An Introduction to Western Philosophy

An Introduction to Western Philosophy

Ratings: 7.94/10 from 53 users.

The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western PhilosophyBeginning with the death of Socrates in 399 BC, and following the story through the centuries to recent figures such as Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein, Bryan Magee's conversations with fifteen contemporary writers and philosophers provide an accessible and exciting account of Western philosophy and its greatest thinkers.

The contributors include A.J. Ayer, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, and John Searle, so that the documentary is not only an introduction to the philosophers of the past, but gives an invaluable insight into the view and personalities of some of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century.

The series are little bit dated but I think they're real treasure and food for thought.

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123 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Fancy but interesting on so many levels a lot of what if's this is really good on the basis of always asking (why this) or (why that ) very informative soul searching and u know what they say about (unexamined life) but I must say this,( remember the times and the peoples of those times they lived in), and nothing is written in Stone times and ideas are always changing and what was true yesterday may not be true today *** but a fantastic brain exercise that's way psychology and psychotherapy and and the rest of it are questionable, at the very least with so many people and so many kinds of personalities environmental factors and we are all so different (one size dose not fit all).. BUT IS IT HELPFUL NO DOUBT EXTREMELY HELPFUL PSYCHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY THEOLOGY.. WE HUMAN BEINGS GIVE THINGS MEANING (NOTHING IS AN EMPIRICAL TRUTH) THERE ARE SO MANY TRUTH'S OUT THERE , MANY TRUTH'S, MANY PEOPLE MANY WAYS (5+5=10) (8+2=10) (7+3=10) 9+1=10 ALL RIGHT, (AND ALL HUMAN CONSTRUCTS).. IF I'M NOT MAKING ANY SENSE PLEASE CORRECT ME I'M NOT REALLY AII THAT SMART I HOPE THIS MAKES SOME KIND OF SENSE THANK YOU ****PLEASE BE KIND

  2. My gosh, such an interesting series on different levels. Outdated? Those facial gestures, that body's almost like looking at a hyper realistic episode of the fast show. Brilliant. And i learned a lot from it, don't get it wrong...:)

  3. Just getting into philosophy, watched Allan De Bottons 'guide to philosophy...' Good for an absolute beginner but I found it rather basic and generic without sounding too pompous what you'd expect to achieve in everyday life. Anyone know any mentionalbe docs or philosophers worth researching? thanks!

    1. Watch The Waking Life, its more of an informative film as such but it raises some interesting points about the nature of awareness, as well as having an interesting style in that they filmed it and then animated over the film.


  4. @robertallen1

    Please Robert, you’ve gotta get on the case! The post but one (of mine) before this one Man! And please be as specific as you can, postage will be involved. It seems so strange to me that I’m fascinated by your few remarks about this play. I’m desperate to know, why philosophy? Yet I’m sure I already know the answer. Strange indeed. Maybe I’ll get a pleasant surprise or nasty shock. I also enjoy satire occasionally; have you read any Tom Sharpe?

    The Patient One

    1. I don't see what more I can do. The book is thin enough to making copying viable, but even if I either found my copy or obtained another, how would I get the material to you? I suggest that if you are that interested, you fork over the requested sum and obtain your own copy. And no, I haven't read Tom Sharpe.

    2. @robertallen1

      Ok thanks for that, I hope you understand my questioning. Going by the price of the book i thought it might be a large heavy volume or such. Lastly, rating out of ten please and is it worth the money? If I can find one, I can find two. And if I can get a good deal, I’ll get one over to you somehow. Please let me know and I’ll check it out.

      Tom Sharpe...The Throwback...Hilarious...You can probably buy a paperback of it for $1. You’ll have it finished in a few days. Mind you don’t wet your pants! Lol

      The WheelerDealer One

      Edit. I should have added The Throwback = British Satire

    3. No, it's just a little thin volume with the play and an introduction. Obviously, I can't advise you as to whether it's worth the money.

    4. Ok that's good. I'll get back to you on that. I can't believe I asked you three times for a rating!!! out 10 but Nevermind! Will you try The Throwback?

    5. @robertallen1

      Good news, I’ve found 2 in paperback (used) reasonably priced.I’ll get them and get one over to you at my expense. Any ideas, do you have a post box number?

      The Grabbing One

    6. That's nice. How much are they?

    7. @robertallen1

      Amazon uk £7.45 a bargain compared to other prices I’ve seen elsewhere. I will cover all expense.

    8. No, it isn't. I've seen it for $11 or $12 dollars plus postage elsewhere. But thanks for your kind offer.

    9. @robertallen1

      Ok Robert, I’ll just get one for me. I’m really intrigued by it. Please try The Throwback by Tom Sharpe.

    10. Let me know how you like it.

    11. @robertallen1

      “Jest, Satire, Irony and Deeper Significance”

      By Christian Dietrich Grabbe 1827

      My God Robert what Demon have you unleashed here? Jest arrived yesterday and I it started last night. From the off I’ll say this belongs in the Philosophy dept. Wonderfully it’s not just me saying this either. My used paperback edition has University of Denver Libraries stamped on the outside and College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Program stamped on the inside. This Jest is from 1966 translated by Maurice Edwards, his second attempt with improved notes and introduction.

      So far I’ve read the preface, the introduction and most of the notes; this is approx one third of the book which in itself is extremely slim. Thankfully quality beats quantity any day. I’ll read the rest over the next couple of days. Without even starting the play yet I’m fascinated with Grabbe. I can see why you recommended this to me clearly now. From these few pages I’ve read so far, I feel I’m in for a wicked treat here, so thanks for the recommendation, once again a good call. I’ll let you know what I think of the play if you’re interested?

      The Grateful One

    12. I'm pleased that you have received your copy of the play. I generally read introductions after I have read the work, but to each his own. I actually found a copy for $3.50 which I have ordered to replace the one I lost. I am very much interested in your reaction. So please let me know when you have finished the work.

      Unfortunately, I lost the sheet of paper on which I had written the link you provided me on Spinoza. Would you mind furnishing it again. Thank you.

    13. @robertallen1

      Yes I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it. I’m pleased that you got another copy for such a bargain. I left you 2 posts at “In God we teach” that I was sure would be of interest to you? One had a link to an excellent recent article by Dr. Richard Dawkins, did you see them?
      You can get to the Radio Broadcast by just copying and pasting the words below straight into the browser (the long line at the top of the page) or Google search.

      Please read the post I made about Spinoza again before listening. Thanks.

      BBC>Radio4>In Our Time>Archive>Spinoza

  5. @Achems

    Many thanks for your efforts. That’s fine.

  6. @AntiTheist666:

    I have tried to put your Spinoza post through about 4 times, would not go through probably because of your audio link.
    I took that link off. And put it through again.

  7. @Moderators

    Hi to all. I used to post here as Atheist13 but can no longer access that account or my old email address. I think my computer is suffering from some kind demonic possession! I hope my latest reincarnation is ok. Regards.

    The Crucified One

  8. Eternal icecream for the intellect and 'soul'. "Love of Wisdom" will never be irrelevent, Janus.

    1. @iwanawannawannaknow

      A delightful and delicious comment. Bravo!

  9. Comparing Chomsky's concept of the mind that is ready to learn to an idea of magically having knowledge before birth! Blah - this is why philosophy gets more irrelevant as science progresses.

  10. More attention to detail will make one a better philospher as well as seeing the detailed detail as well.

  11. You do realize that almost all modern philosophers are not religious, but are deemed religious?

  12. So out of everyone reading this Miles Burnyeat interpretation I bet everyone hearing his reading on the history of western philosophy, are coming to their own conclusions and rejecting or injecting their own minds with his teachings of other people.

  13. Not a documentary. A fantastic interview series that's not been equaled since with leading figures expertly summarizing complex ideas for a general audience.

    Some of the posts here are truly pathetic. You have the racist anti-European with tired and debunked lie that the Greeks got everything from Egypt -as usual No evidence, nothing of substance offered, just the usual racist propaganda meme spit out onto our monitors that now seems to pop-up whenever the Western philosophical tradition's figures are discussed online.

    And you have the, "I need pictures and music". Sad little Generation of gamers mind-ruined mutants. No, what you need is ritalin and to not share what a dumbf*ck you are because nobody cares.

    1. Thank you for the ad hominem insults, you will be remembered after you die by these comments. Thanks again.

    2. But there is evidence that they did get most of what they had from Egypt....ever heard of Alexandria?

  14. I want to watch it but I couldn't find it anywhere. Can anyone help me please?

  15. Good intros in each episode, but the interviews can be slow [though its an old 'style' of TV]. They are in-depth interviews, which can be hard to understand what's been said.

    1. Your last sentence makes no sense. No wonder you found the documentary difficult. The way we write and speak influences the way we think.

  16. @Atheist 13

    Apparently my last post to you got stuck in the queue. Luckily I was able to retrieve it.

    Just how do you make a living, however small, being an atheist? Is it perhaps more lucrative than being an agnostic or a logical positivist? I’m certain it’s not as lucrative as faith healing, astrology and fortune telling. These practitioners seem to get so much for doing so little.
    Because it has not reached any appreciable level of sophistication, nor can it be expected to, the general public rests content with the dull, tedious and desultory and even puts a premium on them in the form of higher income coupled with low to moderate intelligence. This explains (but does not justify) the hefty salaries “earned” by trash men, plumbers, lawyers, talk show hosts, newscasters and “general” celebrities. In all, you have nothing to be sorry about for having earned more than your keep.
    Again, I’m curious. How will your anti-establishment site differ from those anti-establishment (even atheist) sites already out there? And speaking of anti-establishment, I also thought of “Hell for Idiots.” That way I could take a more ecumenical approach. I also came up with “A Beginners Guide to Damnation.” If I can’t get people to read it, perhaps I can sell the movie rights to some reality TV show as a starring vehicle for Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.
    To answer your question re Grabbe, I quote from the antihero, “What kinds of crazy conditions are these?”
    Politics in any country is disgraceful. Talleyrand whom I admire if only for entertainment had the right idea—appearance, appearance, appearance, which, as we know, was as original with him as it was with Machiavelli. “The Prince” = Real Life.
    For fear of blathering on, I will put off any discussion of the monetary system and principles of taxation. I am still waiting to hear your anecdote, for a good (or even not so good) anecdote can drive a point home more forcefully than a philosophic dissertation.

    1. Hello Robert.

      Do you remember a guy called Atheist13? Anyway, he’s dead. He had a terrible fall and was then crucified. Don’t worry though, he descended into Hell and after 3 days was born again. Halle Loo Yah! Please accept my sincerest apology for how long it’s been since we last corresponded. Alas events (life changing) and circumstances were beyond my control. I would explain but this is not the place for it. I did make a promise about reading “Misquoting Jesus” though. If you’re still interested I have left my opinion of it on “Riddles of the Bible”.
      Best regards

      The Crucified One

    2. @robertallen1

      About that Philosophical anecdote I mentioned some time ago. I think you’ve seen how I try to promote philosophy where I can. I don’t know if it’s the same in the US but in the UK there is terrible lack of good philosophical material in mainstream media available to the general public, apart from books of course. One sometimes has to use radio. There is a fairly decent show in the UK called “In Our Time” on BBC radio 4 hosted by Melvyn Bragg. One day I was looking forward to the episode in which he would be discussing Spinoza with three other Philosophy Professors. The religious and atheists alike could learn a lot from this program. This is how important Spinoza is, a quote from Hegel.

      "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all."

      I think that it can also be translated as

      “To be a philosopher, one must first be a Spinozist”

      It all started off ok, some background info and early life details. He was a rising star in the Dutch/Jewish community. Yet by the age of 23 he would be unjustly excommunicated and ostracised from these very same people. Can you imagine the effect of this order (cherem) issued by a deeply religious society in the 17th Century. It would have been read out to a packed Synagogue with candles being extinguished at each proclamation and all present would be avowed to uphold it.

      There is a reasonable article on Wikipedia about it. Which is where I’ve taken this part. It’s well known to be a particularly nasty one.

      “Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down, and cursed be he when he rises up; cursed be he when he goes out, and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not spare him; the anger and wrath of the Lord will rage against this man, and bring upon him all the curses which are written in this book, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven, and the Lord will separate him to his injury from all the tribes of Israel with all the curses of the covenant, which are written in the Book of the Law. But you who cleave unto the Lord God are all alive this day. We order that no one should communicate with him orally or in writing, or show him any favor, or stay with him under the same roof, or within four ells of him, or read anything composed or written by him.”

      This is very important stuff and needs to be outlined by those who know philosophy and its history. I say all this because after only a few minutes into the program all my enthusiasm had disappeared and my jaw was on the floor! Here’s a link to the actual program stored on the BBC Archive. Its 40 mins long. The important bit comes in after just 5 mins. I would very much appreciate your opinion of it?

      There is a moral to this little anecdote which I’ll get to when I hear your reply.

      Thanks for your two word summary of “The Prince” True Life. Spot on I would say. I offer my own in Nietzschean epigrammatic style as “Power Rules” with its double edged sword meaning. Not a lance however.
      I feel you didn’t really answer my question about Grabbe re my specific question, could you tell me more please? Best regards.

      The Crucified One

      Edit. Although this post is addressed to @robertallen1.... I invite anyone interested to reply.

    3. @robertallen1

      Re my post about Spinoza. Apologies, there was a problem with the link. The program can be easily found at the BBC website>Radio4>In Our Time>Archive>Spinoza. It’s well worth looking for.

    4. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

      It's an all right curse, but nearly as good as the one in Tristram Shandy. However, what is your point?

      As for Grabbe, the devil tells the prospective father that, among other things, his son must study philosophy, to which the father responds, "What kind of crazy conditions are these?" to which the devil responds, "Who are you to be standing there haggling with me like a Jew?" In short, it's a parody of a Faustian bargain.

    5. @robertallen1

      I can’t tell you my point very easily without you listening to the broadcast. It would take a wall of text. Just the first ten mins of the program would give you gist of what I mean. If that’s too much let me know and I’ll write something later. Thanks your answers but why philosophy? What do you think?

    6. I can certainly spare ten minutes or even a full hour. So please direct me to the portion of the program you would like me to watch.

      As for Grabbe, perhaps you need to read the entire scene--the entire play would be better. I'm sure there's a copy for sale on the internet.

    7. I can certain spare ten minutes or even an hour. so please direct me to the correct place in the documentary.

      As for Grabbe, perhaps you should read the entire scene--even better the entire play. I'm sure that there is a copy of it somewhere on the internet.

    8. @robertallen1

      Thanks for that I’ll check it out; what’s the name of the play please?
      The program I mean is not here. The link I tried was problematic. Use Google, search for BBC>Radio4>In Our Time>Archive>Spinoza. If you copy and paste these words into the search it finds the one I mean. It’s 40 mins long. Thanks, I hope you get some enjoyment out of it. And I will finally get to the point of this.

    9. "Jest, Satire, Irony and Deeper Significance."

      I will try the search and get back to you.

      Thanks for the tip.

    10. @robertallen1

      I just wanted you to know that I don’t hold grudges or bear you any ill will. And I’m happy to engage in any discourse with you again if you wish. I’ve even given one of your comments a like because it was NICE! See, it wasn’t too hard was it? You couldn’t shock us all to death and actually like a comment yourself once in a while could you? I see you’re extremely mean with them to? There are many fine ones out there. Nothing escapes my evil eye here Dear Ice Man. “There is nothing outside the text”

      And I must be mad because I would still like your opinion of that radio broadcast. Especially as I put in some effort to that anecdote that YOU asked for. It would be NICE of you! (Hating this yet?) You see, I can be NICE too. (This is it.)If you don’t fancy it don’t worry. I’ll Play NICE anyway.

      The Nice One

    11. One way or the other, I was planning to watch the broadcast anyway; however, for the last week, I just haven't had the time to give it the attention which it probably deserves. When I do, which should be shortly, I will get back to you.

      Now, have you researched "Jest, Satire . . . " yet?

      I try to greet intelligence and learning with respect and you know how I greet wilful ignorance and stupidity and will continue to do so. "Playing nice" has nothing to do with it.

    12. @robertallen1

      I’m pleased you’ll give that show a go. It’s really quite revealing and equates with one of your anecdotes. Jest .Yes I did a little and I’m glad you asked. A comedy in three parts? It’s not cheap even second hand. Is it a large works? It’s not widely available either. But somehow I’m intrigued. If you had to mark it against say the Odyssey or some other comparative classical work of literature it would have to be a 9/10 or 10/10 for me to buy it. Is it that good? And as for playing nice, that was a lie, of which I’m sure you were aware, but then again I am a terrible fibber and that’s the truth. Come back to me after the radio show, I’m interested to hear your opinion. Please read my post about Spinoza again before listening. There's no rush.

      The Spinozist One

    13. I know the book's expensive (books published by Unger generally are) which is why I'm not happy about losing mine. If there were some way I could provide you with a copy, I would.

    14. @robertallen1

      Well Robert I’m staggered! How incredibly kind of you to say such a thing. The same goes likewise. And it would be a great honour for me to do so because I know you value it. However would you please answer the specific questions I asked? (You’re always telling others off for this. Lol irony) Then I can have a little think, we’re not beaten yet.

      The Determined One

    15. If I happen to find it or obtain another copy, I will let you.

      However, which specific questions are you referring to?

  17. @Atheist13

    Have not heard from you for a while. How's the atheism coming?

    Have you started, "Misquoting Jesus?"

  18. @Atheist13

    In a large sense, literature is anything that is written down. However, as you can guess, I use the term in a narrower, more exclusive sense.

    It’s been quite a while since I read “The Republic”, but from what I recall, it was no more than a blueprint for an idealized state, interesting from a philosophic and social point of view. All the discussions I have heard focus on the Republic itself, not on how the work is put together, not on the manner of expression and in those regards, I found nothing. Now, Michiavelli writing in a more temporal vein 1,800 years later is a different story.

    In short, in literature treatment supersedes everything—something Sartre, Disraeli and Upton Sinclair never understood and Balzac, Henry James and sometimes Zola did. Of course, I realize that in the general sense in which I began, I might simply be venturing into the realm of good literature as opposed to bad or mediocre literature, but somehow Stendahl packs more of a punch than Plato, H. G. Wells more of a wallop than Socrates and both are far more intellectually stimulating and entertaining. Perhaps this comparison is unfair, for the school of Greek philosophers of which Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were members seemed to ponder and chase after a lily-white ideal (however false), while Stendahl and H.G. Wells wallowed in the sordid real—but for both, treatment was everything.

    By the way, both commentators mentioned how popular Socrates and Plato were in their lifetimes. Are there any contemporary sources to support this? Was it a popularity among peers or were the hoi polloi included?

    At any rate, have a nice getaway.

    1. @robertallen1

      Thanks for your definition of “works of literature”. I agree with almost all you say, I was especially pleased to hear your appreciation of Stendhal. He along with Dostoyevsky gets special praise from Nietzsche as being some of the few people he actually learnt something from. I’m also interested in your spelling of Machiavelli, is this an Americanism or perhaps some “in” joke I’m missing? I’ve come across it like this before but cannot remember where or what the context was.

      “The Republic”? Where do you begin? It’s just my personal opinion and I’m sure I’m biased in favour of it but I offer it anyway. Everybody should read this book, especially those of religious persuasion. Not for any of its Philosophical content, which has so many holes in it, I liken it to a colander. But for the shear damn fine quality of its prose, and the artistry displayed in guiding the dialogue towards a search for truth and justice. (Please forgive the swearing but it’s about as expressive as I can get.)

      For its historical significance alone it’s a must read book. If you’ll excuse the pun, I feel it’s a tragedy that this plagiarized and bastardized colander of a philosophical system was then utilized for so long across Europe. Dangerous ideas can be so devastating. (Please forgive also my paltry and clumsy efforts at alliteration. I won’t even mention my “Gramma”, she was so sweet, and a high priestess of it too. I was/am a rebellious child.)

      I cannot a recommend a more contemporary interpretation of Socrates and Plato. There are many, one or two good ones a year recently, but I highly recommend this. “The Story of Philosophy” by Will Durant. I bought it as an audiobook (iPhone app store) read by Grover Cleveland. (Great voice and superb narration) You’ll get a lot more than Socrates and Plato too. 11 years of work wonderfully described in eleven hours. I imagine it to be just as good in book form. Just a little research will help you understand how these two devils gained god like status and became so beloved.

    2. Keeping to my end of the bargain, I have viewed the session on Aristotle. I learned a few things: how the term metaphysics came about and was later transmogrified, how one of Aristotle’s words was mistranslated as “soul” when it really means life itself and how few of Aristotle’s writings have come down to us. The discussion of what constitutes a “form” such as a human interested me somewhat, but only in a mathematical sense, for topology treats this very issue in a way far more appealing to me than Aristotle.
      The second to fourth types of explanation, as elucidated by Dr. Nussbaum using the analogy of a tree, really seemed to be no more than offshoots of the first, the down-to-earth.
      Halfway through the session, I began to ask myself where all this discussion of perception, etc. was leading and at the end, I had to agree with your nemesis, nowhere.
      While Dr. Nussbaum generates a considerable amount of energy and enthusiasm, Mr. Magee (do I have the name right?) displays next to none which drags the pace of the presentation (read makes it dull) and as the energy level of the first professor on Socrates and Aristotle was tantamount to Mr. Magee’s, the initial session was doubly dull. I mention this because it might have colored my judgment.
      I cannot comment on the quality of the prose in the Republic because I do not know Greek and I could better comment on “its artistry in its search for truth and justice” if I knew what you meant by this. Your description of the Republic supports my contention that it is a philosophical treatise, historically important and a must-read (even if only in part)—however, this does not place it in the category of literature, for to do so, the work must go beyond the Republic. On the other hand, Michiavelli (and this is the spelling I have always used) goes beyond the Prince. Again, I may simply be describing bad or mediocre as opposed to fine literature.
      If you will forgive the digression of an anecdote. I had a choice of choosing USC or another institution for studying for my master’s degree in literature. When I saw that half the works on USC’s required reading list (for literature, please remember) were philosophic treatises, I was so turned off that I canceled my interview and opted for the other institution.
      Again, if I may trespass on your forbearance by another anecdote. One of the courses I took for my master’s degree in literature was “Literary Self-Awareness in the Epic,” the only course open at the time. I won’t bother you with what this means as it is irrelevant to my purposes. From the first day, it became immediately apparent that the professor (of literature) was so imbued in philosophy that he had never enjoyed a single book he had ever read and therefore could communicate nothing of any value to his students except philosophical dissertations which were clearly the province of another department. On the bright side, from this professor (who had studied Homeric Greek) I learned that in sixth century B.C., the language had no optative (e.g., a way of saying, “I must go.”) In other words, the language of the Iliad and the Odyssey did not permit the person to be his own agent of obligation; such a concept came later. This the professor said offhandedly during one session, never realizing the importance of what he had glossed over, so weighted down by philosophical considerations was he.

      The point of these two anecdotes is that I fail to see how an appreciation of philosophy leads to an appreciation of literature.
      But I ramble. In keeping with the bargain, I will proceed to what I believe to be the third part, the philosophy of the Middle Ages. I hope you receive “Misquoting Jesus” (or “Forged”) soon for I am dying to read your commentary.

    3. So what's your point? So many words, no insight. You need to read about this more before you babble on so annoyingly!

  19. @Atheist13

    O.K. So besides philosophy, what are your intellectual interests?

    1. @robertallen1

      The history of philosophy and Satanism mainly. Lol

      Many, reading (sadly all too often these days it’s non-fiction) I know it sounds bland but I enjoy watching docs. (Almost any subject really, science mainly) I am regular Quiz Team player and computer gamer (Strategy).....did I say philosophy?... Just a gentle reminder.

    2. What is Quiz Team?

    3. @robertallen1

      Quiz Leagues are popular throughout the UK. (I’d be shocked if you didn’t have them in the U.S.) Usually a local league will consist of 12/20 teams of 4/6 players. It’s basically several rounds of General Knowledge Q & A, often including a picture and music round. It’s all strictly amateur and mostly a good night out, but some teams take it very, very seriously.

      League winners play off in regional finals. There is an occasional question on PHILOSOPHY but I’m on the team for having a bit of knowledge on a broad range of subjects. I enjoy the company of the smarter than average cat. Quid pro Quo Mr. Allen what floats your intellectual boat?

    4. @robertallen1

      I hope you have had a chance to taste some of the “delights” of philosophy as Plato described them. I applaud you for taking a look at something that previously left you cold. Bravo!

      Have you seen my post next but one below? I recommend using “Disqus” if you don’t already. It has built in “about” and “help” files. It is a Bank Holiday weekend here. The town I live in attracts hordes of tourists so I’m running for the hills and will get little if any computer time. Have a great weekend and I hope to catch up with you in a few days.

    5. I've gone through the interview on Plato. The history was not new to me, but I was bored, for I just couldn't care less about what is truth, beauty and especially courage. All I can say is that unlike Plato, etc., I find it futile (and unrealistic) to attempt to place these concepts on a universal mounting, for they seem to take their color from their surroundings. That's why Sophocles (a la Plato) is always able to best those whom he questions.

      In addition, unlike the two participants, I find it difficult to consider the Dialogues, the Republic, etc. as works of literature anymore than I would a history book, Gibbons sort of excepted, for his attempt to blame the fall of the Roman Empire on Christianity (a questionable hypothesis) backfired into literature.

      However, I plan to keep my end of the bargain and move on to Aristotle.

    6. @robertallen1

      Once again, very well done for carrying on with something that is obviously not to your taste. You need not go any further; I already consider your end of the bargain fulfilled. I will read “Misquoting Jesus” and give my opinion regardless. This is a documentary for those who really want to seek out the views of the interviewees and can put up with the stuffy and uninspiring presentation.

      The lack of energy you describe is typical of many philosophical debates presented by the media and is another reason for its bad reputation. There are other docs here that might be better suited if you’re interested. An appreciation of Philosophy may not come soon but in my humble opinion, given enough attention, it will surely come. Don’t take my word for it though; I’m sure you must have friends or acquaintances who can extol its virtues.

      I enjoyed your anecdotes immensely and they explain much. I know you think I overrate you, but what you described confirms my opinion that your writing skills and command of the English language are excellent. I don’t expect “Misquoting Jesus” to arrive for a few days yet, our slow postal service is even worse after Bank Holidays.

      On a bit of a tangent, when I was in the bookstore my eye was drawn to this title “Bare-faced Messiah” by Russell Miller. A quick glance told me it was about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, I put it straight back. Scientology is virtually nonexistent in this country. They call it a church but is it classed as a religion in the U.S.? Something must have stuck in my mind though because I decided to look it up online. It’s available free in pdf for download or just browse as a web page. Wikipedia has an article on it, which is where I got this from.

      “Martin Gardner’s review in Nature called Bare-faced Messiah an "admirable, meticulously documented biography".”

      I thought it might interest you.

    7. Thanks for relieving me of my commitment; however, I plan to watch the episode on Spinoza and will report back to you.

      I simply cannot be interested in everything. For example, I’ve never hankered to learn anything about chemistry although I realize that it plays a vital part in our existence—I wish I could say the same thing about philosophy.

      I have already viewed the episode on philosophy in the Middle Ages which was somewhat more palatable, as it was basically historical. Perhaps you can help. I do not understand the difficulty in refuting the ontological argument—just deny the premise by affirming the maximum. Archimedes used this affirmation to prove the number of primes to be infinite—and as a side note, Cantor discovered maxima (or the infinitely large) inside maxima., e.g., there are an infinite number of fractions and there are an infinite number of whole numbers, yet whole numbers comprise a subgroup of the fractions which leads to the puzzling, if not absurd, notion of infinities within infinities, of prime concern in group theory. This is as purely logical an argument as the ontological and at least relies on the definition of maximum rather than a shakey premise.

      Scientology, what a misleading name!, I am reminded of another anecdote. I was born at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital ten years after George Gershwin died there. You can imagine my surprise when in the 70’s, shortly after I had moved three blocks from my birthplace, I discovered that it had been desecrated: the building had been painted a ghastly purple shade and transmogrified into one the headquarters of the “Church” of Scientology. For three years, this greeted me every morning upon my awakening.

      But speaking of Scientology (and I hate dignifying it by spelling it with a capital S), to answer your question, I don’t know how it’s regarded in this country from a legal perspective. I believe the issue you are leading to is the non-taxation of churches. Deep down, I believe that churches should have to pay taxes just like any other business; however, if we required this, organizations such as Dr. Dawkins’ would probably have to as well. So it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t (I know you will appreciate the appositeness of the predicate adjective).

      As long as we’re on Dr. Dawkins, have you read his book “The Ancestor’s Tale?” If so, your thoughts.

      I hope, bank holidays and all, your post office gets back on the ball, for I am dying to hear your opinion of “Misquoting Jesus.”

    8. @robertallen1

      Noble Spinoza, I can’t help but admire him. There is so much about him that I find interesting. (Perhaps more so than his philosophy.) Again the historical significance and his background details are vital. He became a hero to me when I researched the details of his excommunication. A damning document if ever there was one. (I have an anecdote about this which reminds of me your observations regarding Professors, Philosophy and their presentations. It would need an awful lot of explaining so I’ll save it for another time perhaps.)

      Your subtle allusion to damnation was not lost on me and seems even more apt when I mention my appreciation of “Paradise Lost” as a young atheist. Just his condemnation of the rhyming couplet made me think I’m in for something special here. It seemed like a lot of hard work at the time but it was sure was worth it. He broke all the rules and made the Devil a hero, anything was possible.
      I haven’t read the “Ancestors Tale” but have read “The Selfish Gene”, “The Extended Phenotype” and “The God Delusion”. In the latter (as I’m sure you’re aware) Dawkins destroys the ontological proof for what it is, an infantile argument. I love his “Nur Nurny Nur Nur, all atheists are fools” line. When checking, I came across this a few pages further on.

      ”I mean it as a compliment when I say you could almost define a philosopher as someone who won’t take common sense for an answer.”

      On my first reading of the selfish gene, I marvelled at everything, even his referencing skills. That all came to an abrupt halt at chapter 11, (I think, it’s out on loan again) Memes, the new replicators. I felt sure his suggestion was incorrect and that I would find a flaw in it somewhere. Over the years I gradually became more accepting and nowadays refer to it often. When I think of it I’m reminded of a JFK quote that goes,

      "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on”

      Your horror story about the Cedars is very interesting. I used to have my own atheist website and was making a film for it about the power of religious buildings in the town I live. An embarrassing trailer for it still exists on “You Tube”. Sadly I closed the website down shortly after and the film was never finished. Maybe one day....

      Did you know that it is fabled that the Holy Grail is buried close to where I live? A family fable says we are related to W.T. Stead.
      I’ll let you know soon as MJ arrives. The order confirmation says 7-28 days, it had better be damn good!

    9. And speaking of Spinoza, is what you do for a living in any way related to your interests? Having a job you despise and being around people for whom you have no respect can drive you to an early grave or render you a complete misanthrope. What happened to Spinoza was nothing compared to what happened to Galileo —both suffering almost contemporaneously at the hands of religious groups.
      I find it hard to generate any enthusiasm for anyone’s view of the cosmos for, as demonstrated in the installment I viewed last night, one intelligent, well-reasoned view seems just as valid as another. As you have probably concluded, the presentation on Spinoza and Leibnitz left me cold, but one thing about Leibnitz does not. He and Newton were the first truly modern mathematicians. The concept of the derivative and everything with it, e.g., limits, revolutionized the whole concept of mathematics, propelling it from the static to the fluid and forever altering what it’s all about. True, Leibnitz’ notation won out over Newton’s (thank god! so to speak) and pretty much corresponds to what is used today, but despite the academic controversy as to who was first, I hold both men equally responsible.
      I understand why you commented on the devil in Milton. While I found Paradise Lost (and Found) Paradise Unendurable, I do have a few things to say about the devil. First of all, his incarnation as the miscreant is modern. The name Satan is the Greek word for accuser (or District Attorney, if you prefer)—and that’s how he was pictured in ancient sources, just another member of the heavenly administration cf. Lucifer or light-bearer (read third degree). From there, somehow he was demoted to a fallen angel and eventually downgraded to the miscreant we know (and either fear or respect)today. Personally, I think he was more sinned against than sinning.
      Secondly, in Germanic literature, the devil appears not hot, but ice-cold. See Goethe’s Faust—so in Grabbe’s Jest, Satire, Irony and Deeper Significance where he comes to earth as Archbishop Devil and every so often throws expensive furniture in the fire to warm himself up.. Incidentally, in addition, to bequeathing the devil his soul, the “hero” must make his son study philosophy!
      Going back to the devil and Milton, I’ve had the idea for a book entitled “The History of Hell” which traces the history of the netherworld, for as I’m sure you know, the concept of it has changed as radically as that of the devil.
      I was looking forward to your opinion regarding my comments on the non-taxation of churches and how it relates to organizations such as Dr. Dawkins’—well maybe next time. However, I wish to thank you for putting up with my anecdotes and look forward to reading yours, detailed though it may be.
      By the way, if you happen to come upon the holy grail, do not put it in the automatic dish washer, even though it will probably need a good cleaning—do it all by hand and then charge people to view it—or better yet have the Protestants and Catholics bid for it competitively.

    10. Dawkins did not destroy the Ontological Argument, sorry. No one has to date.

    11. @robertallen1

      Spinoza and Leibniz met. Not much is known about the meeting but Spinoza died just a few months later aged only 44. I feel sure you know what happened to Leibniz. My love of philosophy is strictly amateur and I don’t feel I know enough to utilise it for income. My militant antitheism (I don’t know if this counts as an interest) provides a small income.

      I worked for many years in sales and management for two global corporations. The last one (now owned by Kraft) I resigned from, even though promotions to the top positions in the UK seemed assured. Some of my family and friends thought I was crazy and put it down to a mid life crisis. I was 44 after all. Those that knew me well though, knew that it was inevitable. I didn’t despise my job at all, not only did it pay well; the perks were of the highest order too, I just felt embarrassed that that I was being so well rewarded for doing something of such little value in the world. I saw it all much like Wittgenstein described language, as a game. I didn’t want to play anymore. You were right; I had no respect for the people around me or what the company was doing. I knew I was capable of something more meaningful and satisfying.

      Now I make living working for myself. A little bit of business consultancy and project management. I am currently working on a new website that will encompass a lot more than atheism and will have a distinctly anti establishment look about it. I’m going to call it “Unkeep the Faith”

      I am delighted to hear of your thoughts on writing a book. I like the title but I suggest ...“A Brief History of Hell” ... for added zing and linked search enquires. Attach the strapline “An Enquiry into Eternal Damnation” or “An Enquiry into Unfair Damnation” and you’re on to a winner! I’d buy it. Have you published anything previously? I’ve read Faust and seen it performed but not Grabbe. I did like the expensive furniture on the fire thing, but of course, he dictates the value of things so why not. Why does the devil require the son study philosophy? And why such exclamation? A brief answer would be much appreciated. I feel fairly sure I know the answer already though! Would you also humour me in summing up “The Prince” in just two words? I’ll explain later.

      I’m sorry I didn’t respond to comments on taxation of churches and other organizations. I could offer a little hot air like all religious institutions should pay tax like any business because that’s what they are, the business of mind control. And that Scientific Foundations like Dr. Dawkins’ get all the breaks possible because they’re worthy of it. This however would not address more fundamental problems such as the nature of that mythical beast “The Economy”. On a deeper level I feel the whole monetary system needs to be junked. I’m in favour of radical reform (they say it runs in the family) and ideas like “The Venus Project” and the “Zeitgeist Movement” of which I am a member. Politics in my country is a disgraceful and corrupt game that I want no part of.

      Please forgive my late reply, I have so much on the go at the moment, I think I’m suffering from a bit of burnout. I’ve slept through almost all the last two days. Still no sign of jesus or the holy grail! I laughed heartily at your recommendations. Keeping on the philosophical trail, I have a recommendation for you “An Introduction to Metaphysics” by Henri Bergson. It’s short, very well written and easily understood. Please don’t give up on philosophy just yet. I will get to my anecdote soon but I’ve blathered on too long already today.

  20. Oh dear, my first ever comment (below) on this website looks a bit pathetic and thin now, let’s see if I can do a bit better.

    This is a treasure trove of philosophical information. Maybe the gems contained in it aren’t as bright and shiny as they could be but they’re highly valuable nonetheless. Yes it’s got lots of awkward body language and seems a bit dated and crusty, but if you can concentrate on the subject matter being discussed there’s much to enjoy.

    All the interviewees are from the upper echelons of academia, in most cases they’re experts in the field of the philosopher being discussed. Add to this that they’re interviewed by the highly underrated Brian Magee and you’ve got philosophy gold.

    There are just too many individuals concerned and the subject matter too broad and deep to offer a complete review, but I will say this. If you are new to philosophy I wouldn’t try to watch it all at once, just take one or a few philosophers at a time, you can always come back for more. Philosophy lovers however can fill their pockets with pearls of wisdom and jewels of information.

    Bryan Magee (himself an expert on Schopenhauer) was close friends with Karl Popper and wrote many philosophical works. His autobiography “Clouds of Glory” won an award in 2004.

    “Let no one delay the study of philosophy while young
    nor weary of it when old”

    Epicurus. Greek Philosopher, BC 341-270

  21. I agree with Atheist13. More philosophy please! It's kind of important.

  22. Thanks Vlatko, great site. More philosophy please!

    I reccomend this doc for anyone who has an interest in the big questions of life, examined or otherwise.

  23. Okay, here's how we can determine wether you're into science or philosphy: Aristotle or Plato. Your choice is the distinctive line of divison between the love of philosophy and nazi experiments on mother nature. I'm a Platonian follower, and I love his Utupia. I just agree with Plato on 99.99% of his philosophy.

    1. Plato is clever but there are limitations to concepts, the world of forms and dualism. Modern science explains a lot that Plato attributed to the 'soul'.

    2. Have a look at the Philosophy of death course at Yale on the above link to delve deeper into the philosophy of soul.

    3. I recently realized how dissatisfied I am with a philosophy that requires two worlds to explain this one. Then you have to create or discover methods by which the two worlds interact.

      There was a recent Scientific American exploration of the big bang. One of the theories (at least) ends up with an infinite number of universes. In several (or infinitely many actually) other universe there would be near copies of you, the Earth, and everything you know. The author said, "A theory that explains everything, explains nothing."

      It really is a bit of a cop out to say "I can explain this world. All I need is an entire other world." This is what Plato's world of forms is. And it leads to a devastating detachment from this real world that actually exists and I am sending this message to you through.

    4. Also, the Platonic era is known as the Dark Ages, when all knowledge was handed down from on-high from the Pope who has received it from divine inspiration. There was no new knowledge derived from the actual world for a thousand years! That is your Plato.

    5. Also, stop using your computer. Computers implement logic, which was not the product of Plato, it was the product of Aristotle.

  24. I've just begun this series and greatly appreciate the candid and conversational tone of it. Reading a few of the other comments, I must insist that philosophers have no need to take "talking head" classes -- at least they didn't back during these days, and I, for one, appreciate it. These are philosophers doing what philosophers do -- talking, thinking, dialoging, asking questions, following logic.

    Science was once simply an arm of philosophy, thus it was originally called the philosophy of science. I love both!

  25. thank you. This in depth informative and provocative series of conversations opened up new factors I'd not yet realized.

  26. @NaughtyGnosiophile


    Here are a few comments from a few Scientists.

    A theory is an ephemeral attempt to explain facts not an everlasting truth in it self.

    Niels Bohr: “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.”

    Max Born: “I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.”

    Werner Heisenberg: “Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves.”

    Wolfgang Pauli: What really matters for me is … the more active role of the observer in quantum physics … According to quantum physics the observer has indeed a new relation to the physical events around him in comparison with the classical observer, who is merely a spectator.

    Sounds like Philosophy to me...

    1. its cloesly related not the same, both are intelectuall practises which deals with deep questions

  27. @cas

    "Philosophers are at best lazy wannabe scientists."

    You could say it's the other way around too. Science is an implementation of empiricism, which is a school of thought within epistemology, which is a branch of philosophy.

    Some philosophers extrapolate too much from a partial understanding of the math or science (philosophers often misunderstand Goedel). But scientists also try to play philosopher (Dawkins and his crusade against God). I don't view either as a bad thing, because it means we're drawn to each other's fields of expertise and open to learning.

    "They invent nothing..."

    Technically, scientists invent nothing either. They just discover things. Once you invent something, you're an engineer.

    You could say that mathematicians and philosophers invent more than scientists do, because they actually *make it all up*. Mathematicians invent systems of mathematics and philosophers invent systems of metaphysics.

    "...most have been scientifically WRONG throughout history."

    Most *scientists* have been scientifically wrong throughout history. Out of the bajillion hypotheses put forward every second, the vast majority of them get shot down during the rigorous scientific process. Even our most robust hypotheses (now graduated to theories), quantum physics and relativity, are *probably wrong* because they give 2 inconsistent views of the Universe.

    There's nothing wrong with being wrong. We are all wrong about most things most of the time. It's about learning from those wrongs to move in the right direction.

    1. you suck!

    2. Science and philosophy are very closely related.
      Science discovers new things and how the universe works however some things cant be solved with science and thaths were philosophy comes in to define morality and to understand life and its meaning.

    3. Philosophy is not completed in a lab, with predictable results. What if science has described all those topics, morality and lifes meanings, however you are lookin for an objective answer tat aplies to everyone. Science today has come to the conclusion that mind is a concept created by the brain. Philosophy is beautiful, science is emprical, observable, predictable, and reliable. Life has plety of meaning, however it does not appear to be predetermined,and anyything other than subjective positions. I do not see any evidence of "meaning" as you are seeking. Though I feel I have found mine. Over 99 percent of all species that have existed are now extinct, this does not look like supernatural meaning. But I have found more meaning, I feel, in my son, science, philosophy, art, literature, etc. We will either evolve or go extinct like every other species, meaning will be found subjectively by whatever is currently alive and breathing. Its a beutiful beutiful world, but its not magic :^) I would suggest reading Sam Harris "the Moral Landscape" He is a neurologist and has a masters in philosophy, this book poses the question, can science determine morality and values, good and bad, etc?

  28. @Epicurean_Logic

    Use yourself for proof. Much more fun than logic. I'm sure you'll find a contradiction or two. I did..

    I’ve been re-reading some C G Jung and just finished Symbols of Transformation, Archetypes and the Coll Uncon and Memories, Dreams, Reflections. I’m boning up for The Red Book. Exciting eh?

  29. @MyBrother,

    Thankfully, Stephen520 posted his review when I was online and I noticed it. Somehow it slipped my attention up until that point.

    I have been watching this while concurrently reading an antiquarian book called 'system of logic' by J. Stuart Mill published by The Silver library. I picked it up for a small fee at my local charity shop. Some of the ideas overlap and it is a useful memory aid to take in data through two differing mediums.

    On a surprising note I actually understand the ontological proof of Gods existence! It is a proof by contradiction. I am trying to find the holes in it. Watch this space.

  30. @Epicurean_Logic

    I am really surprised you just found this!

  31. Plato would have loved this series: two people sitting on a sofa and philosophising. No explosions, fancy special effects, emotive language or distracting music just deep discussion in its purest form.

    A bit of a slow burner but overall very good and packed with information. 9/10.

  32. Awesome documentary perfect to listen to while cleaning house or paying games.

  33. @cas
    Philosophers are not "at best lazy wannabe scientists", in their earliest forms science and philosophy were very much intertwined disciplines, maybe even consider how you define a 'scientist' and work on explaining how they are different. Also, many of the concepts philosophers analyse demand the fine-tuning of abstract theoretical understanding through discussion rather than lab tests.

    I thought this was an excellent series...
    yes it was dated
    yes the experts had slightly awkward nerdy body language but frankly, being invited to speak at that academic level for a television series is probably more than you will ever achieve to earn peoples respect of your intellect^

    Good information there, very interesting.

    thanks for the upload!

  34. before you say anything bad about philosophy read philosophy, read philosophers like Descartes, and ask yourself how did the scientific method became to be? "I doubt(think) therefore I am" -Descartes

  35. Boo to all those who make fun of this. Go watch a Brittney Spears video. Alex, I wish we were neighbors.

  36. Wow. To hear that almost everyone thinks this stuff is boring really exemplifies how sheep-like people can be. I don't mean to offend, but really? Just because there's no pretty pictures, explosions or boobs, does not mean it's not interesting enough to gain our full attention.

    I think people have these preconceived ideas of what they THINK philosophy is, and simply categorize this intellectual conversation as useless, boring, or absent practicality.

    Everyone who questions the things we normally take for granted is a philosopher in their own right. The problems we face today are a direct result of us not questioning things and being spoon-fed ideas and information. Why can't everyday people talk like this on the street, at work, or in the coffee shop? This is a much more productive use of language and time. Much better than talking about the weather, the news, sports, or sharing office jokes. We'd all be better critical thinkers if we discussed philosophical ideas.

    Philosophy is not about the people who write books and go to university, but about looking at ordinary things and asking extraordinary questions. Socrates in fact did not write anything and I fell exemplified what it means to be a philosopher. Engaging in intellectual conversation with people in your community and living by the conclusions you have arrived at through philosophy.

    I crave this type of discussion and hope to see more videos like this in the future. The advent of YouTube opens the floodgates for such ideas to be expressed. It's up to us to take advantage of our tools of communication to expand our awareness and understanding of each other and ultimately universal existence.

  37. Back for seconds. These are the best documentaries I've found on this site. It's a pity British telly isn't like this anymore, everything's just a cheap copy of American light entertainment.

  38. Very entertaining, thank you...(wince, as I feel myself, metaphorically being pelted with 'little' stones). :) I clicked into a program which read INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN PHILOSOPHY, and, alas, that is what I heard. And while I do appreciate, sometimes, the National Geographic and Indiana Jones type presentation (multi-media graphics and sound), I also appreciate the 'simple' presentation of ideas, thoughts, information, argument. That the study of philosophy from it's (recorded, at least) beginnings to today offers us the HOW TO ask ourselves the questions that are important to us, may indeed be the road map that assists in enough general agreement to both save the earth and humanity through the challenging times of today.Not for the first time, but perhaps this time as Materialism breaks heads with Humanism it is billions, not thousands of lives, perhaps existence not just quality of existence that weighs into the process and the outcomes. Asking the right questions, research, intelligent argument, and then PLEASE listening to and active response to the warnings and theoretical conclusions reached by WISE minds will decide whether we have, and if we do, what kind of future we will have... Some say that the only moral questions of today are Environmental...If anyone will win the argument 'so to speak' against unchecked materialism it will be those with a Philosophic mind. For this I am willing to Listen and Learn and Ask myself and others a few questions.The art of Conversation may again return (assuming it can also be linked to a blog,Twitter, etc :). Again, excellent and entertaining!

  39. @ dread
    on which ancient stones you excavated you read this?
    please share with us your valuable indications.

    otherwise keep your stories for your half wise mates.


  40. Philosophers are at best lazy wannabe scientists. They invent nothing, but are men who used their charms for their opinions to be heard and most have been scientifically WRONG throughout history.

  41. Are these recordings available for sale ?

  42. @Jack - I'm pretty sure Peter Singer is in here. I haven't watched through the playlist, so maybe the person who made the playlist didn't include it, but I've seen an episode where Peter Singer talks about Hegel before. Search youtube for it if it isn't in this playlist. Not sure about Bernard Williams.

    1. If one read a book on the history of philosophy, isn't one to some extent reading _about_ philosophy? One would probably also be reading philosophy, but at the same time also reading about it.
    2. Yes, but they never dream. At least, they don't remember dreaming when they wake up.
    3. I don't know man, that one blew my mind.

  43. I can understand people saying they find this a bit boring or long-winded but the format of pure conversation means these are among the most in-depth philosophy documentaries you'll find.

    Philosophy isn't a subject where pictures and diagrams necessarily help, there's nothing that has to be demonstrated, it can all be explained or referenced.

    I've found these very informative, it's nice to here experts talking in plain language rather than some celebrity dumbing everything down.

  44. The contributors include A.J. Ayer, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, and John Searle? Well you got three right. You better check this again. The contributors actually include Miles Burnyeat, Martha Nussbaum, Anthony Kenny, Anthony Quinton, Iris Murdoch, Hilary Putnam, John Serle, A.J. Ayer, John Passmore, and Goeffry Warnock.

    I have some of questions.
    1. How does one read 'about' philosophy?
    2. Do flies actually sleep?
    3. What exactly does this mean? "i feel myself as if i were"

  45. Wow.

    I was really interested in this documentary. I like reading about philosophy and figured this would be really good.

    Until about fifteen minutes in when it occured to me that they were going to go on like that for five hours.

    It's like watching flies sleep.

  46. nostalgic..i feel myself as if i were in one of those boring lessons and cant help yawning...

  47. Couldn't stop thinking of a Monty Python sketch. Had John Cleese written all over it!

  48. @dread

    "European don´t have a clear history of their own"....

    I dont know what you are talking about, I find pretty difficult to imagine a place with more history per sqkm than

  49. WHAT?! Why are there no pretty pictures and bright flashing colors in this documentary?


  50. Philosophy is only a bore (in most cases) while listening to academics banter between each other. Individuals are attracted to any given subject matter two ways. One is its appeal, the other is coercion, as in, it’s required for the attainment of a given personal goal.

    The latter has no need for explanation. A subject’s appeal is another story. It’s emotional at some level, if it’s only that you find it interesting. You then proceed to study and research your interest and draw your conclusions.

    Conclusions may be true or false. In order to determine the correctness of the conclusions you must have the ability to use logic and critical thinking. The answers must hold up against all criticisms. That is the realm of Philosophy. There is no room for emotion in the process other than attraction to the subject matter.

    Alas, today there is a lack of critical thinking and a wealth of emotional conclusions. The Golden Ages of Egypt, Greece, Rome and all others have fallen by their own swords and degenerated. Their ethnicity is of no importance. The important questions are why they fell and are we aware of whether or not we are falling into the same traps? So what is truth or what is the Self, anything or nothing, fact or illusion?

  51. *shakes head* ^^^ do you REALLY believe the egyptians, ect practiced philosophy?

  52. Thank you for this site. Liberates me from watching tv and all its inner crap

  53. F*** I fell asleep after the third guy. Man though, WTF NERDS. Hahaha. I spent more time laughing at their awkward body language/nil social skill facial expressions more than paying attention to what they were saying.

    I awoke during the segment on Descartes, Sponanza (w/e) and Liibra (f*** I don't know). THAT sounded much more interesting than Plato. So it probably gets better as the timeline moves farther right. I'll be back to provide a proper critique within the month.

    Thank-you for adding this though Vlatko, the philosophy section needs some more junk in the trunk.

  54. White superiority......

    Greeks were the first to rob ideas from the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians etc;.

    Greeks were colonialists, & the last to know that the earth was around. As white Europeans do not have a clear history of their own, Greece is a propaganda to present their image.

  55. @afly_on_the_wall

    ahhaha I know what you mean, but for me Its one of those things you watch whenever you feel like your ready to listen to them as long as you want to without any pictures or diagrams.

    But I agree with you that those additions may make the show more appealing and palatable. But I commend the show for emphasizing on the philosophy itself rather than sanitizing it with overblown special effects.

  56. i wanted to like this one. but i just couldn't keep my mind focused on these guys talking for 5 hours. i guess I'm just the type that needs pictures and diagrams. and some back ground music.