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.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

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!

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Take First-Class Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es Any­where with Free Oxford Pod­casts

Learn The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 247 Pod­casts (With More to Come)

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

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. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

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!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Blade Run­ner Pro­mo­tion­al Film

What is a Blade Run­ner? How Rid­ley Scott’s Movie Has Ori­gins in William S. Bur­roughs’ Novel­la, Blade Run­ner: A Movie

The Sounds of Blade Run­ner: How Music & Sound Effects Became Part of the DNA of Rid­ley Scott’s Futur­is­tic World

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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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­lene Dietrich’s Tem­pera­men­tal Screen Test for The Blue Angel (1929)

Where Hor­ror Film Began: The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari

The Seashell and the Cler­gy­man: The World’s First Sur­re­al­ist Film

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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.

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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

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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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Steve Mar­tin Writes Song for Hymn-Deprived Athe­ists

Woody Allen and the Rev­erend Bil­ly Gra­ham In Con­ver­sa­tion

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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.

  • Hegel: The Phi­los­o­phy of His­to­ry - Web Site
  • Kant — Web Site
  • Niet­zsche, Beyond Good and Evil - Web Site

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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Har­vard Clas­sics: A Free Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tion

Stephen Fry on Phi­los­o­phy & Unbe­lief

The Exis­ten­tial Star Wars: Sartre Meets Darth Vad­er

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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…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Warhol’s Screen Tests: Lou Reed, Den­nis Hop­per, Nico, and More

The Vel­vet Rev­o­lu­tion Revis­it­ed: Hav­el at Colum­bia

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.