Ideas That Shaped Mankind

Ideas That Shaped Mankind

A Concise History of Human Thought

Audiobook CD - 2004
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In this course, Oxford University professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto, shares his views on the notion that man's capacity to produce ideas in itself brings about sweeping changes in the world. This ability, seen most profoundly in individual, startling moments of genius--or equally startling moments of chance--is what separates humans from the animals and allows humans to re-imagine the world in ever more complex designs.
Publisher: Prince Frederick, Md. : Recorded Books, p2004.
ISBN: 9781402582059
Characteristics: 7 sound discs (14 hr.) :,digital ;,4 3/4 in. +,1 course guide (88 p. : ill.)


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May 06, 2016

I do not recommend these audio lectures unless you are so firmly committed to the topic that missing them is unthinkable. In terms of actual content, it is mildly interesting, though it is not presented in a way that facilitates retention of the information. The major drawback is the delivery by Felipe Fernández-Armesto. He is an atrocious narrator. In the first place, his speaking style is dripping with all the pretentiousness you'd expect from a self-satisfied golden child of the classical academic elite. It was as if he was always on the verge of taking the pipe out of his mouth and asking, "I have a PhD; do you know what that stands for?" Second, he is a droner. He stretched words out like silly putty and maintained inordinate pauses in between them, like he was getting paid by the second. It was very distracting. My objections to his oration are coupled with what I perceived as an undercurrent of bias in favor of Christianity; it was not clear that he separated the historical Jesus from Christ as depicted in the Bible. If he did separate them, he made no effort to make it explicit. Listeners should also be aware (though perhaps there is historical justification for this) that he essentially ignores intellectual developments outside Eurasia and North America for the majority of his lectures. (The historical justification would presumably be that developments in other parts of the world did not appreciably "shape mankind." Still, do not expect global representativeness.)

Dec 17, 2015

A fairly brisk overview... a bit cheeky: after saying that some of the best ideas are the oldest, he starts with the idea of... cannibalism! and ends the series of lectures with... pluralism (there's no disputing in matters of taste, after all).

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