Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society
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Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Course Overview
7 sound discs (8 hr.) (14 Lectures)
Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on the subject of perfect societies, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought...more
Audio CD
Published 2008 by Recorded Books
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Survey of "utopian" political works & thinkers. The "discussion" (lecture) held my interest, I've read most of the books covered in this series -- Plato's Republic, The Social Contract, Utopia, Communist Manifesto, Walden Two -- so I followed right along listening critically. Interesting interpretations of these works. Now I should go read New Atlantis by Francis Bacon. Professor Baumann says that's the "utopian" work which most nearly resembles our own society, with its theme of "better liv...more
Clif Hostetler
These lectures explore the history of "utopianism" and "idealism" through the writings of their proponents. Professor Baumann distinguishes between these two categories by saying that the first emphasizes the "no-place" side of utopia, and the second emphasizes the "good place" side of utopia.

Examples of "utopianism" would be Plato's Republic, Moore's Utopia, and Rousseau's The Social Contract. These acknowledge the fundamental insolubility of the human problem because human beings are necessar...more
This series of lectures represents another episode in my life where I can follow every sentence and hear all words and only occasionally understand what is going on. Impressively, I learned a few things:

To my surprise Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto in 1844 and not in the 20th century.

Dr Baumann introduced and downplayed his role in the telling by telling that his interpretation was original, and not necessarily to be followed. His position: All these utopia authors or designers of vis...more
Book 60 2012 Reading Challenge-- I found this book quite variable in quality. I definitely felt that reading the 5 or so books he covers is essential for understanding and appreciating his lectures on Utopias, because the book is not so much about utopias as it is about these books' take on Utopias. Baumann is erudite for sure, and some of the book- particularly the section on Walden Two was interesting and seemed more complete to me. Meaning he thoroughly described Walden Two and then explained...more
Audiobook (series of lectures)

A really enjoyable exploration of historical utopian philosophy with a bit also on the French Revolution and its attempt to implement a Rousseauean utopia. I went into this interested in the philosophy and was initially disappointed to hear it more of an exploration of political science. It ended up being a nice amalgam of the two, and needed to be given that most of the texts discussed were doing philosophy, like The Republic.

Baumann's teaching style was engaging...more
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