• The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought

  • By: Professor Peter Kreeft
  • Narrated by: Peter Kreeft
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (480 ratings)

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The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought

By: Professor Peter Kreeft
Narrated by: Peter Kreeft
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Publisher's Summary

This course addresses some of the eternal questions that man has grappled with since the beginning of time. What is good? What is bad? Why is justice important? Why is it better to be good and just than it is to be bad and unjust?

Most human beings have the faculty to discern between right and wrong, good and bad behavior, and to make judgments over what is just and what is unjust. But why are ethics important to us?

This course looks at our history as ethical beings. We'll travel into the very heart of mankind's greatest philosophical dilemmas - to the origins of our moral values and the problem of ethics. Are ethics universal, absolute and unchanging - or are they culturally relative, changing, and man-made? Furthermore, we'll delve into the creation of ethical systems - not just for ourselves, but also for society at large. And we will consider the ongoing process of establishing ethical frameworks for society.

©2004 Peter Kreeft (P)2004 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly Good

I am in love with this author. Even though his voice is almost monotone, he is one of the most interesting authors I've ever read/heard.

Content: I also found the content to be quite stimulating and easy-to-learn. True, the author does attempt to cover Philosophy from Socrates all the way down to the 1900's. This is a daunting task. The author takes you as deep as he's allowed. As an "average joe" who knows next-to-nothing about the history of philosophy, I was utterly enthralled. When I go back to listen/read to everything a second time, I'm definitely going to take it more seriously and check out the recommended readings. (I listened passively and didn't put much effort.)

As far as the author's bais....yes, he is a Christian philosopher. Is this a bad thing? Jesus ISN'T a primary focus-though he did mention that Jesus and Socrates were the two most-influential people who had ever lived-and even Christian philosophers aren't a main focus. The only Christian philosopher-to my knowledge-that got any "talk time" was Thomas Aquinas, who was a very influential philosopher in regards to religion.

Nevertheless, any bias the author might have is shattered in the last lecture about conclusions. Through the last lecture-and even the end of the previous lectures-he starts to wrap up his main idea for the entire series. He doesn't talk about Christianity at all to my knowledge. He merely states the benefits of thinking through life by asking the right questions, and by learning from the great minds that have come before us.

The quality of this audiobook as a whole will lead me to more books by this author and more in the Modern Scholar series.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Good approach but tainted by personal bias

This audiobook looks at important topics in ethics but is very biased by the author. The author takes every chance he can to promote christianity and christian principles over other viewpoints and to promote old views over modern views. Furthermore the author (Kreeft) gives his personal assessments in value-oriented ways rather than descriptive ones. This means that you end up learning much more about the author than about the topics he purports to cover. If you are a christian, this might be an accessible way to learn about philosophy but be warned that it is a dishonest representation of the material by someone who doesn't fully understand it.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I thought this was an excellent series of lectures on the history of ethics. The lecturer had a very pleasant voice and explained his ideas clearly. Although he recommends reading certain books and classic texts on ethics before each lecture, I didn't do so and I was still able to easily follow along and understand the ideas being discussed.

I'm an atheist and I didn't find a huge religious bias in this like some people apparently did; religion exists and has had a huge role in ethical philosophy, so it would be ridiculous if religious ethicists were not included and discussed.

Recommended absolutely to anyone who is interested in ethical philosophy. I think it would be a great starting point for someone unfamiliar with the subject.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good Overview of Ethical Thought

I really enjoyed Dr. Kreeft's lectures on Ethics. Though the other review found it over-Christian, I did not. He does prefer Socrates over later philosophers, proposing that Socrates overcomes most of the later ethical viewpoints of other figures. While the bias is present, it's not overwhelming of the material. I found this to be an excellent introduction to the different viewpoints of several of the great thinkers of history.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Gave it a chance despite bad reviews...

I really wanted to learn about this subject. Previous reviews said it is tainted by the lecturer's religious bias but I thought I'd try it anyhow. I was disappointed to discover that the bad reviews were fair. It feels patronising and has overtones of religion and the lecturers thinly veiled religious self-justification stewn throughout which make mining it for genuine knowledge, of which the lecturer has some to offer, simply annoying.

I downloaded the Modern Scholar on polical theory which presented its facts and perspectives in such an open and warmly detached manner. That experience gave me faith in the series so I assumed the bad reviews for this one on Ethics were just because ethics is a touchy subject for many readers.

I'm afraid this lecturer does not inspire confidence as its easy to sense his prejudice driving much of the opinion and perspective he presents, even to the point where he contradicts himself when justifying his own personal perspectives along the way. It made me feel like I was only being presented half the picture. It made me more interested in the other intellectuals he ridicules throughout than in listening to him. Though obviously a highly educated man, he cannot share what knowlege he has objectively because of the religious way he's gone about forming his speculation.

I will think twice before trusting the "Modern Scholar" series again just on its name after this download. Annoying and unbalanced.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Religously biased

The author keeps on refering to or presupposing Bible and Christ. This is not what I would expect in a philosopy class and neither is this indicated in the description of the product. A credit wasted and my weakest purchase from the otherwise recommendable Modern Scholar series.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great refresher course

If you could sum up The Modern Scholar in three words, what would they be?

I have a BA in philosophy but it has been years since I have been in a classroom. This wonderful narrative brought all the passion back to me and also brought a lot of old dusty books back off my bookcase. Give it a shot!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A biased overview and history

If you want to know how the religious right in America thinks, this is the book for you... The author is a Platonist and an unapologetic dualist, an apparent Republican and a smug professor of religion. He dismisses materialism and misrepresents thinkers he does not approve of, such as Hobbes and Marx. If you can tolerate this, there is something to be learned from the lectures, but really there are better books out there.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

PHILOSOPHERS OF MORAL THOUGHT

Professor Kreeft, in The Modern Scholar’ lectures, offers stories of interesting philosophers and what they think they know about moral thought. Ethics: A History of Moral Thought is a whirlwind tour of how philosophers define ethics. It begins in antiquity and continues through tomorrow. What one hears in these lectures may be accepted and practiced in life tomorrow or never; if never, one is seemingly confirming belief in free choice, but not much more. As a warning to the curious, the tour is circular. The tour ends as it begins.

Nearing the end of Krefft’s lectures, he addresses the attempts of science to define morality and ethics. Krefft acknowledges the idea of observational analysis, dating back to Machiavelli’s views of history but the scientific movement gains momentum with David Hume (1711-1776), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), and John Stewart Mill (1806-1873). It seems these three users of the scientific method provide little light in their analysis of morality and ethics. Their contribution is in the use of scientific method to understand normative standards of society.

By the end of Professor Krefft’s lectures a listener returns to Socrates suggestion; i.e. “Know thyself” because “The unexamined life is not worth living”. What you believe is what you believe. Krefft suggests we should always seek to understand why we believe what we believe.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book!

If you could sum up The Modern Scholar in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, engaging, well-writtten

What did you like best about this story?

It felt like I was at the universtiy listening to the professor

What about Peter Kreeft’s performance did you like?

He was very interesting to listen to and offered a chance for you to think deeper about the topics disscussed

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If you were traveling you could, however it takes many hours. Worth the time!

Any additional comments?

I am ordering more of the Modern Scholar audible books as I learned more in this one book than in others I have read or listened to.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-01-17

Changed my life

I loved entering the great conversation (I never knew there was such a thing until this book) - I also loved learning how to ask better questions. Listening to Peter Kreeft was like chatting to a friend over coffee

1 person found this helpful