The Birth of the Modern Mind

 Posted by on 7 April 2002 at 11:40 am  Uncategorized
Apr 072002

As an undergraduate in philosophy at Washington University, my study of the history of philosophy was spotty. One of my largest and most regrettable gaps was the Enlightenment. So much to my delight, Alan Kors’ 12 tape / 24 lecture course The Birth of the Modern Mind was the perfect remedy for my ignorance. As Kors is an intellectual historian rather than a philosopher, the course focuses on the most influential thinkers and writings of the time, with many being little known outside of the circles of intellectual history. As a result, the ideas preserved in the philosophical cannon were far more clear and comprehensible, as they were presented in the light of the major issues and debates of the time. Kors’ lectures are also well-structured around particular texts, thereby highlighting Enlightenment writings worth studying in further detail. And the included detailed lecture notes make review of a tape or searching for a particular idea a relatively easy task. Last but not least, Kors is also an amazing lecturer, fully capturing the drama and excitement of the Enlightenment. In short, I can’t recommend these lectures highly enough.

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