings. In the beginning of the lectures he states that Plato's writings are 'interpretive endeavors'. That is, they are left for the reader to decide as to what the writer and others mean by their discussion. Furthermore, he does a fair job on explaining what the writings are addressing and their significance but that's about it. You will come out knowing what each book is addressing while also knowing more about the two philosophers, but not how to interpret the writings or even understand what the concepts of the writings are about in depth. For instance, what is the virtue of self-control? He merely states what Charmindes, one of the characters in Plato's writings, believes self-control is. Afterwards, Socrates corrects and critiques his definition (which you will find Socrates usually doing) and then Socrates fails to give a definitive explanation (OR if he does you must investigate it within Plato's book, The Charmindes). Which brings me to my next point: If you don't have time to read these books then do not entertain the thought that you will, some how, have a conclusive understanding of the concepts of Plato. Again, he leaves this up to the listener to discover! For this lecture series one must be prepared to spend immense amounts of time of one lecture, that is, you must listen to the lecture, read the chapter in the book that comes with the lecture, then prepare to read at least one of the suggested readings (Plato's writings) and then answer the questions to fully grasp it all. Sure, if you have time to spend on this for the next 6-9 months you will come out as fairly advanced in this subject. If you don't then you are preparing to waste your money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    Read the Masters, then listen!

    The lectures from Professor Kosman are mind-blowing. I have studied Philosophy, I got BA, and I had an excellent Prof. for the Ancient class, but the way Professor Kosman connects the ideas and underlying concepts of Plato and the Master of those who understand, makes you as he said essentially seduced by these two philosophers. Professor Kosman explicitly says that the lectures are not sufficient if listened only by them selves, he uses the analogy of the `pinture¿ of Botticelli. Someone may tell you why Botticelli is the Maestro, but unless you see it for your self, you are not going to learn nor understand, and then as some people do, you will make judgment without understanding, and essentially you will speak the wisdom that is not yours. I think that Professor Kosman is telling us, those who like Plato and Aristotle get your own knowledge by reading and re-reading these two Masters of Philosophy. Professor Kosman, on contrary is very witty (I laughed on many occasions) and his voice is very warm-professor like. I only wish that I have studied and learned from him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2006

    Excellent!!

    This is a very fine review of Plato and Aristotle, providing both breadth and depth - highly recommended!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    Not that good

    1. one never really connects with the teacher. it as if he feels that just skimming the material is enough to do his job. 2. he is vague at points that he wants/needs to avoid as dealing with them would require some very interesting explanation (i.e.: the true nature of 'The Symposium') 3. his is not a willing giver of information. 4. his voice is boring - true, this is a point of contention. but, as a professional speaker he needs to be more aware of his voice. please avoid this man and his works. he is the professor that has a job and tenure and no reason to teach.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2006

    Outstanding

    Very well thought out course, introductory but not watered down. I just finished listening to the entire course and can see that repeated listening will be very fruitful, which is exactly what I wanted from a philosophy audio course. Very highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006

    Serious course

    Introduction to Plato and Aristotle (introductory but not watered down at all). I took a number of philosophy courses in college and the course on this cd is superior to all of them. This guy is brilliant and presents the material in such a way that it feels like an intense conversation. Outstanding!! but you need to be able to concentrate while listening, it's not an 'elevator-music' type audio course!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    This dialog Does Not Stand on its own

    The information is presented from the expectation that you have already read or reviewed most of the notable books from the period. Actually, the Professor makes regular references to the books by page number, which may be interesting, but not when you are listening to the CD's as you are driving through rush hour.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2004

    Good stuff

    It was fantastic. I'm just getting into Philosophy, and this set worked very well to get me interested in Plato and Aristotle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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