Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ancient Philosophy - Berkeley lecture series

Berkeley's Course about Ancient Philosophy covers, according to the first lecture Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, which needless to say leaves out no small number of ancients, but surely is a fine traditional, classical approach. Should you decide to go follow, get out your Crito and start reading already.

I do not know this course from any earlier incarnations, but it sure kicks off rather nicely. The lecturer - David Ebrey - is clear, sympathetic and inviting. Apart from teaching Socrates and so on, Ebrey wants to hone his students' philosophical skills. That is what is always the most exciting part, I think, of philosophy courses: to be challenged in the way of thinking. Thinking harder and thinking differently and in many ways more accurately.

It doesn't always makes for easy podcasts, so that is why you are advised to try and keep up with readign if you can. Also, due to some copyrighted content, the second lecture was not recorded and so you jump from the introduction, straight into the third. The intention is that there will be no more skips like these.

More Philosophy:
East Asian Culture,
Philosophy Bites,

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The battle of Blenheim - historyzine

Historyzine is one of the great amateur podcasts about history. Host Jim Mowatt is no historian, has no radio station, university or newspaper to back him up; it is just him and his passion for the subjects he tells about. And that is, first and foremost, the war of the Spanish Succession (1701 - 1714)

His latest episode went back to the original format of the show in which Jim not only pays attention to his main topic, but also delivers a podcast review and the history behind a word or a phrase. The reviewed podcast is Stanford's lecture series about Hannibal by Patrick Hunt, which has been reviewed on this blog as well. The linguistic section explains everything you need to know about the Jacobites.

Unfortunately the main chapter was a bit less strong this time around. The recounting of the Battle of Blenheim was a bit tough to follow on account of the vast amount of data. I felt he tackled the geography and chronology rather well, which I guess is the hardest to get clear in the retelling. But I lost track with the names of the players and their connection with the various sorts of troops around; cavalry, infantry, English, Dutch, Austrians, Bavarians, French and on and on. It is a stumbling block many history podcasters struggle with: to balance the amount of data and the clarity of the story, or their own level of knowledge and that of the listener.

More Historyzine:
Reliving the War of Spanish Succession,
The year 1703,
On admirals and more,
18th Century Warfare,
Spanish Succession and History Podcasts.

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