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  1. 10.7 hrs • 8/30/2016 • Unabridged

    The author of the classic The Dream of Reason vividly explains the rise of modern thought. Western philosophy is now two-and-a-half millennia old, but much of it came in just two staccato bursts, each lasting only about 150 years. In his landmark survey of Western philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, The Dream of Reason, Anthony Gottlieb documented the first burst, which came in the Athens of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Now, in The Dream of Enlightenment, Gottlieb expertly navigates a second great explosion of thought, taking us to northern Europe in the wake of its wars of religion and the rise of Galilean science. In a relatively short period—from the early 1640s to the eve of the French Revolution—Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume all made their mark. The Dream of Enlightenment tells their story and that of the birth of modern philosophy. As Gottlieb explains, all these men were amateurs: none had much to do with any university. They tried to fathom the implications of the new science and of religious upheaval, which led them to question traditional teachings and attitudes. What does the advance of science entail for our understanding of ourselves and for our ideas of God? How should a government deal with religious diversity—and what, actually, is government for? Such questions remain our questions, which is why Descartes, Hobbes, and the others are still pondered today. Yet it is because we still want to hear them that we can easily get these philosophers wrong. It is tempting to think they speak our language and live in our world; but to understand them properly, we must step back into their shoes. Gottlieb puts listeners in the minds of these frequently misinterpreted figures, elucidating the history of their times and the development of scientific ideas while engagingly explaining their arguments and assessing their legacy in lively prose. With chapters focusing on Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Pierre Bayle, Leibniz, Hume, Rousseau, and Voltaire—and many walk-on parts—The Dream of Enlightenment creates a sweeping account of what the Enlightenment amounted to, and why we are still in its debt.

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    The Dream of Enlightenment by Anthony Gottlieb

    The Dream of Enlightenment

    10.7 hrs • 8/30/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 4.5 hrs • 8/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, and during that time, he kept several collections of journals that contained personal notes, militaristic strategy, and ideas on Stoic philosophy. While unlikely that he ever intended to publicly publish these journals, there is no real official title, so most often “Meditations” is used because of his in-depth writings on philosophy. These journals give an introspective look at how and why Marcus Aurelius’ operated as an emperor. This informative piece of history contains twelve sections that each chronicle different parts of Aurelius’ life, including his source of guidance, self-improvement tips, and his ideas on how to analyze yourself and adjust your attitude to become a better person or leader.

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    Meditations

    4.5 hrs • 8/19/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 26.5 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    A timeless volume to be treasured, The Stone Reader provides an unparalleled overview of contemporary philosophy. Once solely the province of ivory tower professors and college classrooms, contemporary philosophy was finally emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when the Stone was launched in the New York Times. First appearing as an online series, the column quickly attracted millions of readers through its accessible examination of universal topics like the nature of science, consciousness, and morality, while also probing more contemporary issues such as the morality of drones, gun control, and the gender divide. The Stone Reader presents 133 meaningful and influential essays from the series, placing nearly the entirety of modern philosophical discourse in the listener’s reach. The audiobook, divided into four broad sections: Philosophy, Science, Religion and Morals, and Society, opens with a series of questions about the scope, history, and identity of philosophy. What are the practical uses of philosophy? Does the discipline, begun in the West in ancient Greece with Socrates, favor men and exclude women? Does the history and study of philosophy betray a racial bias against nonwhite thinkers, or geographical bias toward the West? These questions and others form a foundation for listeners as the audiobook moves to the second section, Science, where some of our most urgent contemporary philosophical debates are taking place. Will artificial intelligence compromise our morality? Does neuroscience undermine our free will? Is there a legitimate place for the humanities in a world where science and technology appear to rule? Should the evidence for global warming change the way we live or die? In the book’s third section, Religion and Morals, we find philosophy where it is often at its best, working through the arguments provoked by competing moral theories in the face of real-life issues and rigorously addressing familiar ethical dilemmas in a new light. Can we have a true moral life without belief in God? What are the dangers of moral relativism? In its final part, Society, The Stone Reader returns to its origins as a forum to encourage philosophers who are willing to engage closely, critically, and analytically with the affairs of the day, including economic inequality, technology, and racial discrimination. In directly confronting events like the September 11 attacks, the killing of Trayvon Martin, and the Sandy Hook School massacre, the essays here reveal the power of philosophy to help shape our viewpoints on nearly every issue we face today.

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    The Stone Reader by Peter Catapano, Simon Critchley

    The Stone Reader

    Edited and introduced by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley
    26.5 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    5.8 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged

    This compassionate, personal, and illuminating work of nonfiction draws on the author’s celebrated work as a director of socially conscious theater to connect listeners with the power of an ancient artistic tradition. For years, Bryan Doerries has been producing ancient tragedies for current and returned servicemen and women, addicts, tornado and hurricane victims, and a wide range of other at-risk people in society. Here, drawing on these extraordinary firsthand experiences, Doerries clearly and powerfully illustrates the redemptive and therapeutic potential of this classical, timeless art: how, for example, Ajax can help soldiers and their loved ones grapple with PTSD, or how Prometheus Bound provides insights into the modern penal system. Doerries is an original and magnanimous thinker, and The Theater of War—wholly unsentimental but intensely felt and emotionally engaging—is a humane, knowledgeable, and accessible book that will inspire and inform listeners, showing them that suffering and healing are both part of a timeless process.

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    The Theater of War by Bryan Doerries

    The Theater of War

    5.8 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 5.4 hrs • 8/1/2015 • Unabridged

    Thinkers have been fascinated by paradox since long before Aristotle grappled with Zeno’s. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Margaret Cuonzo explores paradoxes and the strategies used to solve them. She finds that paradoxes are more than mere puzzles but can prompt new ways of thinking. A paradox can be defined as a set of mutually inconsistent claims, each of which seems true. Paradoxes emerge not just in salons and ivory towers but in everyday life. (An Internet search for “paradox” brings forth a picture of an ashtray with a “no smoking” symbol inscribed on it.) Proposing solutions, Cuonzo writes, is a natural response to paradoxes. She invites us to rethink paradoxes by focusing on strategies for solving them, arguing that there is much to be learned from this, regardless of whether any of the more powerful paradoxes is even capable of solution. Cuonzo offers a catalog of paradox-solving strategies—including the Preemptive-Strike (questioning the paradox itself), the Odd-Guy-Out (calling one of the assumptions into question), and the You-Can’t-Get-There-from-Here (denying the validity of the reasoning). She argues that certain types of solutions work better in some contexts than others, and that as paradoxicality increases, the success of certain strategies grows more unlikely. Cuonzo shows that the processes of paradox generation and solution proposal are interesting and important ones. Discovering a paradox leads to advances in knowledge: new science often stems from attempts to solve paradoxes, and the concepts used in the new sciences lead to new paradoxes. As Niels Bohr wrote, “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”

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    Paradox by Margaret Cuonzo
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  6. 3.8 hrs • 6/30/2015 • Unabridged

    The Upanishads are often considered the most important literature from ancient India. Yet many academic translators fail to capture the work’s philosophical and spiritual subtlety, while others convey its poetry at the cost of literal meaning. This new translation by Vernon Katz and Thomas Egenes fills the need for an Upanishads that is clear, simple, and insightful—yet remains faithful to the original Sanskrit. As Western Sanskrit scholars who have spent their lives immersed in meditative practice, Katz and Egenes offer a unique perspective in penetrating the depths of Eastern wisdom and expressing these insights in modern yet poetic language. Their historical introduction is suited to newcomers and experienced readers alike, providing the perfect entry to this unparalleled work.

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    The Upanishads

    Translated and with an introduction by Vernon Katz and Thomas Egenes
    Read by Tom Perkins
    3.8 hrs • 6/30/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 6.3 hrs • 4/7/2015 • Unabridged

    In The Social Contract, Rousseau explores the concept of freedom and the political structures that may enable people to acquire it. He argues that the sovereign power of a state lies not in any one ruler, but in the will of the general population, and that the ideal state would be a direct democracy where executive decision-making is carried out by citizens who meet in assembly, as they would in the ancient city-state of Athens. The thoughts contained in the work were instrumental to the advent of the American Revolution and became sacred to those leading the French Revolution. With traces of Aristotle and echoes of Plato’s Republic, The Social Contract is an exhilarating look at society and the definition of democracy.

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    The Social Contract

    6.3 hrs • 4/7/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    34.9 hrs • 1/27/2015 • Unabridged

    This seventh volume of Will and Ariel Durant’s renowned Story of Civilization chronicles the history of European civilization from 1558 to 1648. The Age of Reason Begins brings together a fascinating network of stories in the discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs and greater artists—on the one hand, Elizabeth I of England, Philip II of Spain, and Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne, and Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Francis Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Descartes, the fathers of modern science and philosophy. But it is equally an age of extreme violence, a moment in which all Europe was embroiled in the horrible Thirty Years’ War—in some respects, the real first world war. This chapter in cultural history is one that can’t be missed.

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    The Age of Reason Begins by Will Durant, Ariel Durant

    The Age of Reason Begins

    34.9 hrs • 1/27/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 5.2 hrs • 12/9/2014 • Abridged

    René Descartes is one of the formative figures in Western philosophy, logic, and mathematics. His famous statement, “I think, therefore I am,” has become perhaps the most famous phrase in all of philosophy. Descartes’s groundbreaking writings attempted to establish unshakeable foundations of knowledge and set a trend for subsequent Western philosophy, which has endlessly critiqued and expanded upon his ideas.

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    Descartes

    5.2 hrs • 12/9/14 • Abridged
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  10. 6.1 hrs • 11/13/2014 • Unabridged

    In 1869, at the age of twenty-four, Friedrich Nietzsche was appointed a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel, a remarkable position for one of his age. The Birth of Tragedy, published in 1872, was his first significant publication. It did little, however, to help his reputation as a scholar; his views were controversial and aroused strong criticism in some quarters. Nietzsche later reissued The Birth of Tragedy in 1886 under the title The Birth of Tragedy, or Hellenism and Pessimism, introducing it with “An Attempt at a Self-Criticism.” This audiobook includes this preface.

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    The Birth of Tragedy

    6.1 hrs • 11/13/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 2.5 hrs • 11/5/2014 • Unabridged

    Skills and experience might land you a leadership position, but they don’t make you a true leader. Leadership comes from inside—and the greatest leaders first question themselves before they tackle the world around them. To aid in this critical interrogation, The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership explores ideas from Aristotle, Heraclitus, Sophocles, Hesiod, and other great thinkers, including: Know thyselfDo not waste energy on things you cannot changeNurture communityAlways embrace the truthLet competition reveal talentLive life by a higher codeUnderstand that character is destiny Then it shows you how to take each idea—along with what you’ve learned about yourself—and apply it to the challenges of the modern workplace. As Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great, you too will learn what it takes to conquer all.

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    The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership by M. A. Soupios, Panos Mourdoukoutas

    The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership

    2.5 hrs • 11/5/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 5.7 hrs • 10/16/2014 • Unabridged

    From Eric Kaplan, acclaimed comedy writer, scholar, and coexecutive producer of The Big Bang Theory, comes a humorous philosophical investigation into the existence of Santa. Metaphysics isn’t ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there. Just like Santa and his reindeer. Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: there are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist?, Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal—and failed. From there he turns to mysticism’s attempts to resolve such paradoxes, surveying Buddhism, Taoism, early Christianity, and Theosophy. Finally, this brilliant comic writer alights on—surprise—comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life, using examples from The Big Bang Theory, Monty Python’s cheese shop sketch, and many other pop-culture sources. Kaplan delves deeper into what this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life’s biggest questions: If we’re all going to die, what’s the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?

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    Does Santa Exist?

    5.7 hrs • 10/16/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 5.0 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    Aristotle was the third key figure among the philosophers of Ancient Greece, after Socrates and Plato. Here, extensive sections of the main works for which he is still respected are given, following accessible introductions setting the scene.

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    Aristotle

    5.0 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 2.0 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    What on earth is postmodernism? Here, at last, is the perfect audio guide to the maddeningly enigmatic concept that has been used to describe our cultural condition in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Postmodernism claims that “modernity,” which grew from the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century through the Industrial Revolution and on to Marxism, has collapsed, its great project of human liberation suffocated under its own contradictions. For some, this is a good thing, a liberation from a repressive and authoritarian culture; for others, it is an abdication of responsibility that shows how far we have declined. If there is a “real” postmodernism, it needs to be identified in all of the many fields of culture in turn, and this is exactly what Richard Appignanesi does here. As author of the bestselling book Introducing Postmodernism, he takes the listener on a roller-coaster ride through the key areas of postmodern debate in art, philosophy, architecture, literature, science, anthropology, sociology, and much else besides. Along the way, he explains the essentials of structuralism, semiotics, and deconstruction as developed by Foucault, Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, and others. This is a crucial guide for anyone wanting to understand the kaleidoscope of competing perspectives that is postmodernism.

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    Introducing Postmodernism

    Written and read by Richard Appignanesi
    With Chris Garratt, Ziauddin Sardar, and Patrick Curry
    2.0 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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  15. 7.3 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The philosophy of Ancient Greece provides the background of Western ethical thought and politics. In this approachable introduction, Tom Griffith, a leading translator of Plato, covers everything from pre-Socratics through Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and the Epicureans. These figures are introduced before a compilation of key texts in lively translations.

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    Ancient Greek Philosophy

    Read by various narrators
    7.3 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 4.7 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The Trial and Death of Socrates remains a powerful document, partly because it is a true—perhaps in certain parts verbatim—account of the end of one of the greatest figures in history. In The Apology, Socrates defends himself before the Athenian court against charges of corrupting youth. Phaedo is the account, by a young man, of the actual last words and moments of Socrates. These are presented with scene-setting introductions to the historical situation.

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    Trial and Death of Socrates

    4.7 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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