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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 14.6 hrs • 10/29/2013 • Unabridged

    Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling historian James MacGregor Burns explores the most daring and productive intellectual movement in history, the European and American Enlightenment. In this engaging history, James MacGregor Burns brings to vivid life the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, during which audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, bringing down governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments that would ultimately reach every corner of the globe. Unlike most historians, Burns pays particular attention to America’s intellectual revolution, beginning and ending his story on American soil. He discovers the origins of our domestic enlightenment in men like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality, and he highlights the role of thinkers like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. After all, it was the American founders, alone among Enlightenment thinkers, who actually carried through with their ideas. Today the same questions Enlightenment thinkers grappled with have taken on new urgency around the world: in the blossoming Arab Spring, in the former Soviet Union, China, and in the United States. What should a nation be? What should a citizenry expect from its government? Who should lead and decide? How can citizens effect change? What is happiness, and what can the state contribute to it? Burns’ exploration of the ideals and arguments that formed the bedrock of our nation shines a new light on these ever-important questions.

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    Fire and Light

    14.6 hrs • 10/29/13 • Unabridged
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  6. 13.8 hrs • 5/28/2013 • Unabridged

    From Aristotle to Wittgenstein and Zizek, 50 Philosophy Classics provides a lively entry point to the field of philosophy. Analyses of key works by Descartes, Schopenhauer, Hegel, Heidegger, and Nietzsche also show how philosophy helped shape the thinking and events of the last 150 years. The list also includes twentieth-century greats including de Beauvoir, Foucault, Kuhn, and Sartre, along with contemporary philosophy including the writings and ideas of Peter Singer, Noam Chomsky, Harry Frankfurt, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 50 Philosophy Classics explores key writings that have shaped the discipline and impacted the real world. From Aristotle, Plato, and Epicurus in ancient times, to John Stuart Mill’s manifesto for individual freedom and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s struggle to understand fate as person versus the universe. Most notably, Butler-Bowdon takes listeners beyond the twentieth century to introduce contemporary thinkers like Slavoj Zizek, who suggests that the fight for food and water, a bio-genetic and social revolution, indicate the apocalyptic end of global liberal capitalism.

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    50 Philosophy Classics

    13.8 hrs • 5/28/13 • Unabridged
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  7. 4.0 hrs • 9/30/2011 • Unabridged

    First published in 1710, George Berkeley’s A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge is a seminal contribution to Empiricist philosophy. Making the bold assertion that the physical world consists only of ideas and thus does not exist outside the mind, this work establishes Berkeley as the founder of the immaterialist school of thought. A major influence on such later philosophers as David Hume and Immanuel Kant, Berkeley’s ideas have played a role in such diverse fields as mathematics and metaphysics and continue to spark debate today.

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  8. 8.2 hrs • 8/3/2010 • Unabridged

    This is one of the most important works written by Nietzsche and represents his attempt to sum up his philosophy. The great nineteenth-century philosopher refines his previously expressed ideal of the superman in this work, a fascinating examination of human values and morality. It takes up and expands on the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but approaches it from a more critical, polemical stance. In nine parts, this book is designed to give listeners a comprehensive idea of Nietzsche’s thought and style. In Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche attacks past philosophers for their alleged lack of critical sense and their blind acceptance of Christian premises in their consideration of morality. The work moves into the realm “beyond good and evil” in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality, which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique, in favor of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the contextual nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual. Of the four “late-period” writings of Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil most closely resembles the aphoristic style of his middle period. In it he exposes the deficiencies of those usually called “philosophers” and identifies the qualities of the “new philosophers”: imagination, self-assertion, danger, originality, and the “creation of values.” Religion and the master and slave moralities feature prominently as Nietzsche re-evaluates deeply-held humanistic beliefs, portraying even domination, appropriation, and injury to the weak as not universally objectionable.

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    Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

    Beyond Good and Evil

    Translated by Helen Zimmern
    8.2 hrs • 8/3/10 • Unabridged
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  9. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    10.0 hrs • 1/1/2009 • Unabridged

    After the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957, Ayn Rand turned to nonfiction writing and occasional lecturing. Her aim was to bring her philosophy to a wider audience and to apply it to current cultural and political issues. The taped lectures and the question-and-answer sessions that followed added not only an eloquent new dimension to Ayn Rand’s ideas and beliefs but also a fresh and spontaneous insight into Ayn Rand herself. Ayn Rand Answers is a collection of those enlightening Q&As. Topics covered include ethics, Ernest Hemingway, modern art, Vietnam, Libertarians, Jane Fonda, religious conservatives, Hollywood communists, atheism, Don Quixote, abortion, gun control, love and marriage, Ronald Reagan, pollution, the Middle East, racism and feminism, crime and punishment, capitalism, prostitution, homosexuality, reason and rationality, literature, drug use, freedom of the press, Richard Nixon, New Left militants, HUAC, chess, comedy, suicide, masculinity, Mark Twain, improper questions, and more. 

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    Ayn Rand Answers by Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand Answers

    Edited by Robert Mayhew
    10.0 hrs • 1/1/10 • Unabridged
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  10. 13.2 hrs • 11/25/2009 • Unabridged

    In the 1960s and early ’70s, the most prominent, vocal cultural movement was the New Left: a movement that condemned America and everything it stood for: individualism, material wealth, science, technology, capitalism. While the New Left achieved limited political success, it brought about vast cultural changes that remain with us to this day. The reason is that while its representatives faced some political opposition, they faced little-to-no fundamental intellectual opposition. Ayn Rand was the exception. In her essays from this period, anthologized in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, she opposed the New Left as no one else did. The audience of the book, she wrote, is “all those who are concerned about college students and about the state of modern education” and who are seeking “a voice of reason to turn to.” In her essays, Ayn Rand identified the essential evils of the New Left and their cause. Where most viewed the New Left and its violent college protests, its worship of untouched nature, and its orgiastic mob celebrations as some sort of inexplicable, youthful rebellion against the “establishment,” Ayn Rand identified that these “rebels” were in fact dutiful, consistent practitioners of the ideas taught to them by their teachers. Return of the Primitive is an expanded edition of The New Left. It features the entire contents of the original edition authorized by Ayn Rand, plus two of her other essays, “Racism” and “Global Balkanization,” which are highly relevant to today’s campuses and world. Additionally, it features three essays written by Peter Schwartz after her death, analyzing some of the ideologies that the New Left helped spawn, such as multiculturalism and environmentalism. For those who seek to understand the state of American culture today, Return of the Primitive is required reading.

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    Return of the Primitive by Ayn Rand, Peter Schwartz

    Return of the Primitive

    Edited with an introduction and additional essays by Peter Schwartz
    13.2 hrs • 11/25/09 • Unabridged
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  11. 8.1 hrs • 10/27/2009 • Unabridged

    This three-part work includes A Discourse on Method, Meditations on the First Philosophy, and Principles of Philosophy. By calling everything into doubt, Descartes laid the foundations of modern philosophy. With the celebrated words “I think, therefore I am,” his compelling argument swept aside ancient and medieval traditions. He deduced that human beings consist of minds and bodies, that these are totally distinct “substances,” and that God exists and that he ensures we can trust the evidence of our senses. Ushering in the “scientific revolution” of Galileo and Newton, his ideas have set the agenda for debate ever since. His philosophical methods and investigation changed the course of Western philosophy and led to or transformed the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, physics, mathematics, political theory, and ethics.

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    A Discourse on Method, Meditations on the First Philosophy, and Principles of Philosophy by René Descartes
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  12. 4.2 hrs • 8/3/2009 • Unabridged

    Ecce Homo, which is Latin for “behold the man,” is an autobiography like no other. Deliberately provocative, Nietzsche subverts the conventions of the genre and pushes his philosophical positions to combative extremes, constructing a genius-hero whose life is a chronicle of incessant self-overcoming. Written in 1888, a few weeks before his descent into madness, the book passes under review all of Nietzsche’s previous works so that we, his “posthumous” readers, can finally understand him on his own terms. He reaches final reckonings with his many enemies, including Richard Wagner, German nationalism, “modern men” in general, and above all, Christianity, proclaiming himself the Antichrist. Ecce Homo is the summation of an extraordinary philosophical career, a last great testament to Nietzsche’s will. A main purpose of the book was to offer Nietzsche’s own perspective on his work as a philosopher and human being. Ecce Homo also forcefully repudiates those interpretations of his previous works purporting to find support there for imperialism, anti-Semitism, militarism, and social Darwinism. Nietzsche strives to present a new image of the philosopher and of himself as a philosopher. He expounds upon his life as a child, his tastes as an individual, and his vision for humanity. According to one of Nietzsche’s most prominent English translators, Walter Kaufmann, this book offers “Nietzsche’s own interpretation of his development, his works, and his significance.” Within this work, Nietzsche is self-consciously striving to present a new image of the philosopher and of himself. On these grounds, some consider Ecce Homo a literary work comparable in its artistry to Van Gogh’s paintings.

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    Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche

    Ecce Homo

    Translated by Anthony M. Ludovici
    4.2 hrs • 8/3/09 • Unabridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    5.0 hrs • 12/3/2008 • Unabridged

    “Ideas are the greatest and most crucially practical power on earth,” wrote Ayn Rand. In the title essay of this collection, Leonard Peikoff applies this principle to the world of business. He shows that certain philosophic ideas, such as reason, egoism, and individualism, are needed to defend and protect the freedom of businessmen, while the opposite ideas, such as mysticism, altruism, and collectivism (which dominate our universities), destroy that freedom. Other essays in this volume will help businessmen understand the crucial role of philosophy in free trade, free markets, health care, and business ethics. Why Businessmen Need Philosophy is important reading for any businessman who wants to defend his freedom—and anyone else who wants to understand and defend business.

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    Why Businessmen Need Philosophy and Other Essays by Ayn Rand, various authors, Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger, Edwin A. Locke, Dr. John Ridpath, Richard M. Salsman, Dr. Jaana Woiceshyn

    Why Businessmen Need Philosophy and Other Essays

    By Ayn Rand, with additional essays by various authors
    5.0 hrs • 12/3/08 • Unabridged
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    6.6 hrs • 10/1/2008 • Unabridged

    Richard M. Weaver taught English for many years at the University of Chicago, returning home to Weaverville, North Carolina each summer to plow his ancestral land. Out of his love of language and devotion to tradition, Weaver developed profound insights into the nature and the purpose of life. Ideas Have Consequences is the fruit of these twin disciplines.   In what has become a classic work, Weaver asserts that the catastrophes of our age are the product not of necessity but of unintelligent choice. The cure lies in the right use of man’s reason, in the renewed acceptance of an absolute reality, and in the recognition that ideas, like actions, have consequences. 

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    Ideas Have Consequences

    6.6 hrs • 10/1/08 • Unabridged
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  15. 7.3 hrs • 7/1/2008 • Unabridged

    In this beautifully written and brilliantly reasoned collection of essays, Ayn Rand throws new light on the nature of art and its purpose in human life. Once again, Rand demonstrates her bold originality and her refusal to let popular catchphrases and conventional ideas define her sense of the truth. In her ethics Ayn Rand extolled the virtue of selfishness—and in her theory of art she was no less radical. Piercing the fog of mysticism and sentimentality that engulfs art, the essays in The Romantic Manifesto explain why, since time immemorial, man has created and consumed works of art. Rand eloquently asserts that one cannot create art without infusing it with one’s own value judgments and personal philosophy—even an attempt to withhold moral overtones only results in a deterministic or naturalistic message. Because the moral influence of art is inescapable, she argues, art should always strive to elevate the human spirit. The Romantic Manifesto takes its place beside The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as one of the most important achievements of our time.

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    The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

    The Romantic Manifesto

    7.3 hrs • 7/1/08 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.4 hrs • 7/1/2008 • Unabridged

    Continuing where Thus Spoke Zarathustra left off, Nietzsche’s controversial work Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most influential philosophical texts of the nineteenth century and one of the most controversial works of ideology ever written. Attacking the notion of morality as nothing more than institutionalized weakness, Nietzsche criticizes past philosophers for their unquestioning acceptance of moral precepts. Nietzsche tried to formulate what he called “the philosophy of the future.”

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    Beyond Good and Evil

    8.4 hrs • 7/1/08 • Unabridged
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