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Lectures / Disk 10


Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition (Part VI, Modernism and the Age of Analysis)    
Featuring Various Professors

DISK 10.1 
Lecture 61: Introduction/ Staloff
The first half of the 20th century has been rightly described as an ‘age of extremes’. The Western industrialized nations underwent dramatic changes and dreadful crises. Political and cultural transformations emerged. The period also witnessed the rise of mass media and the communications industry. In this context of uproar and change, philosophers sought to put in perspective the role and the function of their discipline. The result was the development of three competing conceptions of philosophic practice: philosophy as regulative, philosophy as therapeutic, and philosophy as edification. These practices are examined in this lecture.

Lecture 62: James’s Pragmatism/Staloff
This lecture discusses William James’s Pragmatism being one of the most influential and long-lasting philosophical projects of the last one hundred years. It can be said that James’s pragmatism, the American version of Nietzchean perspectivism argues that the world is not fixed but is constantly remade by us. For James pragmatism is both a method and a theory of truth and he applies the pragmatic method to several metaphysical problems.

Lecture 63: Freud’s Psychology of Human Nature/Dalton
The lecture discusses Freud’s psychology of human nature. The lecture gives an overview of who Freud was and examines similarities and differences among Marx’s and Plato’s views of human nature in relation to Freud’s.

Lecture 64: Freud’s Discontents/Dalton
According to both Freud and Marx, we are suffering from a common malady given the term ‘the alienated split self’ which is a personality conflict as we are divided between conflicting sets of motivations and drives, expectations and aspirations. This lecture confronts questions such as: what are we alienated from and what remedy is there for such alienation.

Lecture 65: A.J. Ayer and Logical Positivism/Staloff
A.J. Ayer was one of the leading positivists of Logical positivism, an important philosophic movement of the 20th century. Ayer argued that philosophy should abandon the study of metaphysics and turn to a detailed analysis of language as he believed that our talk of the world is a logical construct of our phenomenal and sensual experience.

Lecture 66: Max Weber and Legitimate Authority/Staloff
Max Weber is regarded by many as the founder of modern sociology. This lecture offers insight into his work examining the structure and development of capitalism, world religion, and systems of government.

DISK 10.2 
Lecture 67: Husserl and Phenomenology/Solomon
Edmund Husserl was a mathematician and his continuing interest was in the ‘necessity’ of mathematical truths. This lecture focuses on Husserlian phenomenology as a response to positivism and historicism. He supported that philosophy seeks certainty not empirical findings as natural science.

Lecture 68: Dewey’s Critique of Traditional Philosophy/Staloff
A stereotypical American philosopher, John Dewey had influenced not only philosophy but also American education. His main philosophical contribution was his historical deconstruction of philosophy, showing that some theories such as Plato’s and Aristotle’s simply represented the social situation of these philosophers at that time. Dewey was skeptical of the ‘truth’ believing that we call ‘truth’ whatever works best for us at a specific time.

Lecture 69: Heidegger-Dasein and Existenz/Solomon
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger started his career with an extensive study of theology. His masterwork examined in this lecture “Being and Time” is the study of ‘being’ which had a religious and a metaphysical significance for him. He offers a refreshing new way of thinking about knowledge, ourselves, and our place in the world.

Lecture 70: Wittgenstein and Language Analysis/Risjord
Wittgenstein’s views on language analysis are examined in this lecture. He claimed that traditional metaphysics was faulty because it was based on mistakes in the use of language. The solution, according to Wittgenstein, was to focus on these uses of language that cause confusion, using philosophy as therapy.

Lecture 71: The Frankfurt School/Kellner
The term ‘Frankfurt School’ refers to a group of German –American scholars who first worked in Frankfurt, Germany in the 1930s. With the rise of Hitler, the group was exiled and settled at Columbia University. Members of the group developed highly provocative and original perspectives on contemporary society and culture including analyses of fascism, state monopoly capitalism, the consumer society and much more. This lecture explains why the Frankfurt school is so important and discuses the major contributions.

Lecture 72: Structuralism – Saussure and Levi-Strauss/Markos
This lecture considers the modern school of structuralism, an approach that broke with both ontology and epistemology to put forward new directions for meaning. It supports that all humanistic pursuits are the products of deep structures that pre-date human consciousness. This lecture will define and decode its elaborate theoretical system.

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