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Aesthetics

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  1. 2.4 hrs • 9/7/2016 • Unabridged

    The dramatic nature of Plato’s dialogues is delightfully evident in Symposium. The marriage between character and thought bursts forth as the guests gather at Agathon’s house to celebrate the success of his first tragedy. With wit and insight, they all present their ideas about love - from Erixymachus’ scientific naturalism to Aristophanes’ comic fantasy. The unexpected arrival of Alcibiades breaks the spell cast by Diotima’s ethereal climb up the staircase of love to beauty itself. Ecstasy and intoxication clash as Plato concludes with one of his most skillful displays of dialectic.

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    Plato's Symposium

    Read by Ray Childs
    2.4 hrs • 9/7/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0.6 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    Socrates questions Ion, an actor who just won a major prize, about his ability to interpret the epic poetry of Homer. How does an actor, a poet, or any other artist create? Is it by knowing? Is it by inspiration? As the dialogue proceeds, the nature of human creativity emerges as a mysterious process and an unsolved puzzle. © Agora Publications

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    Plato's Ion

    Read by Ray Childs
    0.6 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 3.7 hrs • 9/5/2016 • Unabridged

    Art is the creative manifestation of essences. In order to understand the relation between art and reality, we need a philosophical guide. The best way to comprehend how the creative act of imagining enables the mind to seek reality is to employ the kind of dialectical thinking that Plato used in his dialogues. Beginning with the shadows on the wall of the cave in which each person dwells, that process gradually enables us to grasp the essences that are manifested in individual works of art. Without a philosophical guide, we are likely to encounter only a blur of images in the visual arts, a cacophony of sounds in music, a whirl of activity in the theater, and chaos in the building of cities. It is too much to expect a set of final answers to any serious question about what is true, good, or beautiful. If we abandon the quest for reality, we settle for too little. Plato’s dialectical approach offers a path between Scylla and Charybdis.

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    Reality and the Arts

    3.7 hrs • 9/5/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 7.4 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    Just as Susan Sontag did for photography and Marshall McLuhan did for television, Virginia Heffernan (called one of the “best living writers of English prose”) reveals the logic and aesthetics behind the Internet. Since its inception, the Internet has morphed from merely an extension of traditional media into its own full-fledged civilization. It is among mankind’s great masterpieces—a massive work of art. As an idea, it rivals monotheism. We all inhabit this fascinating place. But its deep logic, its cultural potential, and its societal impact often elude us. In this deep and thoughtful book, Virginia Heffernan presents an original and far-reaching analysis of what the Internet is and does. Life online, in the highly visual, social, portable, and global incarnation rewards certain virtues. The new medium favors speed, accuracy, wit, prolificacy, and versatility, and its form and functions are changing how we perceive, experience, and understand the world.

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    Magic and Loss

    Read by Candace Thaxton, with introduction read by Virginia Heffernan
    7.4 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 3.3 hrs • 4/26/2011 • Unabridged

    Immanuel Kant’s Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, first published in 1785, lays out Kant’s essential philosophy and defines the concepts and arguments that would shape his later work. Central to Kant’s doctrine is the categorical imperative, which he defines as a mandate that human actions should always conform to a universal, unchanging standard of rational morality. Directly opposed to utilitarian philosophy, Kant’s theories have been broadly influential since their publication and stand as a seminal contribution to ethical thought. Although Kant expanded upon the ideas defined here in his later work, including the Critique of Pure Reason and the Metaphysics of Morals, it is in his Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals that they are communicated in their most clear, concise form. This edition is the translation by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott.

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  6. 6.5 hrs • 7/23/2008 • Unabridged

    What Is Art? is the result of fifteen years’ reflection on the nature and purpose of art. Tolstoy claims that all good art is related to the authentic life of the broader community and that the aesthetic value of a work of art is not independent of its moral content. The book is noteworthy not only for its famous iconoclasm and compelling attacks on the aestheticist notion of “art for art’s sake” but even more for its wit, its lucid and beautiful prose, and its sincere expression of the deepest social conscience. Tolstoy is an author critics typically rank alongside Shakespeare and Homer. A sustained consideration of the cultural import of art by someone who was himself an artist of the highest stature will always remain relevant and fascinating to anyone interested in the place of art and literature in society.

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    What Is Art? by Leo Tolstoy

    What Is Art?

    Translated by Aylmer Maude
    6.5 hrs • 7/23/08 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.7 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    The Architecture of Happiness is a dazzling journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations. One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings, and streets that surround us. And yet, a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential. Whereas many architects are wary of openly discussing the word beauty, this book has at its center the large and naïve question: What is a beautiful building?

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    The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

    The Architecture of Happiness

    4.7 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
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