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Discovering the Philosopher in You by Colin McGinn

Discovering the Philosopher in You

The Big Questions in Philosophy

by Colin McGinn

Title Details

Audio Original
Running Time
8 Hrs.
User Rating
  4.8  Stars Based on 3 ratings
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Everyone has their own inner philosopher—a voice within that asks, oh so insistently, philosophical questions. Everyone wants to know what the ultimate nature of the world is, what the self is, whether we have free will, how our minds relate to our bodies, whether we can really know anything, where ethical truth comes from, what the meaning of life is, and whether or not there is a God. This inner philosopher is related to the inner child, since the child too is prone to asking philosophical questions. But it is much better to have a disciplined guide through philosophy than simply to try to do all the thinking by yourself. I will be acting as your guide. I will cover all the main problems of philosophy, from logic to ethics, from the human mind to God, introducing you to how philosophers think and the theories they have come up with. The first four lectures focus on foundational questions that need to be clarified before we engage upon more applied discussions. We need to know what knowledge is, what truth is, and what logical reasoning is before we start discussing ethics, the mind, free will and God. So let’s start with the basics, then break into a run only when we have learned how to walk.

Colin McGinn was educated at Oxford University, where he won the prestigious John Locke prize and later taught before moving on to UCLA. He is currently a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. McGinn regularly writes newspaper and magazine articles and is the author of numerous books, including philosophical works, fiction, and an autobiographical book, the acclaimed The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy.

Lecture 1 Skepticism: What Do You Really Know?

Lecture 2 Knowledge: How Should Knowledge Be Analyzed?

Lecture 3 Truth: What Is the Nature of Truth?

Lecture 4 Logic: What Is Valid Reasoning?

Lecture 5 Knowledge and Experience: Where Does Knowledge Come From?

Lecture 6 The Basis of Ethics: What Makes Something Right or Wrong?

Lecture 7 Happiness and Right Action: How Are Morality and Human Welfare Related?

Lecture 8 Morality and Blame: Are We Free?

Lecture 9 Mind and Body: How Are They Related?

Lecture 10 Consciousness: Can the Mystery Be Solved?

Lecture 11 Mind and World: Are Objects Really as They Appear?

Lecture 12 The Self: Who Am I?

Lecture 13 God: Can the Existence of God Be Proved?

Lecture 14 The Meaning of Life: What Gives Human

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Reviews & Ratings
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Reviewer Barry Campbell
 January 06, 2017
I agree wholeheartedly with the last review. Prof. McGinn covers all the main themes of his subject with clarity, detachment and to the extent it is possible, objectivity. I found it illuminating and instructive and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone like me who has a keen if untutored interest in the subject. I found myself disagreeing with him on several matters, notably his denial of Free Will but no doubt he would have no problem with that. His treatment of the Mind/Body problem I found especially helpful. I thoroughly recommend it for what it is: a stimulating introduction to a vast subject.

A Well-Structured and Thoughtfully Presented Introduction
Reviewer eddiebaby
 March 15, 2010
As a beginner to the subject of Philosohpy - unlike, presumably, Brian Everill - I found Colin McGinn's lectures illuminating. All of the main areas of philosophical debate, ie. the big questions, are presented in a balanced and well-explained manner with appropriate examples. Where Mr McGinn holds a strong personal belief one way or another on any question, he takes pains to point out that this is what he thinks but that it is up to the audience to make up their own minds. In so far as I can tell - from my beginner's perspective - alternative points of view are always objectively presented, without any particular skew.
I am somewhat bewildered by the comments of the previous reviewer when he says "an outline of how Colin McGinn thinks a philosopher should think". I feel this is most unfair and rather disingenuous. I don't believe reviewers should be questioning the motives of authors/lecturers in this way. My view is that this is a genuine and well-intentioned effort to introduce beginners to the main questions in Philosophy and it achieves it's end admirably.

More Details

  • Published: 2004
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: D003489
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