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  1. 17.6 hrs • Jan/31/2017 • Unabridged

    A manifesto for deep and radical change, Creating Freedom explores the limits placed on freedom by human nature and society. It explodes myths, calling for a profound transformation in the way we think about democracy, equality, and our own identities.Free markets, free elections, free media, free thought, free speech, free will—the language of freedom pervades our lives, framing the most urgent issues of our time and the deepest questions about who we are and who we want to be. It is a foundational concept at the heart of our civilization, but it has long been distorted to justify its opposite: soaring inequality, the erosion of democracy, an irrational criminal justice system, and a dehumanizing foreign policy. Raoul Martinez argues that the more we understand the limits on our freedom, the better placed we are to transcend them. Drawing together findings and ideas from neuroscience, criminology, psychology, politics, climate science, economics, and philosophy, Creating Freedom constructs a radical framework to make sense of the world and empower us to change it. This is a wide-ranging analysis of power, control, and freedom, which asks us to question our inherited identities, question our society, and turn the power to choose into the freedom to create.

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    Creating Freedom

    Read by Steve West
    17.6 hrs • Jan/31/2017 • Unabridged
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  2. 2.8 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • Unabridged

    A concise overview of our belief systems and the next exciting installment in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge seriesOur beliefs constitute a large part of our knowledge of the world. We have beliefs about objects, about culture, about the past, and about the future. We have beliefs about other people, and we believe that they have beliefs as well. We use beliefs to predict, to explain, to create, to console, to entertain. Some of our beliefs we call theories, and we are extraordinarily creative at constructing them. Theories of quantum mechanics, evolution, and relativity are examples. But so are theories about astrology, alien abduction, guardian angels, and reincarnation. All are products (with varying degrees of credibility) of fertile minds trying to find explanations for observed phenomena. In this book, Nils Nilsson examines beliefs: what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them. We should evaluate our beliefs carefully, Nilsson points out, because they influence so many of our actions and decisions. Some of our beliefs are more strongly held than others, but all should be considered tentative and changeable. Nilsson shows that beliefs can be quantified by probability, and he describes networks of beliefs in which the probabilities of some beliefs affect the probabilities of others. He argues that we can evaluate our beliefs by adapting some of the practices of the scientific method and by consulting expert opinion. And he warns us about “belief traps”—holding onto beliefs that wouldn’t survive critical evaluation. The best way to escape belief traps, he writes, is to expose our beliefs to the reasoned criticism of others.

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    Understanding Beliefs

    Read by Don Hagen
    2.8 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • Unabridged
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  3. 10.1 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • 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

    10.1 hrs • Nov/01/2016 • Unabridged
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  4. 8.1 hrs • Oct/11/2016 • Unabridged

    The epic wisdom contained in a lost library helps the author turn his life around.In American Philosophy, John Kaag—a disillusioned philosopher at sea in his marriage and career—stumbles upon a treasure trove of rare books on an old estate in the hinterlands of New Hampshire that once belonged to the Harvard philosopher William Ernest Hocking. The library includes notes from Whitman, inscriptions from Frost, and first editions of Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant. As he begins to catalog and preserve these priceless books, Kaag rediscovers the very tenets of American philosophy—self-reliance, pragmatism, the transcendent—and sees them in a twenty-first-century context.Hocking was one of the last true giants of American philosophy. After studying under Harvard’s philosophical four—William James, George Santayana, Josiah Royce, and George Herbert Palmer—he held the most prestigious chair at the university for the first three decades of the twentieth century. And when his teachers eventually died, he collected the great books from their libraries (filled with marginalia) and combined them with his own rare volumes at his family’s estate. And there they remained for nearly eighty years, a time capsule of American thought.Part intellectual history, part memoir, American Philosophy is an invigorating investigation of American pragmatism and the wisdom that underlies a meaningful life.

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    American Philosophy

    Read by Josh Bloomberg
    8.1 hrs • Oct/11/2016 • Unabridged
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  5. 5.4 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • 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

    Read by Jo Anna Perrin
    5.4 hrs • Oct/04/2016 • Unabridged
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  6. 9.9 hrs • Sep/06/2016 • Unabridged

    In this landmark 1984 work on free will, Daniel Dennett makes a case for compatibilism. His aim, as he writes in the preface to this new edition, was a cleanup job, “saving everything that mattered about the everyday concept of free will, while jettisoning the impediments.” In Elbow Room, Dennett argues that the varieties of free will worth wanting—those that underwrite moral and artistic responsibility—are not threatened by advances in science but distinguished, explained, and justified in detail. Dennett tackles the question of free will in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of fields that range from physics and evolutionary biology to engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. He shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the “family of anxieties” in which they are often enmeshed—imaginary agents and bogeymen, including the Peremptory Puppeteer, the Nefarious Neurosurgeon, and the Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are.Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, Dennett concludes that we can have free will and science too. He explores reason, control and self-control, the meaning of “can” and “could have done otherwise,” responsibility and punishment, and why we would want free will in the first place. A fresh reading of Dennett’s book shows how much it can still contribute to current discussions of free will. This edition includes as its afterword Dennett’s 2012 Erasmus Prize essay.

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    Elbow Room

    Read by Don Hagen
    9.9 hrs • Sep/06/2016 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.7 hrs • Aug/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

    Read by Derek Perkins
    10.7 hrs • Aug/30/2016 • Unabridged
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  8. 26.5 hrs • Jul/05/2016 • 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

    26.5 hrs • Jul/05/2016 • Unabridged
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  9. 5.8 hrs • Sep/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

    Read by Adam Driver
    5.8 hrs • Sep/22/2015 • Unabridged
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  10. 2.6 hrs • Mar/09/2015 • Unabridged

    “A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action.”—Samurai maximUnder the guidance of such celebrated masters as Ed Parker and the immortal Bruce Lee, Joe Hyams vividly recounts his more than twenty-five years of experience in the martial arts. In his illuminating story, Hyams reveals to listeners how the daily application of Zen principles not only developed his physical expertise but gave him the mental discipline to control his personal problems—self-image, work pressure, competition. Indeed, mastering the spiritual goals in martial arts can dramatically alter the quality of your life—enriching your relationships with people, as well as helping you make use of all your abilities.

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    Zen in the Martial Arts

    Read by Jim Meskimen
    2.6 hrs • Mar/09/2015 • Unabridged
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  11. 6.9 hrs • Apr/15/2014 • Unabridged

    The renowned science writer, mathematician, and bestselling author of Fermat’s Last Theorem masterfully refutes the overreaching claims of the “New Atheists,” providing millions of educated believers with a clear, engaging explanation of what science really says, how there’s still much space for the Divine in the universe, and why faith in both God and empirical science are not mutually exclusive.A highly publicized coterie of scientists and thinkers, including Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, and Lawrence Krauss, have vehemently contended that breakthroughs in modern science have disproven the existence of God, asserting that we must accept that the creation of the universe came out of nothing, that religion is evil, that evolution fully explains the dazzling complexity of life, and more. In this much-needed book, science journalist Amir Aczel profoundly disagrees and conclusively demonstrates that science has not, as yet, provided any definitive proof refuting the existence of God.Why Science Does Not Disprove God is his brilliant and incisive analyses of the theories and findings of such titans as Albert Einstein, Roger Penrose, Alan Guth, and Charles Darwin, all of whose major breakthroughs leave open the possibility—and even the strong likelihood—of a Creator. Bolstering his argument, Aczel lucidly discourses on arcane aspects of physics to reveal how quantum theory, the anthropic principle, the fine-tuned dance of protons and quarks, the existence of anti-matter, and the theory of parallel universes, also fail to disprove God.

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    Why Science Does Not Disprove God

    Read by Grover Gardner
    6.9 hrs • Apr/15/2014 • Unabridged
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  12. 19.6 hrs • Sep/01/2013 • Unabridged

    This brilliantly conceived and well-organized book is based on a lecture course given by Dr. Leonard Peikoff in 1976, prepared with the help of Ayn Rand and entitled “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” Ayn Rand said of these lectures: “Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff’s course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of objectivism—that is, the only one that I know to be fully accurate.” As Rand’s designated heir and foremost interpreter, Peikoff here reveals both the abstract fundamentals of objectivism and its practical applications, covering topics from certainty to money, from logic to art. With much new material that Rand offered only in private conversations with Peikoff, these clear, cogent chapters illuminate objectivism and its creator with startling clarity.

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    Objectivism

    Read by Johanna Ward
    19.6 hrs • Sep/01/2013 • Unabridged
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  13. 11.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged

    Virtue has acquired a bad name, says Wilson, but it is nevertheless what we are referring to when we discuss a person’s character, such as whether someone is kind, friendly, or loyal. Although we may disguise the language of morality as a language of personality, it is still, in Wilson’s words, “the language of virtue and vice.” Says the author, “This book is not an effort to state or justify moral rules; that is, it is not a book of philosophy. Rather, it is an effort to clarify what ordinary people mean when they speak of their moral feelings and to explain, insofar as one can, the origins of those feelings.”

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    The Moral Sense

    Read by Wanda McCaddon
    11.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged

    This classic work of political theory and practice offers an account of the modern Machiavellians, a remarkable group who have been influential in Europe and practically unknown in the United States. The book devotes a long section to Machiavelli himself as well as to such modern Machiavellians as Gaetano Mosca, Georges Sorel, Robert Michels and Vilfredo Pareto. Burnham contends that the writings of these men hold the key both to the truth about politics and to the preservation of political liberty.

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    The Machiavellians

    Read by Jeff Riggenbach
    9.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged
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  15. 13.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged

    In 1839, two years after graduating from Harvard, Henry David Thoreau and his older brother, John, took a boat-and-hiking trip from Concord, Massachusetts to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After John’s sudden death in 1842, Thoreau began to prepare a memorial account of their excursion during his stay at Walden Pond. Modern readers have come to see Thoreau’s story of the river journey as an appropriate predecessor to Walden, depicting the early years of his spiritual and artistic growth. “Just as the current of the stream bears along the boat with Thoreau and his brother, so the current of ideas in his mind bears along the reader by evoking the joy and nostalgia that Thoreau feels for those lost, golden days. As Thoreau says, human life is very much like a river running always downward to the sea, and in this book we enter for a moment the flow of Thoreau’s unique existence.”—Masterplots

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    A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

    Read by Patrick Cullen
    13.2 hrs • Jul/01/2013 • Unabridged
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  16. 22.4 hrs • Jun/01/2013 • Unabridged

    Originally published in 1748, this is possibly the most masterful and influential book ever written on the subject of liberty and justice. Accordingly, it is a work that profoundly influenced America’s Founding Fathers. Its success was due partly to the fact that it was the first systematic treatise on politics, partly to Montesquieu’s championship of the nobility and the Parliaments, but above all to the brilliant style of his prose. By the “spirit of laws,” Montesquieu means their raison d’être and the conditions determining their origin, development, and forms. Montesquieu discusses numerous topics, including the general functions of government, relations between the sexes, the morals and customs of the nation, economics and religion, and the theory of law and legislative practice.

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    The Spirit of Laws

    Read by Wanda McCaddon
    22.4 hrs • Jun/01/2013 • Unabridged
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