Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle (Great Courses, #4460)

Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle (Great Courses, #4460) - Robert C. Bartlett The professor is very good at making these philosophers relevant to today and explaining what their dialogs (in Socrates' case) or books (in Aristotle's case) mean. He did such a good job it took me a month to finish this course because I would often end up listening to the play, dialog or book he was talking about for free through LibriVox (why does Audible overcharge for those things?).

Here's a mnemonic I use: think of three Greeks in their togas in a SPA, therefore you'll know the order that they come in (S)corates, (P)lato, and (A)ristotle.

The professor really seemed to focus on Plato's dialogs that involved Socrates and therefore I would say the Plato part of the lecture was really about Socrates.

The professor does something I really liked. He demystifies Socrates and puts him back down to earth. He'll say, for example, that the Republic is not really about a utopian state but is about how to understand what justice is within an individual and even as Socrates clearly states it's just a way to magnify the pieces that make up the whole within the individual the same way a sign written in bigger letters allows one to see better. Even the allegory of the cave is not strictly speaking about philosophy, but is more about our political understanding of the world (I think the professor says it that way, but he is a Political Scientist and sees the world that way).

The professor gives a very good contrast between Socrates and Aristotle. Socrates would say that The Good (Virtue) is depended on our Knowledge and The Bad (Vice) is done because of the ignorance we have. Incontinence (the lack of control we have over ourselves or thoughts) is due only because of our ignorance, and therefore we never can knowingly do bad. Aristotle would say that we can knowingly do bad things to ourselves and we do that in spite of our knowledge.

I really loved what the professor had to say on Aristotle's ethics, and I ended up listening to that with LibriVox. I never would have been able to follow that book without this lecture telling me what he was really saying (Aristotle is a miserably poor writer, but is always worth while wading through because he sees the world unlike anybody else). In brief, don't let the world distract you from what is unimportant and focus on the contemplative instead and wake-up!