The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization Audiobook, by Arthur Herman Play Audiobook Sample

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization Audiobook

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization Audiobook, by Arthur Herman Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Paul Hecht Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 17.00 hours at 1.5x Speed 12.75 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: November 2013 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781470379537

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

59:58 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

02:14 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

43:36 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Arthur Herman: > View All...

Publisher Description

Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation. However, the same Academy that spread Plato' s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato' s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor' s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture. The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man' s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher' s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato' s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today. From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato' s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers-- but never outside their influence. Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate.

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“A sweeping intellectual history viewed through two ancient Greek lenses…breezy and enthusiastic but resting on a sturdy rock of research.”

— Kirkus Reviews 


  • “A comprehensive look at one of the core debates in world history.”

    — Barnes & Noble, editorial review
  • “Examining mathematics, politics, theology, and architecture, the book demonstrates the continuing relevance of the ancient world.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “A fabulous way to understand over two millennia of history, all in one book.”

    — Library Journal

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About Arthur Herman

Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of nine books, including How the Scots Invented the Modern World and Gandhi and Churchill, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

About Paul Hecht

Paul Hecht’s long career in audiobooks spans dozens of titles and authors as varied as Ray Bradbury and Gore Vidal, Jack Finney and Thomas Mann. He has recorded such books as Bob Dole’s One Soldier’s Story and Alexander McCall Smith’s Portuguese Irregular Verbs and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Hecht’s theater career in New York includes many Broadway and television credits. He has won nine AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narrations.