The History of Philosophy … Without Any Gaps

On Monday, we told you where you can download Free Courses from Top Philosophers (Foucault, Searle, Russell and the rest). As the day went along, our list grew thanks to reader suggestions, and we also discovered another promising resource — a podcast called “The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps,” created by Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King’s College London:

Beginning with the earliest ancient thinkers, the series will look at the ideas and lives of the major philosophers (eventually covering in detail such giants as Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Aquinas, Descartes, and Kant) as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition.

That’s what Adamson promises, and he doesn’t disappoint. Over the past 34 months, Adamson has produced 136 episodes, each about 20 minutes long, covering the PreSocratics (Pythagoras, Zeno, Parmenides, etc) and then Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. That’s roughly 45 hours of audio, and there’s no telling how many more hours of audio will bring us to the modern period. The more, the better, we say.

You can access all episodes via these links: iTunesRSS FeedWeb Site. Or find other free philosophy courses in our big collection of Free Courses Online.

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Blade Runner is a Waste of Time: Siskel & Ebert in 1982

Note: The Blade Runner segment starts at 19:18 mark.

It’s perhaps hard to imagine now, but Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi film, Blade Runner, saw some hard days when it was first released in 1982. Preview screenings went badly. Crowds flocked instead to see Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, ET. The film lost money. And critics gave the film mixed reviews.

Case in point, Siskel & Ebert’s review on national television. Roger finds some redeeming qualities – the special effects. Siskel calls it a “waste of time.” One thumb up grudgingly; another firmly down. A decidedly mixed review.

Siskel died, of course, in 1999. If you’re wondering if Ebert ever changed his position, you can find this reappraisal written in 2007, on the 25th anniversary of the film’s release.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.

If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, and Venmo (@openculture). Thanks!

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Fritz Lang’s Metropolis: Uncut & Restored

2010 saw the release of a restored version of Metropolis, the classic German expressionist, sci-fi film directed by Fritz Lang. The restoration started two years earlier, in 2008, when a long sought-after copy of the 1927 film was found in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, and it contained 30 minutes of previously unseen footage. (Get the backstory here.) German experts got to work and fully restored the extended but degraded copy. Then came the big unveiling. In February 2010, the new Metropolis was screened at The Berlin International Film Festival, and ARTE presented a live broadcast. The trailer for the film appears above; and the film, as presented by ARTE, now lives on YouTube.

Older versions of Metropolis — the ones you know so well — are listed in our collection of 420 Free Movies Online. Scroll to the bottom of the page and look under “Silent Films.”

P.S. A rock opera version of Metropolis will be coming to a theater near you. More on that here.

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Jerry’s Map: An Amazing Half Century Act of Imagination

Way back in 1963, Jerry Gretzinger began making a map of his imaginary world. And now, almost 50 years later, the Map weaves together more than 2,000 panels, and covers more than 1,600 square feet of surface area (see photo here).

What started as a simple doodle took on an amazing life of its own. Jerry tells the rest of this story in this short video shot by Greg Whitmore.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll deliver great culture right to your virtual doorstep, day in, day out.

Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Talks Writing @Google

Earlier this month Jennifer Egan, the newly-minted Pulitzer Prize winner, paid a visit to Google to talk about A Visit from the Goon Squad, her experimental novel that won the Pulitzer, among many other awards. That’s the ostensible focus. But the conversation moves quickly into other areas that will interest writers and readers alike — how Egan first develops ideas for her novels, why she writes her first drafts in illegible handwriting on legal pads, why she wrote a chapter of her new novel in PowerPoint (without ever having used the software before), what her novel has in common with The Who’s Quadrophenia (I’m hooked), and how technology might change the novel as we know it.

The Egan video went live yesterday, and runs about 54 minutes. Other videos appearing in the Authors@Google series feature conversations with Salman Rushdie, Neil GaimanElizabeth Gilbert, Michael Pollan, Slavoj Zizek and Junot Diaz. H/T @webacion

Mr. Deity: The Everyday Life of the Creator

Not long after the devastating tsunami of 2004, Brian Keith Dalton began working on a skit that morphed into Mr. Deity, a satirical look at our Creator and his everyday struggle to manage his new creation. The first episode (above) aired on iTunes and the web in early 2007, and straightaway, we encounter Mr. Deity and his sidekick Larry bumbling their way through the Genesis story and related theological questions. (Also don’t miss the pair trying to figure out how to light their new world.) By the second episode, we’re already skipping forward to the New Testament and Mr. Diety recruiting a skeptical Jesus for an important job. Talk about awkward.

57 episodes have since followed, including the most recent installment — Mr. Deity and the Philosopher — released just last week. You can find all episodes easily on iTunes. When it comes to the web, Seasons OneThree and Four appear officially on YouTube, and Season 2 can be best viewed via this informal collection.

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Download Free Courses from Famous Philosophers: From Bertrand Russell to Michel Foucault

You can download hundreds of Free Courses from Great Universities. (Perhaps you already knew that.) And that includes courses by some of the biggest minds teaching in philosophy. (Is that old news too? Or some welcomed good news?) So we’re starting the week by giving you a rundown of some notable mentions.

John Searle began teaching philosophy at UC-Berkeley in 1959, and first did important work on “speech act” theory. Later he turned to consciousness and artificial intelligence, out of which came his famous “Chinese room” thought experiment. You can find a nice trio of classes online.

  • Philosophy of Language – iTunes
  • Philosophy of Mind – iTunes
  • Philosophy of Society – iTunes

Walter Kaufmann spent 33 years teaching philosophy at Princeton. And more than anyone else, Kaufmann introduced Nietzsche’s philosophy to the English-speaking world and made it possible to take Nietzsche seriously as a thinker. Here he delivers three lectures on existentialists.

  • Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre – Web Site

Leo Strauss landed at The University of Chicago in 1949, where he spent decades teaching and writing on political philosophy, especially the political thought of the Ancients. His intellectual legacy is controversial, but his courses valuable.

Find many more Strauss courses here.

Bertrand Russell was one of the most important British philosophers of the last century – a logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. When it comes to this lecture series, start with the bottom lecture first and then work your way up.

  • Authority & the Individual: Six BBC Lectures – Web Site

Michel Foucault taught history and philosophy at the Collège de France and published influential writings on power, knowledge, and discourse.

  • Six Lectures on Truth & Subjectivity presented on the UC Berkeley campus (English) YouTube

Find more Foucault audio here and here.

Hubert Dreyfus has taught many popular existentialism and phenomenology courses also at UC Berkeley, some of which laid the foundation for his new book, All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age.

  • Existentialism in Literature & Film – iTunes
  • Heidegger – iTunes
  • Heidegger’s Being & Time – iTunes

Michael Sandel has taught political philosophy at Harvard since 1980. His course on justice (below) has been taken by more than 15,000 students, making it the most popular undergraduate course at Harvard. This version aired on PBS and the web.

For all 75 philosophy courses, please see the Philosophy section of our list of 575 Free Online Courses.

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Sweet Jane: Then and Now

The Velvet Underground first released “Sweet Jane” in 1970, and a cool version it was. But, soon enough, Lou Reed launched his solo career, put out a live version of “Sweet Jane” on Rock n Roll Animal (1974), and made the song his own. That same year, Reed performed another funk-laden version in Paris, with Prakash John playing bass and Steve Hunter on guitar. And that’s what the vintage video gods are serving up today.

All these years later, Sweet Jane still fires the rock ‘n roll imagination. In 2009, Reed performed the anthem with Metallica at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden, and it laid the foundation for a project now coming to fruition — a collaborative album called Lulu that will drop on October 31st in the US, and November 1 abroad. Reed originally wrote the songs for a play called Lulu, then he brought Metallica into the sometimes emotional project and things just rolled along. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Reed said, “the version of the Lulu music I did with Metallica is awe-inspiring. It’s maybe the best thing done by anyone, ever. It could create another planetary system. I’m not joking, and I’m not being egotistical.” The bar is now officially set high…

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.