What Can We Learn From Ancient Philosophers?

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Duration 01:00:28

Vassar College

Bryan Van Norden is James Monroe Taylor Professor in Philosophy at Vassar College, and Chair Professor in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mellon fellowships, Van Norden has been honored as one of “The Best 300 Professors in the U.S.” by The Princeton Review.


After years of war and a pandemic, government seems near collapse in the leading democracy in the West. Sound familiar? This is Athens in the time of Socrates.  Socrates’ relentless questioning of authority annoyed so many people in Athens that they sentenced him to death. But Socrates also inspired Plato to become a philosopher. Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle, but Aristotle disagreed with Plato about almost everything.  In this class, Professor Van Norden explains what this trio can teach us about living well and solving the problems of a democracy in crisis.



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Marc Tanenbaum

Western Philosophy Artfully Presented

I greatly enjoyed Professor Van Norden’s presentation. He clarified many concepts of the early philosophers in a succinct and descriptive manner. I will listen to this presentation again. Nicely done.

2 years ago
Mary Marcho

Great overview!

Professor Van Norden’s lecture was a very interesting ‘compare & contrast’ with the puzzle parts ultimately joined in a rational picture of these great philosophers! And, he is a most polished & professional presenter!
Thank you!

11 months ago
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