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Philosophy: The Classics

Author Nigel Warburton reads from his book Philosophy: The Classics which is an introduction to 27 key works in the history of Philosophy

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Descartes - Meditations

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.

22mins

30 May 2007

Rank #1

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Machiavelli - The Prince

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.

13mins

24 May 2007

Rank #2

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Hobbes - Leviathan

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.

17mins

6 Jun 2007

Rank #3

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Rousseau - Social Contract

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.

12mins

20 Aug 2007

Rank #4

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Spinoza - Ethics

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.

10mins

10 Jun 2007

Rank #5

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Locke - Essay

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.

20mins

19 Jun 2007

Rank #6

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Hume - Enquiry

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.

18mins

22 Jul 2007

Rank #7

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Hume - Dialogues

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.

15mins

11 Aug 2007

Rank #8

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Locke - 2nd Treatise

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.)

14mins

16 Jul 2007

Rank #9

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Boethius - The Consolation of Philosophy

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.

11mins

19 May 2007

Rank #10