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Philosophy: The Classics Podcast by Nigel Warburton

Philosophy: The Classics Podcast

by Nigel Warburton

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In this podcast, British author Nigel Warburton reads from his book Philosophy: The Classics (now in its 3rd edition). The book examines and summarizes 27 classic works of philosophy. Currently on the podcast feed, Warburton reads chapters from his book summarizing classics such as Plato's The Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy, Machiavelli's The Prince, and Descartes' Meditations. His introductions to these works are clear and concise, and his narration is adequate for the material. Subscribe to this work of philosophical generosity.


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  • Soren Kierkegaard - Either/Or
    Mon, Jul 21, 2008


    Soren Kierkegaard's Either/Or is an oblique but brilliant contribution to philosophy. In this episode of Philosophy: The Classics  author Nigel Warburton summarises the book and considers several interpretations of it.

  • John Stuart Mill - Utilitarianism
    Thu, Apr 17, 2008


    Is it better to be a happy pig or a sad Socrates? John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism is the topic of this episode of Philosophy: The Classics.

  • John Stuart Mill On Liberty
    Fri, Apr 04, 2008


    Published in 1859, the same year as Darwin's Origin of Species, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty remains the classic statement of individual freedom. Here I summarise some of its main themes and outline some criticisms that have been made of it.

  • Schopenhauer - The World as Will and Idea
    Sat, Nov 03, 2007


    What is the nature of reality? Why can music be so profound? Are we doomed to suffer or is extended happiness possible? Should we choose a life of asceticism? These are some of the questions that Arthur Schopenhauer addressed in The World as Will and Idea. In this episode of Philosophy: The Classics Nigel Warburton outlines and criticizes Schopenhauer's great book.

  • Kant - Groundwork of Metaphysic of Morals
    Mon, Oct 01, 2007


    Immanuel Kant's ethical stance is uncompromising: you must do your moral duty whatever the consequences. In this reading from his book Philosophy: The Classics, Nigel Warburton outlines the main features of Kant's approach and sketches some criticisms of it.

  • Kant - Critique of Pure Reason
    Mon, Sep 10, 2007


    What is our relation to reality? Are some features of our experience conditions of our having any experience at all? In this reading from his book Philosophy: The Classics Nigel Warburton attempts to summarise Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, a notoriously difficult yet important book.

  • Rousseau - Social Contract
    Mon, Aug 20, 2007


    How should society be organised? Can you force someone to be free? Jean-Jacques Rousseau's controversial The Social Contract is the subject of this podcast chapter of Nigel Warburton's book Philosophy: The Classics.

  • Hume - Dialogues
    Sat, Aug 11, 2007


    Does the apparent design in the natural world point to the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God? In his posthumous Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, perhaps his finest work, David Hume put some devastating criticisms of the Design Argument in the mouths of his characters. Listen to Nigel Warburton reading this summary of the book.

  • Hume - Enquiry
    Sun, Jul 22, 2007


    How do we learn about the world? David Hume's answer, like Locke's, was via experience. In this podcast, based on Nigel Warburton's Philosophy: The Classics, outlines Hume's views on a number of issues such as induction, causation, and miracles.

  • Locke - 2nd Treatise
    Mon, Jul 16, 2007


    What are the legitimate powers of the State? This is the fundamental question John Locke addressed in his Second Treatise of Civil Government. Nigel Warburton sketches the main features of this work and outlines some criticisms of it in this podcast of a chapter from his book Philosophy: The Classics (3rd ed.)

  • Locke - Essay
    Tue, Jun 19, 2007


    Is a newborn's mind a blank slate? What makes you the same person that you were several years ago despite bodily changes? These are two central questions that John Locke addressed in his classic work An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Nigel Warburton outlines the key ideas from this book.

  • Spinoza - Ethics
    Sun, Jun 10, 2007


    What kind of freedom can human beings achieve? Is the mind distinct from the body? Are we and everything in the universe part of God? In this episode of Philosophy: The Classics, Nigel Warburton outlines the key features of Spinoza's great book Ethics.

  • Hobbes - Leviathan
    Wed, Jun 06, 2007


    Why would anyone give up their freedom to become part of an organised state? In this reading from his book Philosophy: The Classics, Nigel Warburton outlines Thomas Hobbes' central arguments from  Leviathan.

  • Descartes - Meditations
    Wed, May 30, 2007


    Can I know anything for certain? Can I even be sure that I exist? Descartes pushed scepticism to its limits in his Meditations. Nigel Warburton explains Descartes' key ideas and some of the criticisms that can be levelled against them.

  • Machiavelli - The Prince
    Thu, May 24, 2007


    Is this just a handbook for psychopaths, or a satirical attack on his contemporaries, or did Machiavelli have a moral message? In this reading from his book Philosophy: The Classics, Nigel Warburton explains the central themes from Machiavelli's great work The Prince and explores different interpretations of the book.

  • Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy
    Sat, May 19, 2007


    What consolation can Philosophy provide to a condemned man? Boethius wrote The Consolation of Philosophy while awaiting torture and execution. He imagines Philosophy visiting him personified as a woman. Philosophy explains to him how the Wheel of Fortune turns, but yet happiness remains within human control.  Nigel Warburton reads Chapter 3 from this book Philosophy: The Classics which gives a critical summary of Boethius' book.

  • Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics
    Tue, May 15, 2007


    'How should we live?' This is a fundamental question for all of us. In his Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle attempted to answer it. Listen to author Nigel Warburton's summary of the main themes of the book in this reading from his book Philosophy: The Classics.

  • Plato - The Republic
    Fri, May 11, 2007


    Plato's Republic is one of the great works in philosophy. Hear how Plato thought society should be organised and why he wanted to ban representational art. Nigel Warburton reads the first chapter of his book Philosophy: The Classics.

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