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Professor Alan Charles Kors, Ph.D.

Professor Alan Charles Kors
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Harvard University
Voltaire always has the last laugh on us all, which may be by design. Laughter was a weapon for Voltaire, and irony was essential to that laughter.

Dr. Alan Charles Kors is Henry Charles Lea Professor of European History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been teaching since 1968. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. He received postdoctoral fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Professor Kors won two awards for distinguished college teaching and the Engalitcheff Award for defense of academic freedom. He is president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Professor Kors is the author and editor of several books on European intellectual history, including D’Holbach’s Coterie: An Enlightenment in Paris; Atheism in France, 1660-1729: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief; and Anticipations of the Enlightenment in England, France, and Germany. He is editor-in-chief of the four-volume Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. With Harvey A. Silverglate, he is coauthor of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses.

Professor Kors has served as a member of the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities and on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals.

Testimonials

"Professor Kors is an outstanding lecturer--enthusiastic, well spoken, knowledgeable, and inspiring.  If teachers were like him were more common, we'd be a much better educated society."

 

"Dr. Kors delivers a masterful presentation that holds your attention. The ideas and concepts proposed are often not easy to understand, but the professor does it in a straightforward way that does not envelope one in a fog of incomprehension."

 

"Dr. Kors has a way of striking interest for those new to philosophy as well as those with prior exposure to the Enlightenment.  More Kors, please."

20 Courses and Sets

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20 Courses and Sets

  1. Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment

    Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment

    Alan Charles Kors
    Starting at $89.95 Starting at $89.95 $134.95 $89.95$134.95
    In Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment, leading intellectual historian and Professor Alan Charles Kors shares with you his view of Voltaire as one of the most intriguing, influential—and elusive—thinkers of the modern world. Focusing on the most enduring aspects of Voltaire's work and thought, Professor Kors sketches a vibrant, thought-provoking vision of Voltaire as "the father of the Enlightenment"...
  2. Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $349.95 Starting at $349.95 $699.95 $349.95$699.95
    This course brings together 12 professors for 84 lectures on more than 60 of the most important thinkers in history. Enjoy the benefit of learning from the finest scholar-teachers active today while you study the key ideas of influential philosophers from the pre-Socratics to the Postmodernists. The curriculum is comprehensive, incisive, and thought-provoking—in short, an intellectual experience to be...
  3. Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Alan Charles Kors
    Starting at $129.95 Starting at $129.95 $254.95 $129.95$254.95
    Between 1600 and 1800, Europe was seized by an intellectual revolution that challenged previous ways of understanding and sparked radical changes in thought and life. Learn about the age of Newton, Descartes, Pascal, Locke, Rousseau, and more from one of world’s leading intellectual historians.
  4. (Set) Modern Intellectual Tradition & Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition  Set

    (Set) Modern Intellectual Tradition & Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $549.90 Starting at $549.90 $1,074.90 $549.90$1,074.90
  5. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition & Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition & Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $549.90 Starting at $549.90 $1,074.90 $549.90$1,074.90
    Meet the greatest minds in the more than 3,000-year history of philosophy with this comprehensive two-course set. First, get a pointed introduction to the lives and ideas of the Buddha, Confucius, Gandhi, and others in Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition. Then, compare them with their Western counterparts—including Plato, Locke, and Nietzsche—in Great Minds of the Western Intellectual...
  6. (Set) Ethics of Aristotle/Great Minds of the West Set

    (Set) Ethics of Aristotle/Great Minds of the West

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $439.90 Starting at $439.90 $634.90 $439.90$634.90
  7. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $479.90 Starting at $479.90 $954.90 $479.90$954.90
    Uncover answers to some of Western philosophy's greatest questions in this two-course set filled with profound thinkers and their groundbreaking views. Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition is a comprehensive survey of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the revolutionary views of the 20th century. Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory places the key...
  8. (Set) Masters of Greek Thought & Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition  Set

    (Set) Masters of Greek Thought & Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $549.90 Starting at $549.90 $1,074.90 $549.90$1,074.90
    Meet some of Western philosophy's greatest thinkers and explore their undeniable impact on how we view and understand the world around us with this two-course set. Start with an engaging introduction to the three ancient thinkers who gave birth to our intellectual tradition in Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. Then, get a comprehensive survey of Western philosophy as it extends from its...
  9. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition & Skeptics and Believers  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition & Skeptics and Believers

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $549.90 Starting at $549.90 $1,074.90 $549.90$1,074.90
    Strengthen your understanding of history's most powerful and enduring philosophical ideas and issues with this illuminating two-course set. Start by surveying Western intellectual thought as it extends from its origins in classical Greece up through the dilemmas of the late 20th century in Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition. Continue with Skeptics and Believers: Religious Debate in the...
  10. No Excuses: Existentialism; Th Set

    No Excuses: Existentialism; Th

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,219.65 Starting at $1,219.65 $2,394.65 $1,219.65$2,394.65
    It took 3,000 years for the ideas of Western philosophy to reach maturity. With these seven in-depth courses, however, you can encompass its broad scope in a matter of weeks. Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition focuses on the long intellectual debate about the nature of the self, the authority of experience, the right way to live life, and more, while Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition...
  11. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $549.90 Starting at $549.90 $1,074.90 $549.90$1,074.90
    Investigate profound life lessons and philosophical ideas in these two illuminating courses. Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition is a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present. Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life takes the underlying ideas of great written works and shows you how to put them to...
  12. (Set) No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries  Set

    (Set) No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  13. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition; Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition, 2nd Edition; & How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition; Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition, 2nd Edition; & How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,099.85 Starting at $1,099.85 $2,149.85 $1,099.85$2,149.85
    Explore the greatness of Western culture with this epic three-course set that surveys the best that our civilization's intellectual, literary, and musical traditions have to offer. Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition is a comprehensive survey of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the revolutionary views of the 20th century. Great Authors of the Western Literary...
  14. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition/ No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition/ No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $479.90 Starting at $479.90 $954.90 $479.90$954.90
  15. (Set) Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries  Set

    (Set) Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Embark on an intriguing and illuminating foray into the development of modern philosophical concepts, ideas, and thinkers with this two-course set. First, explore the foundations of modern and contemporary Western approaches to reality and knowledge with The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida. Then, solidify your understanding of modern philosophy by taking a closer look at its roots in the...
  16. (Set) Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment/Birth of the Modern Mind  Set

    (Set) Voltaire and the Triumph of the Enlightenment/Birth of the Modern Mind

    Alan Charles Kors
    Starting at $219.90 Starting at $219.90 $219.90 $219.90$219.90
  17. (Set) Einstein's Relativity: Physics/Birth of the Modern Mind Set

    (Set) Einstein's Relativity: Physics/Birth of the Modern Mind

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $359.90 $259.90$359.90
  18. (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition & Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $649.90 Starting at $649.90 $1,324.90 $649.90$1,324.90
    Get a comprehensive look at more than 3,000 years of Western intellectual ideas and the profound philosophers who developed them. Start by surveying more than 60 of our intellectual tradition's greatest minds in Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition. Then, continue your exploration of Western philosophy with The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, in which you focus on the concepts and...
  19. (Set) Power over People & Birth of the Modern Mind  Set

    (Set) Power over People & Birth of the Modern Mind

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  20. (Set) The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries  Set

    (Set) The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas & Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $349.90 Starting at $349.90 $639.90 $349.90$639.90
    Get an in-depth treatment of the philosophies of great thinkers that informed the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, sowing the seeds for the modern West, in this thought-provoking set. Start with The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas and grasp the core ideas of modern Western political philosophy and how they have been used to influence historical events, economic systems, and reforms. Then...