Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The west since 1600 - History 2312

My favorite returning podcast lecture series is Berkeley's History 5, which, for some reason, has not been podcast this last semester. It is always possible to take one of previous semesters; you even have a rich choice between professors (Hesse, Anderson, Laqueur) However, you can also go to other sources for receiving the history of western civilization after the middle ages.

One such example is the course history 2312 from Temple College in Texas. Host Gretchen Ann Reilly speaks to us directly in fifteen minute segments and in over 30 lectures she matches the breadth of history 5, but is more modest and accessible for beginners than the Berkeley material. If you ever needed a basic entry course into modern history, this is where you should go. Now is also a good time as the course runs at this moment and the feed is up and running - which it is not for most of the year.

Another option is a course at UCLA, which gives history since 1715. This course has just started and I will review it in due time.

More Gretchen Ann Reilly:
Gretchen Reilly history podcasts,
American History before 1870.

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Aristotle's ethics - Philosophy Bites

A brilliant podcast is Philosophy Bites. Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds manage to reduce philosophy to little bites of audio of around fifteen minutes and maintain a very reasonable intellectual level. Basically this is a podcast that you should have tried and that you should stay subscribed to and take your pick from the wide variety of subjects.

An excellent place to start is the latest issue about Aristotle's Ethics. Guest Terence Irwin takes us from the person Aristotle to the two periods he was intensively received in western thinking (the Renaissance and the nineteenth century) to the nature of Aristotle's ethics and how his thoughts are still relevant, applicable and giving food for discussion and critique today.

To give but an example: liberal political theory takes man as an individual and places in the state the obligation to respect the rights and freedoms of the individual. With Aristotle, this approach is criticized with the point that Aristotle already makes, that man is part of a community. He lives by and through the social fabric and is therefore a social and political being. The interests of state and individual then coincide and that gives rise to a whole other political theory. For example Hegel and Marx used Aristotle thus to criticize liberal theory.

Irwin is favorable to Aristotle's ethics, but voices also, by the end, a couple of points at which he'd like to improve or adapt Aristotle's ethics. Amazing how much can be dealt with in 17 minutes and 28 seconds.

More Philosophy Bites
Alternative Hedonism,
Non-realism of God,

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