• The Dream of Reason, New Edition

  • A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance
  • By: Anthony Gottlieb
  • Narrated by: Anthony Gottlieb
  • Length: 19 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Already a classic, this landmark study of early Western thought now appears in a new edition with expanded coverage of the Middle Ages.

In The Dream of Reason, Anthony Gottlieb looks afresh at the writings of the great thinkers, questions much of conventional wisdom, and explains his findings with unbridled brilliance and clarity. From the pre-Socratic philosophers through the celebrated days of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, up to Renaissance visionaries like Erasmus and Bacon, philosophy emerges here as a phenomenon unconfined by any one discipline. Indeed, as Gottlieb explains, its most revolutionary breakthroughs in the natural and social sciences have repeatedly been co-opted by other branches of knowledge, leading to the illusion that philosophers never make any progress.

From the physics of angels to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, Gottlieb builds through example and anecdote a vivid portrait of the human drive for understanding. After finishing The Dream of Reason, listeners will be graced with a fresh appreciation of the philosophical quest, its entertaining and bizarre byways, and its influence on every aspect of life.

©2016 Anthony Gottlieb (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dream of Reason, New Edition

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    3 out of 5 stars

Bias spoils the work.

The scholarly desire to appear objective is not enough to obscure the anti-religious bigotry. For example, he abruptly dismisses the ontological argument as fallacious without doing justice at all the subtle nature of the issues or the weight on both sides. One would get a more fair rendering on some atheist youtube videos...Or that the problem with describing angelic forms in medieval discourse is not found with forms so much as belief in angels. The tone is as one sided as Bertrand Russel's work, which he seems to hold up on a pedestal. Unfortunately, the work fails to do justice to philosophical endeavor, its highlights or its spirit, being weighed down by the biases of the author and fogged by the lens of twentieth century academic condescension.

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Bogs Down with Interminable Chapters

Anthony John Gottlieb, likely has a vocabulary of 50,000 words. However, succinct is not one of them. The book is divided into three parts, Part 1 Pre-Socratics, Part 2 Socrates - Plato and Aristotle, and Part 3 post Aristotle. Part 1 moves quickly. Parts 2 and 3 are bogged down in avoidable details. The deluge of data causes three chapters to approach 3 hours in length. The old saying, sometime you can be data rich and information poor applies here.

The author’s knowledge of the subject is undeniable but he stumbles into rabbit holes that he cannot self-extricate from. The reader would have been better served if Mr Gottlieb had done a better job of pairing down subjects into more isolated topics. By making the chapters shorter with adherence to single theme, the study would have improved. It is good material but it is a slog through Parts 2 & 3.

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Engagingly written, fun, worth it

Heavy in Greek and ancient philosophy of the west. Very light in medieval philosophy. Overall; decently organizing, but sometimes circular and difficult to follow. Great narrator. Enjoy.

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I enjoyed the enlightenment more

I enjoyed his 2nd book “the dream of enlightenment” so much more. This was good, that was great!

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  • mjh
  • 04-03-19

Best Introduction to the History of Philosophy

If you are interested in learning more about philosophy, I would definitely recommend these books . They really come alive being read by the author. Hopefully the 3rd of the series is on the way :-)