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July 28, 2009

Free College Lectures

College Courses

Looking for college lectures to listen to? Download over 100 college courses on audio from the Modern Scholar series featuring great university professors teaching college-level courses on a variety of subjects:

Download Over 100 College Courses from the Modern Scholar Series

You can browse their audio courses by subject by clicking the following links featuring philosophy college courses, history college courses, literature college courses, politics college courses, business college courses, religion college courses, science college courses & more.

To help introduce you to the magnificent Modern Scholar series where great professors teach you, we're offering a new group of 10 free lectures to download from 10 of their best courses. These recorded lectures are taught by eminent university professors.

Here are the 10 lectures you can download right now on MP3. Note: For downloading these files you have to right-click on the Download button and select Save Target As... Then it will allow you to download the file to an assigned place on your computer.

1. What is Knowledge?

In this lecture, Professor Colin McGinn deciphers what we mean when we say we 'know' something to be true. He traces the history of philosophical skepticism, giving the listener several historical arguments for the theory of knowledge, and also touching on arguments made by the likes of Plato, Descartes, and other important philosophers. This lecture is a foundational exercise for the rest of the program, with McGinn arguing that for someone to begin thinking philosophically, he or she must first understand the methods of thinking that go into the pursuit of true knowledge.

2. C.S. Lewis Literature Overview

In this lecture professor Timothy Shutt provides an overview of the life and literature of C.S. Lewis. He mentions various viewpoints that people have had about Lewis and says why he thinks Lewis is more popular now than he was in his time. Shutt breaks Lewis' works into three categories: his Christian apologetic works, his fictional works including The Chronicles of Narnia, and his scholarly works. He discusses each category of Lewis' works and examines how Lewis has gained a following particularly in the areas of apologetics and fiction. It's a good introduction to this masterful writer and storyteller.

3. The Business of America

In this first lecture called "The Business of America" Professor Brands gives a brief overview of the course and then proceeds to cover 200 years of American business history in 20 minutes from 1776 to the 20th century. He covers the importance of business in colonial times and its influence on the American Revolution. He then examines the 19th century which brought in industrialization and finance as important factors along with the central issue of slavery and its relation to business. And in the 20th century he briefly covers how businesses shifted their focus to the consumers who would buy all of the products that industrial capitalism was producing.

4. Ancient Greek Drama

In this lecture professor Peter Meineck introduces Ancient Greek drama and explains why he feels it is still so popular and powerful today. He briefly discusses the plays of the four major Greek playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. He then covers what Greek tragedy and comedy were actually like at the time they were performed in Athens 2,500 years ago.

5. Global Warming in Earth's History

In this lecture professor Michael B. McElroy introduces the worldwide experiment we have embarked on through the increase in global temperature. He covers some of the basics of global warming such as the greenhouse effect, the gases that contribute to global warming, and what creates the climate on Earth. He then puts humanity and global warming in the context of Earth's entire history going back 4.5 billion years ago. He uses a calendar year as a reference for Earth's history and places global warming at the last few seconds before midnight on December 31st. It's an excellent introductory lecture for placing global warming in global history.

6. Comparing Western Christendom & the Abode of Islam

In this lecture professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr discusses the similarities and differences of early western Christendom and the Islamic World known as Dar al-Islam. He talks about the origins of each religious tradition and how Christianity split into western Christendom and the Eastern Orthodox Church centered in Byzantium, while Islam did not split and expanded quite rapidly throughout the Middle East and into Africa and Asia. He also talks the about the importance of the sacred Islamic language of Arabic which spread throughout the Islamic world, whereas Christendom's languages were much more diverse. And he discusses a number of other comparisons between early Christianity and Islam.

7. Understanding Conversations Between Women and Men

In this lecture linguistics professor and bestselling author Deborah Tannen describes many of the basic differences between in communication between men and women. She starts with an example she discovered when examining the conversations of kids and teenagers. Girls tended to talk to each other face to face while boys generally sat at angles or parallel and looked around the room while they talked to each other. She mentions many other general patterns of behavior in the communication habits of men and women and hopes that by becoming more aware of these differences we can become more understanding in our communication with the opposite sex.

8. Causes of the Civil War

In this introductory lecture, Professor Jay Winik traces what led America into the grip of Civil War, and begins a series on how the nation survived. Citing examples of how the United States was inherently vulnerable to secessionist impulses from the beginning, we come to see how slavery was an issue that was cast aside in order to preserve a young nation, and how it smoldered within the culture into the fires of war. In showing us the seeds of the conflict, Winik effectively argues that due to America's vast geographic and social differences, bloodshed may have been inevitable.

9. The Life of Charles Darwin

In this lecture professor Chandak Sengoopta discusses the life of Charles Darwin covering the major events in Darwin's life including his voyage on the HMS Beagle and his eventual publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859. Professor Sengoopta covers a lot of Darwin's life in a short amount of time while providing many interesting facts about the man whose theory of evolution by natural selection revolutionized biology and greatly affected many other areas of society from the late 19th century up to the present day.

10. The Nature of Religion

In this lecture Professor Stephen Prothero discusses what religion is and why it still matters in the modern age. He provides a number of important definitions of religion from its origins up to definitions by modern thinkers such as Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, and William James. While many scholars predicted the decline of religion and the rise of secularism in the 20th century, professor Prothero points out many ways in which religion is as widely practiced now as in any time in history.