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In reply to by Formoka

Peter Adamson on 11 May 2017

This series

Thanks! Glad you like it. The title of your comment made me nervous, I was afraid the rest of it would say "... is a huge disappointment."

Xaratustrah on 2 May 2017

Greek heritage

Hi Peter,

it is often stated that the philosophy in the islamic world is a continuation of the greek heritage. Has there been any "new" trends that didn't have roots in greek philosophy (e.g. maybe the illuminationism)? Also I wonder why philosophers in the islamic world drew more on Aristotle rather than Plato, whereas it seemed to me, that the description of God in Plato is rather a better match to that of Abrahamic religions?



In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 2 May 2017

Reception of Greek

The second question is a bit easier to answer: Plato was largely untranslated, apart from Arabic versions of summaries by Galen which did exert some influence (especially on Abu Bakr al-Razi for instance). The reasons for that are not so clear but bear in mind that already in late antiquity, the philosophical curriculum was oriented especially towards Aristotle who was thought to be more appropriate for students, despite the Platonist instructors.

As for the first question, of course throughout the podcast I emphasize that there is a lot of innovation etc even when engaging with Greek philosophy: the biggest leap forward and most influential thinker is Avicenna, who is incredibly original despite the fact that he is deeply engaged with Aristotle. As for Illuminationism, Suhrawardi actually claims to be depending closely on Greek thinkers (Plato, Pythagoras etc) but his thought, in my view, is more like a creative engagement with Avicenna, much as Avicenna was creatively engaging with Aristotle. For philosophy that is largely "independent" of Greek sources you really have to think in terms of Kalam and perhaps some parts of Sufism. As you know I think that counts as part of the history of philosophy but not everyone agrees.

Niranjan Vengallur on 12 April 2017

Request to cover Jainism in depth in the series

Thank you for the all the episodes that give in depth analysis of Indian philosophy. Jainism being one of the mjaor schools of thought that has emerged and flourished in Ancient India definitely needs our attention. Hope you will cover Jainism in detail in the coming podcasts. I am sorry if it has already been announced in the podcasts.

In reply to by Niranjan Vengallur

Peter Adamson on 13 April 2017


That is indeed the plan! The last sub-series for India will be about Buddhism and Jainism, for the Jains we'll be focusing on Umasvati in particular. Pretty soon I'll be posting (on the blog and on Facebook) an episode list for this last run of episodes so you can see what we have planned.

And by the way I hope you saw that episode 15 on non-violence already discussed early Jainism at some length.

Christopher on 31 March 2017

catch up

Hi Peter,

Thank you for the time and effort you put into these podcasts. I am new to Philosophy and find your podcasts a fantastic resource for helping guide me though a subject I have for a long time wanted to learn more about.  I am determined to work through each one, and hopefully catch you up.

Thanks again


In reply to by Christopher

Peter Adamson on 1 April 2017

Catching up

Great! Hope you enjoy the series. If you listen to two podcasts per week you will gain on me and catch up in about five years...

Cierra D. P. on 2 March 2017

General Appreciation and Finding Resources on Yahya ibn 'Adi

Greetings Professor Adamson,

I have been a listener of the podcast for a little over two years now, and not too long after I started listening it became my favorite podcast to listen to by far. As a philosophy major who dropped out of college roughly five years ago, listening to your podcast makes it feel like I never really left the classroom. Learning about the general development of philosophy in the context of their historical periods and traditions provides an excellent way to engage with philosophy even as someone who is not presently enrolled in school; furthermore, we get to watch how new philosophical schools organically develop out of existing philosophical schools, which is a very "active" way to learn philosophy, so to speak. 

I am still catching up to the current point in the podcast, but I am taking my time to digest the episodes thoroughly and enjoy the overall journey. Currently I am listening to the episodes on Avicenna, but learning about Islamic philosophy in general has been so much fun, since these figures are not mentioned in most undergraduate philosophy courses here in the US. Specifically, I enjoyed learning about the Baghdad School and their relationship to al-Farabi's and later Avicenna's philosophical ideas and approach. During those episodes, you mention a figure named Yahya ibn 'Adi, whom has greatly piqued my interest. However, in trying to find further resources online about ibn 'Adi, I find that there is not as much literature readily available about him as I might have hoped. Do you know where I can find out more about him and about the other members of the Baghdad School prior to al-Farabi?

Again, thank you so much for all the effort and time you dedicate to this project, and I have enjoyed hearing about giraffes and Buster Keaton with you. It has been a pleasure to be a long-term listener and student of yours, and I look forward to finally catching up to the current point one day, haha.

Kind Regards,

Cierra D. P. 

In reply to by Cierra D. P.

Peter Adamson on 3 March 2017

Ibn 'Adi

Thanks for your generous comment! Glad you find the series valuable.

You're right that there is not as much info on Ibn 'Adi as there might be. One good overview would be in this volume that just appeared:

If you cannot get a hold of it, shoot me an email and I will send you the pages on Ibn 'Adi.

binge listener on 15 February 2017

I have the shakes

Hello Peter

I like to listen to the podcast by bingeing on all the episodes in a zip file. I found that when listening week by week, if you referred to somebody from a few episodes back, I had completely forgotten who they were. Now that I'm up-to-date I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms waiting for the next zip file to be available.

One of the things I enjoy about your podcast is that you manage to explain something at just the right depth. On some podcasts, something fairly simple is given too much time and on some others, something fairly deep is rushed through. I was listening recently to a podcast about the Stoic atttude to death. Something they say we should be indifferent to. Quite profound with many implications. The podcast flashed through the ideas so fast I had to play it back again a couple of times to get an opportunity for those ideas to percolate and sink in. I nearly always find you pitch your explanations at just the right depth for me. Not dwelling on the straightforward and taking time to unpack the complex or counterintuitive. It's sometimes said you don't notice good writing, but you do notice bad writing. Maybe it's the same with podcasts. Or maybe there are podcasts out there at differing depths for differing people and this just happens to be the one suited to me. Whatever, it's a pleasure to listen to.

Thanks again for a great podcast.

In reply to by binge listener

Peter Adamson on 15 February 2017

Shaken not stirred

Great! Glad that you find it pitched at the right level - as you can imagine I think about that a lot, though in a sense there is no right answer because people with different backgrounds are bound to listen to it. But I'm glad it is right for you anyway. Thanks for listening!

Shawn Loht on 9 February 2017


This is a great service.
I hope you can continue it for a long time!
I love that it is free.

Jemma on 4 February 2017

Thank you!

Dear Prof Adamson

Thank you so much for your wonderful podcasts on the History of Philosophy, which I discovered a couple of weeks ago. I studied Philosophy at A-level and loved it, but always had aspirations of becoming a medical doctor. When it came to applying to university, I was so torn and decided I would try for medical school and if I didn't get in, I would pursue philosophy. I did get in and it's 12 years later and I still feel the pangs of what might have been. 

Hopefully one day I will have the time and resources to go back and study philosophy, but in the mean time your podcasts have filled the void and brightened up my commute, my household chores, my grocery shopping!

Thank you so much again, for the effort you put in to create such a rich resource. It is so appreciated.

Warm wishes


In reply to by Jemma

Peter Adamson on 4 February 2017

12 years later

Great! I'm glad you enjoy the series. Hope that your medical career has flourished, perhaps philosophy's loss has been medicine's gain!

Andreea on 30 January 2017

Thank you!

Dear Mr. Adamson,

I just discovered the podcasts a few weeks ago, and I've been listening to nothing else on my morning commute. I just wanted to say how brilliant they are, and how much they've rekindled my love for the subject. I don&'t think I've ever had history or philosophy explained so clearly to me while I was at school

It's a shame that more places don't teach philosophy. I grew up in Romania before I moved to the UK aged 18. Philosophy, logic, latin and economics were all in the curriculum around years 11 and 12 (before the baccalaureate exam/A level equivalent) and you can actually choose one of them as part of your final examination. They are some of the most underrated subjects while at school, yet consistently some of the most useful things I've ever learnt in my entire life.

Since I started listening to your podcast I felt both happy because of all of the above, but als sad, because I felt like I had a huge void in the form of islamic philosophy that was never taught in school. I'm really eager to fill that gap though I have a few hundred more episodes to go!

I guess this is a very long and enthusiastic post to say thank you for doing what you're doing!

Kind regards,

In reply to by Andreea

Peter Adamson on 30 January 2017


Thank you so much for your note! Very encouraging, to say the least. I couldn't agree more about teaching philosophy in schools, I mean before university level. Even with very young kids it makes sense - there is truth to the cliche that children are natural philosophers!

Hope you enjoy the remaining episodes.

Spencer on 30 January 2017

Great Stuff

hope this didn't get deleted when i missed the captcha. anyways - love the podcast. i'm wondering if anyone has ever got in touch with you re: best practices for putting something like this together. i think yours is an amazing resource, and one of the best uses i've seen of the podcast format to do more than just duplicate various characteristics of talk-shows/audiobooks. do you have a set of rules you follow in determining what gets an episode, how to structure them, where the big arcs will go, etc.? would love to listen to a history of music with no gaps - maybe someone in your music department wants to email pitchfork and get it started? i'd listen for sure!

In reply to by Spencer

Peter Adamson on 30 January 2017

Best practice

Thanks very much! No, I have never got a query like that though there is a Facebook group for podcasters where people trade tips and that might be the better place to go anyway. I guess if I were going to give advice I would probably do it in the form of "here are all the mistakes I made" since I have made plenty along the way!

Herman on 21 December 2016

Dear Prof. Adamson,

Dear Prof. Adamson,

Some years ago, when I was at a point in my life where I really was not quite sure what to do with it, I listened to the podcast a lot working random jobs. It kindled and confirmed my love for philosophy to the extend that it played a significant role in me choosing to study it at university. So as I am about to start working on my bachelor thesis next semester I would like to sincerely thank you for this excellent podcast. It truly is a great resource for anyone interested in (the history of) philsophy.

Kind regards,


In reply to by Herman

Peter Adamson on 21 December 2016


Well that made my day! Thanks for the comment, that was like an early Christmas present. Good luck with the thesis!

Ebnomer Taha on 23 November 2016

on another group of Authors

Dear Prof. Adamson
It was entertaining and enlightening to me discovering this website also refreshing after reading your book a short history.
I'm sure you are familiar with many other names of authors that are not really covered in the classical curriculum that we are alll in I want to mention some names here if you allow me:

From Al Andalua perhaps lisan ul Din Ibn Khatib (lived in the same period as Ibn Khaldoun) he wrore several treatises on Literature, Geography Philosophical sufism and political Philosophy such as Risalat fi al Siyasah and numerous others.

Perhaps from the Levant Sayf ul Din al-Amidi he has also unpublished manuscripts (one in Bratislava) that are still not reviewed.

And from the ottoman empire you did already had a podcast about Katib Calabi which I liked but but I am also interested to hear more from author's like Aghisari and Ibrahim Müferikka.
Least not last in Muslim india I am intersted to hear something about Shah Wallillah and Ahmad Sirhindi am not sure you sonsider them philosopher bus still I had to ask.

In reply to by Ebnomer Taha

Peter Adamson on 23 November 2016

Other authors

Thanks for the additional names - I am actually running a project here at the LMU in Munich that is looking at texts of Amidi, among others. Apart from that I should mention that Shah Wali Allah is actually discussed in the podcast, in episode 191. You can see a full list of the thinkers discussed in the timeline on the Islamic world, with links to the relevant episodes.


Raphael on 16 November 2016

Kashmir Saivism

Hello Dr. Adamson

Will you also cover - within your Indian series - monistic Saiva philosophy, especially what is termed "Kashmir Shaivism" within an indological framework (including its most famous 10th century exponent Abhinavagupta)?

Kashmir Shaivism has been experiencing quite a scientific as well as popular reception within the last decades and as a student of Indian religion, I think it cannot be missed in any comprehensive approach on Indian philosophy.

Especially the works by Oxford professor Alexis Sanderson, Mark Dyczkowkski or David Lawrence ("Rediscovering God with transcendental argument") have been very influencing in this field. One of the densest and most important philosophical texts of this "tradition" is the Isvarapratyabhijnakarika by Utpaladeva which has been rendered into a nice English critical edition by Raffaelle Torella. There the influences of various philosophical schools of that time - Vedanta, Nyaya, Bartrihari's language school as well as Buddhist Sautrantika (the main "opponent" of this text in terms of the momentariness theory) - become very apparent. Not to mention the Tantric "encyclopedia" Tantralokah by Abhinavagupta himself who tried to do an exegesis of the existent Tantric traditions of the Kashmir valley of that time.

I'd say (and this can be taken in a normative sense) that this monistic Tantric philosophy can be considered as one of the most profound philosphical streams not only within Indian philosophy, but philosophy as a whole.

All the best,


In reply to by Raphael

Peter Adamson on 16 November 2016

Kashmir Saivism

Thanks, that's a very helpful suggestion. I think that this is actually chronologically later than we are going to go with this initial series on India, but we might come back and do more episodes on India later. I am actually planning an episode on Tantra in this initial series, though, and maybe I could get in some of this material there.

Nathanael on 18 October 2016

Raymond Lull

Dr. Adamson, if you don't mind my asking, why didn't Raymond Lull make the cut for the poscast?

In reply to by Nathanael

Peter Adamson on 18 October 2016


He did, it's just that I am saving him for a 14th c episode on science - I want to discuss him there as background. He would deserve his own episode, I have to admit, but the medieval series is getting insanely long so I am putting some figures into thematic episodes like this.

Milad Rabiee on 17 October 2016

Why reading Islamic philosophy?

Dear Dr. Adamson


Is there any philosophical, not historical, necessity to read Islamic philosophy? I know Avicenna, Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra were leading figures of this philosophy, but I do not know why I ought to reflect on their philosophy.

In reply to by Milad Rabiee

Peter Adamson on 17 October 2016

Why bother?

Well, in part this is just a version of the question "why study history of philosophy at all". I give a detailed answer to that in episode 250, so you might give that a listen. For this tradition in particular there would be a host of specific reasons too, for instance the importance of understanding the historical roots of today's Islam and its relations over time to other (including European) cultures, and of course just the fact that some of the philosophy is quite brilliant. For instance Avicenna's proof for the existence of God is, if not actually convincing, probably among the most powerful ever such proofs. But ultimately the proof is in the pudding, as they say: you sort of have to go through the material or in this case listen to the podcasts and see which ideas and arguments you find compelling, and how often they come along.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Milad Rabiee on 18 October 2016

Dear Dr. Adamson

Dear Dr. Adamson

Thank you so much for your detailed reply. To be sure, I will listen to the podcast.

Before reading any philosopher, I  have two questions in my mind:

1) What are his problems? If I find my problems in his philosophy, I would be eager to follow his philosophy;

2) What role does his philosophy as a whole play in the history of philosophy?

How could I find the replies, at least about the three main figures of Islamic philosophy?

In reply to by Milad Rabiee

Peter Adamson on 18 October 2016

Top three?

So are you thinking that the three main figures are Avicenna, Suhrawardi and Mulla Sadra? They are all key figures for sure but I wouldn't necessarily single them out as more important than others, apart from Avicenna - so for instance Ibn Khaldun, al-Farabi, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Averroes, or Ibn 'Arabi probably rank as equal in importance with Suhrawardi and Sadra. Not that it's a competition! I just mention this because it sounds like you might be following an approach which turns on reading the whole tradition from the lens of Sadra, which I find rather limiting and unhelpful.

Anyway I obviously talk a lot about the second of your questions in the episodes; for the first I agree we should try to find out how philosophers speak to our concerns, but also remember to be aware that they have their own concerns and that we should be open to understanding what they were. Insisting that history of philosophy answers OUR questions means we miss one of the most important things it can give us, which is the realization that one might have other questions.

Punforgettable on 13 October 2016

Seeking deeper-study advice

Hi Professor Adamson,

First off I would like to thank you for rekindling my interest in philosophy with you excellent podcast -- I must confess that I started at, and am working my way through, the Arab section of the episodes -- but I plan to go back to the beginning after that.

I wonder if you could recommend books/resources for a self-study path I have in mind: tracing Aristotle to the Copenhagen Interpretation of Physics, with a special emphasis on the potential compatibility of the latter with Ashari occasionalism e.g. al-Ghazali.

I realize this is probably ambitious verging on the absurd, but I would be interested to try. I imagine a path from Organum to Incoherence of the Philosophers to Newton to Heisenberg, but I am not sure which texts would be best, nor whether authors prior to Aristotle would be worth studying for such a focus.

Many thanks for a great podcast and all the puns.

In reply to by Punforgettable

Peter Adamson on 14 October 2016


Yes, that is indeed ambitious. I think there is the core of a sensible idea there though which is to think about the history of indeterminism in physics. For that the key ancient idea would probably be the swerve in Epicureanism (cf episode 55). I would be careful not to conflate indeterminism with occasionalism, as we see it in e.g. Asharism or Malebranche. It is one thing to say that physical events can happen without being determined by physical causes, another to say that they are determined, but not by physical causes - since they are determined by God instead.

Janet G on 30 September 2016

Query re copyright issues

Professor Adamson,

Thank you for your incredible work. I would like to add links to some of your podcasts in my online class. I'm writing to ask for permission to do that and also to ask how you would prefer that I ackowledge your work. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Many thanks,


In reply to by Janet G

Peter Adamson on 2 October 2016


Yes please do! The more people link to and hear the podcast the better. I'd be curious to hear more about your class and how you're using the podcasts in it.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Janet G on 2 October 2016

Awesome! Thanks so much!!!

Awesome! Thanks so much!!!

Deborah Bell on 20 September 2016

"Plato's Podcasts" by Mark Vernon


I have been slowly working my way through your podcast, which I find very interesting and accessible. I don't have much background in history or philosophy and I'm very grateful for this podcast.

I have a rather odd question I was hoping you wouldn't mind me asking. I am taking a basic world civ history class this semester in college, and this week the unit covered 1000-350 BCE. A few extremely short YouTube videos amounting to basically soundbites about a few famous Greek philosophers, intending to acquaint the class briefly with the subject. The videos were all by someone named Mark Vernon and the series is apparently titled "Plato's Podcasts"; he has also written a book of the same title.

The problem is this: even accounting for the brevity of the videos, they are still very strange and do not accord with what I understood from your podcast. For example, in the minute devoted to Plato, he said that Plato's philosophy was basically all about love, and he read a few lines that he said were Plato speaking in the first person about people he personally was passionately in love with. I remember you saying many times that Plato didn't leave us anything in his own voice, and wrote in dialogues; also, I have not gotten the impression that his philosophy was at root all about love. As another example, in the video on Zeno, he said that Zeno taught in shops because how you shop tells you a lot about a person, and that philosophy should be practical, and that stoicism is named after the Greek word for store or shop. I looked up that last bit and what I found indicated just "the painted porch" not stores or shops in particular.

I am wondering if you are familiar with this person or his work at all, and if you know if it is accurate in general? Do you know of any relatively short multimedia sources I could suggest to the history department to use instead?

Here's a link to the video on Plato:

And to the book on Amazon:…

Thanks for your time,

Deborah Bell

In reply to by Deborah Bell

Peter Adamson on 20 September 2016


Wow, that's pretty wacky. I googled around a bit - the only hit I could get for his Plato poem is from an old "miscellaneous poem" collection but maybe he's recounting some kind of ancient legends about Plato (which of course would have no basis in fact). Vernon seems to be a therapist or lifestyle guru type who dabbles in amateur ancient philosophy. I'd steer clear, though in fairness I have only spent 5 minutes in his company so perhaps he is more serious than he seems to be at first glance.

Gábor Iván on 15 September 2016


Dear Peter,

Since my first comment got deleted it seems, let me quickly summarize it. Thank you ever so much for the wonderful podcast you make, especially for us, who never majored or minored at philosophy for one reason or another, and through your great work, still get the chance to feel part of the philosophy community and enjoy the discussion and think about it. It means very much for me that you do this, and wish you'd never stop making the podcasts.

 And in case noone ever have said this to you: Please don't stop with the puns. I love them

  Thanks for all you do.

  Iván Gábor

In reply to by Gábor Iván

Peter Adamson on 15 September 2016


Thanks so much! I have to admit that it is indeed very encouraging to get messages like this from listeners - it would be hard to stay motivated if it all just went out into the void of the internet without the audience ever responding.

Glad you like the puns, since I probably couldn't persuade myself to stop including them even if I tried.

JustinH on 6 September 2016


Namaskar Peter,

I am an assistant Prof of English Lit/philosophy in Taiwan, researching Tantric, Daoist, and Buddhist thought. I am on episode 213, and episode 10 of Indian Philo. Your work is succint, thought-provoking, and just down-right suitable as background to my daily yoga. I have recommended my colleagues listen in, and they are hooked. I guess CJ is a former classmate of mine at National Taiwan University ;)

Historically speaking, you might find it interesting that the pre-historical dating of the Rg Veda is about as contested as it gets. There are many (myself included) who argue that the oral tradition of proto-Tantra-Yoga and Vedic thought arose several millennia before the 1500 BCE terminus a quo accepted by many Western Indologists. The relevance of the oral traditions and geological data like the flow of the Sarasvati river etc. and the so called Aryan invasion/migration theory to this historiography bears following. The Indian philosopher and Tantric Guru P.R. Sarkar has particularly interesting things to say about proto-Tantra existing before 5500 BCE and that some Vedic hymns were first composed in 10-12000 BCE. As polemical as this may sound, the longevity of oral accounts suggest the Vedic material might have been around long before scripts. Perhaps you know all this but it might be interesting for you listeners to hear this side of the story - kind of like a meta-historiography of Indian though contextualized by the critical role of the religion/spirituality in the narrative of India. (this is also a shameless but well deserved plug for Sarkar who stands out for his reformation of Shiva Tantra, social philosophy, political ideology, and Neo-humanism to name but a few of the areas he has impacted).

Once again, you are doing a sterling job, and if you are ever in Taiwan please look me up. I will hook you up with some fine croissants.

In reply to by JustinH

Peter Adamson on 8 September 2016

Date of the Vedas

Right, I did see when I was reading up on the early India episodes that the dating of the early Vedas is very difficult. You tend to see things like "composed over several centuries and in such-and-such a century if not earlier." It's like trying to date Homer - ultimately if we are dealing with oral traditions, certainty is impossible.

Incidentally in the next couple of weeks I am scheduled to write a draft script on the Yoga Sutra!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Justin Hewitson on 25 September 2016


Excellent, the Yogasūtras will be one I will watch out for. It would be fun if you could also get into the whole Buddhist-Tantra-Yoga atman debate. These discussions on ipseity and mind are far more sophisticated than what modern phenomenology has pulled off. I am sure Jonardon would agree.

Valentin on 26 August 2016

Thank You

Dear Peter

Just wanted to say hello and thank you for a brilliant and very helpful series of podcasts. I am currently writing a PhD on Shakespeare and Renaissance Poetics, and my areas of of interests touch on the relationship between Plato and Neoplatonist philosophies and Elizabethan Poetry, especially with regards to/in tension with late medieval 'Nominalism'.

Anyway, just wanted to say I am really enjoying the podcast (am some 200 episodes behind though, just started on the Skeptics) even though I seem to have developed a habit of warning my students midway through a seminar with a 'Now, I know what you're thinking'. Can't seem to shake it off.

All the best,


In reply to by Valentin

Peter Adamson on 26 August 2016


Thank you very much! I am actually planning on covering Shakespeare when I get to the Renaissance, so if you have any tips please let me know.

Eventually I dropped the "I know what you're thinking thing," it was getting old and doesn't feature in later episodes. But I kept the giraffes.

CJ on 24 August 2016

Long-term Plans

Just so you know, I really, really enjoy your blog! As a student of literature, I benefit greatly from your without any gaps strategy in bolstering my own grasp of the history of philosophy.

So how recent do you plan on bringing this podcast? I think recent developments in philosophy are fascinating, but it can take some time for philosophers to be canonized. Also, how do you plan on tackling the analytic-Continental divide?

Cheers, and keep it up!

(PS. I find your work ethic mind-boggling! Do take care of yourself.)

In reply to by CJ

Peter Adamson on 25 August 2016

Future plans

Thanks very much! I actually address your question in the FAQ here on the site (at the bottom of the page) and also I touch on the Continental philosophy question in episode 250. The short answer is, I have no plans to stop anytime soon. I would be inclined not to do a sharp analytic-continental contrast if and when I get there, but to see them perhaps as two often intertwined aspects of early 20th century philosophy.

Nathanael on 15 August 2016

Dr. Adamson, I am a big fan

Dr. Adamson, I am a big fan of the podcast, though I'm late to the party (I started listening this spring and I'm almost caught up, which means I will soon have to go at a normal pace instead of blazing through 1-2 episodes a day). I know it's a long way away but I was wondering if you were planning on covering Protestant philosophers like Petrus Ramus, Bartholomäus Keckermann, Johann Heinrich Alsted, and Johannes Althusius when you (eventually) reach the 16th century.

In reply to by Nathanael

Peter Adamson on 17 August 2016


Thanks, glad you like the series! I will definitely cover the Protestant Reformation in considerable detail though I don't have a plan for exactly which figures to cover beyond the most obvious ones. Actually I have an even more basic problem which is how to integrate the story of the Reformation with the Renaissance - it may be that the Reformation is its own sub-series and book. We'll see! Anyway thanks for the suggested names.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Nathanael on 17 August 2016

Drawing Lines Is Hard

Yeah, that's a tough one. It's my understanding that although the first (and some of the second) generation reformers used some pretty strong anti-philosophical rhetoric, by the time the second and third generation Lutheran and Reformed thinkers established Protestant universities and set university curricula, they didn't look that much different than the post-Trent Catholic universities, philosophically speaking (obviously, there were major theological differences). So the textbooks of Protestant folks like Keckermann, Clemens Timpler, and Franco Burgersdijk on the Reformed side and Cornelius Martini on the Lutheran side are still working very much in a broadly Aristotelian framework. 

I know that some later Reformed and Lutheran (and Catholic) folks in the 17th century followed Descartes but others defended a more medieval philosophical outlook, writing some excellently titled books like Novitatum Cartesianarum Gangraena (by Petrus van Mastricht). See:…

Anyway, good luck figuring out where to draw the lines in the 15th-17th centuries! That is an era whose philosophy has attracted far too little attention, so I look forward to your coverage, but it sure makes your job difficult!

Glen Perry on 18 June 2016

The Digital Garden

Hello to the HoP crew. Thanks for all the hard work you put into the show. Me and my giraffe just can't get enough of it. There's nothing that we love more than kicking back with a few almond croissants, putting on our Buster Keaton costumes, and bumping this sh**.

In reply to by Glen Perry

Peter Adamson on 19 June 2016

You and your giraffe

Thanks! Hiawatha says to say hi to your giraffe and if s/he is ever in the neighborhood to stop by for some acacia leaves.

Adam Smith on 13 May 2016

Add the podcasts to Google Play!

Hey Peter, thanks so much for all the work you put into the podcasts, I look forward to every episode. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but it makes my day brighter getting to learn from you.

I wanted to let you know, if you didn't already, that Google Play Music now has a podcast aggregation functionality. That means that every Android phone out there (which is something like 80% of the smartphone market worldwide) finally has a native podcast app! I have been able to find all my technology and history podcasts, but your work was noticeably absent from my searches. Might be worth looking into, that's a huge audience!

Best wishes,
~ Adam

In reply to by Adam Smith

Peter Adamson on 14 May 2016

Google Play

Oh, thanks for the tip! This is my problem as a podcaster, I don't really know much about the technical side of things and what people are actually using to access podcasts! I'll look into it.

Lonnie Gentry on 12 May 2016

Another thank you!

Peter, thanks so much for this podcast! I'm on #208 (started with #1) and I'm now thoroughly enjoying the trip through medieval philosophy. I'm especially grateful for the balanced and fair way you present the faiths that are part of the history of philosophy. I have a background in Christian theology and have developed a passion for philosophy later in life, so I'm playing catch up. This podcast is perfect for that. Keep up the good work! Lonnie 

In reply to by Lonnie Gentry

Peter Adamson on 12 May 2016


Great, I'm glad you are enjoying the series! Some listeners are not so enthusiastic about all the details about the religious traditions, so it's nice to hear from listeners who do find this aspect interesting (for myself, I think that like it or not taking religion seriously is just unavoidable if you really want to get deeply into the history of philosophy for almost all periods).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Adam Smith on 13 May 2016


I think one of the best things about studying philosophy from different cultures (and let's be real, medieval Europe is a different culture too) is that you get down to that nitty-gritty detail tha you never get in school.  Studying religion through philosophy gives both subjects a context that makes them much more meaningful than looking at them in a vacuum, and following doctrine to its logical (or a possible logical) conclusion helps us understand why certain religions take the actions or make the stands that they do.  Don't shy away from doing more about religion when it's relevant to the discussion, please!

andrea kring on 30 April 2016

thank you

i need this in my life. your work is a benefit to us all.  thank you for providing this extensive and satisfying podcast. 

geert van eynde on 29 April 2016

Thank you

Thank you for your way of sharing thoughts.

I'm looking forward to your spotlights on Levinas. Someday.

However, even 'gaps' (Tao Te Ching #11) have their value, so of course I wouldn't even hold your main goal against you. :)

Kind regards,

Xaratustrah on 12 April 2016

Hey Peter,

Hey Peter,

I am a long time listener now and was thinking it would be time to say thanks for the great podcast series. I sometimes imagine that we HoPWAG fans sit around you in a garden and you explain and we listen, all wearing chlamys, yours in black. Then I get lost into the details of the garden: it should be early summer time with the Sun high in the sky, the fresh breeze, fruits hanging from the trees, distant sound of a market musician playing a lyre, the paved paths in the garden, not stone or mosaic, but solid marble (no gaps), and the sign on the entrance that says:

“Μηδείς αντίκαμηλοπάρδαλη είσίτω μον τήν στέγην.”

then I realise that I need to rewind the several minutes of the pod cast that have passed without me paying attention. Maybe the quality of recordings is too good, you need to introduce some additive white noise for more attention! :-)

Thanks again and looking forward to more episodes…


In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 12 April 2016

Garden of delights

That sounds good to me! You would have made a great Epicurean.

Thanks for getting in touch!

Robert on 18 March 2016

More Sophistry, Please

How about some attention to Protagoras, Democritus, and Gorgias, and the tension between their epistemic stance, vs. Plato's idealism?

In reply to by Robert

Peter Adamson on 18 March 2016

I actually covered that

I actually covered that pretty extensively didn't I? In the Sophists episode (number 14) and then throughout the episodes on Plato.

Jeremy on 27 February 2016

Have your own views changed?

Hi Peter, I'm a longtime listener and admirer of your podcast. What has most impressed me is when you have some back-and-forth with interviewees, and we get glimpses of your own views of what might be hidden weaknesses or problems in this or that view. What I would love to know is how, if at all, your own views have changed in the process of working through all of this material. (Maybe it's on the blog, which I haven't read.) It'd be really interesting to hear whether any of the arguments you've had to study to present them have changed your own positions--on metaphysics, ethics, phil. of relig. questions, or whatever. In a similar vein, it'd be fun to hear which philosophers have most impressed or surprised you. Who would make your top 10 for clever insights, or for durability of their contributions, etc. Or are there any who have most surprised you--who turned out on closer inspection to be different from the "textbook" version of them? A 20-minute segment where you summed up how this work has shaped you would be really fun. Keep up the good work!

In reply to by Jeremy

Peter Adamson on 28 February 2016

Changing views

Thanks, that's a very interesting question! Unfortunately it is too late for me to add a bit in episode 250 (a Q&A episode) on this, but just quickly, my basic answer would be that my views on philosophical issues as such have not changed a lot. But my views about the history of philosophy have changed greatly - I just have a much better sense of how little of it is actually included, usually, and how much interesting material there is in authors I previously didn't know about. Aside from the obvious area of Indian philosophy, which was unknown to me until we started tackling it in the podcast, I think the biggest surprises to me have been the Patristic authors (late ancient Christians) and later Islamic philosophy aside from Mulla Sadra, who I did know about. Both of these underappreciated periods have far more philosophically fascinating material than I at first expected. I think in both cases I was expecting to devote, say, 5 episodes to material that in the end became 15 or 20. Also I have gotten rather interested in the whole question of female thinkers, and which ones are overlooked or underappreciated - which connects to the question of mysticism's relation to philosophy since some but not all women thinkers (e.g. Rabia, Hildegard) are considered mystics as well as - or by some, instead of - philosophers.

Henrique Moraes on 21 November 2015

Just love it! Would like to support

Dear Peter,

I've been hearing the podcast for about a year now. I'm currently around episode 103 and just loving it. I'm an engineer from Brazil who's very interested on philosophy at an amateur / non-academic level, and I find your podcast THE best around. I also follow others like: Philosophy Bites and The Partially Examined Life (pretty good!), each one has it's own focus, purpose and format, but the HOPWAG is indeed the most instructive and didactic one.
I'd like to see this work going on up to the contemporary philosophers of mind like Daniel Dennett et all. It would be a hell of a journey! Is there any way people can support your project? Do you plan to go all the way to 21th Century?

Well, what you've already accomplished is amazing and I'm grateful for having the opportunity to follow.
Congratulations and don't lose the steam!


In reply to by Henrique Moraes

Peter Adamson on 21 November 2015


Thanks, I'm glad you like the series! If you want to check out yet another philosophy podcast there is also "Elucidations" which is a bit more advanced. As far as supporting this project goes, thanks very much but really your encouragement is enough - you could, if you want, add a positive comment on the iTunes feed which always helps.

François Toutée on 14 November 2015

Plato and giraffes

Hello, reading through a book on animal ethics, during the historical section I came upon a remarkable passage. While stressing that for many ancient thinkers the differences between animals and man were a matter of degrees, the author mentioned that for Plato, the intelligence of a being was indicated by the distance between the ground and it's head. I was extremely excited, as that would de facto promote the giraffe to the title of the most intelligent being. So in your knowledge is there any truth in that? :)

Thank you!

In reply to by François Toutée

Peter Adamson on 15 November 2015

Plato on giraffes

Yes, fantastic point! Actually the passage I guess you're thinking of is Timaeus 69 and here he doesn't quite say that but does say that the divine part of the soul (reason) should be as far from the mortal soul (in the midriff) as possible. Hence it gets put in the head - and of course giraffes' heads are _much_ further from their midriffs than ours. So there you go.

On the other hand they have four stomachs, so perhaps the long neck only makes up for that.

Michel de Silva on 24 October 2015

250th episode question

Hello Peter,
Nice work. Loved the podcast. Twice and soon a third time. Can't wait to sink my ears into the indian and the african history of philosophy.

I keep feeling there is a ressemblance the dichotomy of platonic Forms and the material world on one side and the avicennan dichotomy of Essence and Existence. And I keep wishing I could find someone who explicitly distinguishes the notion of Forms from Essence and the notion of the material world from Existence.

Do you think you could answer this question in your 250th episode or simply give some pointers and reminders towards an author or authors who do see the ressemblance and distinguish one from the other

In reply to by Michel de Silva

Peter Adamson on 24 October 2015

forms and essence

Thanks - I'll put this on the list of questions to tackle!

Christine on 27 September 2015

downloading podcasts

Is there a means to download the podcasts, a friend wishes to listen to them while they drive in their car.

Josh on 23 September 2015

Pre-Pre-Socratic Mediterranean Philosophy

I love the podcast! It must take a lot of work; thanks for doing it :)

A question for the 250th episode:

A couple people have mentioned to me in passing that there was ancient Egyptian and Jewish philosophy which predated Thales, but I've never seen a book that discusses this topic or heard of a class that covers it. Do we have enough information about these very ancient philosophers to say anything much about them at all? Being an expert on filling gaps, maybe you know of some nice books or papers on the topic that I could read?


In reply to by Josh

Peter Adamson on 23 September 2015


Great question, thanks. I'll add that to the list. Quick answer so you don't have to wait for so long: you may want to check out the Egyptian History Podcast, which has among other things discussed ethical writings that I would classify as philosophical.

Sumana Harihareswara on 22 September 2015

Looking forward to history of Indian philosophy

Thank you for starting the history of Indian philosophy podcast! I have subscribed and am starting to listen. I especially look forward to understanding how Indian philosophy has addressed issues of caste and gender.

khju on 21 September 2015

20th Century Continental Phil

Any guess on the timetable for 20th Century Continental Philosophy? Particularly the poststructuralists. It's the bit I'm most looking forward too :)

In reply to by khju

Peter Adamson on 22 September 2015

20th c Continental

Oh dear, I'm afraid you'll have to be very, very patient because I am going chronologically and (as you may have noticed) not all that quickly. Assuming I carry on up to the 20th century it will be years until I get there! But I would enjoy covering that, I think; would certainly stretch my phlosophical competence and interests since I am more of an analytic philosophy style historian.

Charles on 9 September 2015

Your sponsor


Love the podcast.  I'm at #67 and am looking forward to hearing them all.

At the beginning of each episode you name the sponsor, but the name is unfamiliar so I don't know what I'm hearing.  Can you name them on your website somewhere?


In reply to by Charles

Peter Adamson on 11 September 2015


I think you mean the Leverhulme Trust? I had sponsorship for them for the first couple of years.

asmaa on 2 September 2015

on avicenna

what do you think about the concern of avicenna when he states metaphisical distinction between existene and essence?i mean  this distinction is logical when aristotel talk about it but avicenna speak of metaphisical distinction ant enter it to world and tell every thing has two aspects: one  its existence and another  its essence or quiddity



In reply to by asmaa

Peter Adamson on 3 September 2015


Hi there - Well, I talk a lot about this in the podcast, in episodes 139 and 177 including this question of whether it is a merely conceptual or metaphysical distinction. So maybe you should check out those episodes?

In reply to by asmaa

Stephen Grossman on 19 April 2016

Existence And Essence

There are no metaphysical gaps in existence as a whole, however stated. As Parmenides knew, "Neither is there more Being here nor less Being there, but it is all together." Hegel knew this, for a moment, but then dialectically waltzed away. "...the ground, besides being the unity, is also the difference of identity and  difference." As Rand knew, "Existence is identity."

Raphael Pallais on 30 August 2015

Modern Teleology

Dear Mr. Adamson,


As an avid listener, I am grateful for the all-inclusive effort.  In the age of specialized specialism, appreciation of the totality of anything is a breath of fresh, radical air.

I understand it might be way off in the future, but have you heard of Modern Teleology, a (mostly) French theoretical and perfectly anonymous undertaking comprising a thorough critique of all dominant currents (trends) of thought up to the first half of the XXth Century and attempting an entirely original re-thinking of all major philosophical concepts  --indeed, of philosphy itself-- from concept to end (both end and finality), to reality and everything in between?

Just curious if this has ever come to your keen attention.




In reply to by Raphael Pallais

Peter Adamson on 31 August 2015

Modern teleology

Hi, and glad that you like the podcast! I have to admit Modern Theology is new to me (though that isn't too surprising since contemporary French thought isn't really my area). Is it inspired by Aristotelianism?

Scott Sevier on 26 August 2015

Renaissance phil


Will you be covering Ficino? I'd love to hear a podcast on Ficino's platonism and platonic commentaries.

In reply to by Scott Sevier

Peter Adamson on 27 August 2015


Oh absolutely. The plan is to move on to Byzantine philosophy after Latin medieval, followed by Renaissance. So (especially given that alternate weeks will be devoted to Indian philosophy for at least a year) it will be a while, but I will most definitely cover Ficino in some depth.

sica on 22 August 2015

Musical intro

Hello, Peter! Congratulations for the great work!


I would like to know what is the music played in the greek flute. What is the recording?


Thank you!

In reply to by sica

Peter Adamson on 23 August 2015

Intro music

Thanks! There are links to all the introductory music clips on the Links page (see the bottom of this page or here).

Phillip on 25 July 2015


Hello Peter

I just wanted to thank you for this amazing work. I'm also very intrigued on how do you manage your time in your daily living. Maybe I'm kind of a lazy human being, but I find amazing that you can deliver with such order so many different episodes of a wide range of topics, with all the preparation it seems to require, and I imagine also work as a teacher... Maybe you have some advices for those like me who find difficult to manage our time properly.

Anyway, thank you very much.

In reply to by Phillip

Peter Adamson on 25 July 2015

Time management

Thanks very much! I guess the answer to your question is that I basically see the podcast as my hobby, or at least not as part of my day job, so I don't mind working on it in my free time, so to speak. And as you may have noticed I really like philosophy and it is such a good excuse to learn about the topic that I am always excited to go on to the next topic and read about it. And of course if all else fails, the weekly schedule is like a gun I'm holding to my own head...

Otter Bob on 21 June 2015

This Just Has To Stop (Not)

     Here I am, bearing down hard to understand a podcast and you slip in one of these hilarious off-hand remarks, e.g., Germans throwing potato dumplings, the possible origin of juicing a baseball, the peasant that lost the plot or the funky idea that soul is a ham hock in your cornflakes. Maybe I have been hanging around you risible animals too long, but I'm convulsing with laughter, nearly falling off my log and completely loosing my train of thought. I have to hit the pause button and take a coffee break (Organic French Roast) just to compose myself, let alone begin to think again. It seems to be getting worse with each podcast. Well, I really like my coffee, so please keep hamming it up and juicing the podcasts. (couldn't resist)


Alexander on 13 June 2015

German Idealism, Schelling and Romanticism

Since this is a History of Philosophy without any gaps I'm assuming you are going to cover Schelling when you reach early 19th German Philosophy but I would also appreciate if you also included the German Romantics (Goethe, Novalis, Schiller, Hölderin etc) in one episode as well for they had a noteworthy influence not only on Schelling but Hegel and Schopenhauer that cannot be ignored. Also a passing mention of Jakob Böhme's undercurrent influence on this period would be nice as well.

Also Western Philosophy>Eastern Philosophy.

Excellent podcast.

In reply to by Alexander

Peter Adamson on 14 June 2015

German romantics

Hi - that's all a ways off of course but I can't imagine skipping any of them when I get there. As it happens I'm particularly interested in that part of 19th century thought anyway, plus I live in Germany! So I should also be able to get some good interview guests.

Thanks for listening!

David on 8 June 2015

Heresy of the Free Spirit

Hey Peter,

First of all, thanks for the great podcast. It's been especially wonderful for someone like me who's been using it to fill in the "gaps" from my own undergrad in philosophy - particularly the whole era from late antiquity through to the modern!

I haven't caught all the way up yet, so maybe you've mentioned it somewhere, but I was wondering if you would be covering the various heretical movements, especially the so-called Heresy of the Free Spirit. I assume that Meister Eckhart's on your list, but I'm a bit more interested in some of the more marginal figures, like Marguerite Porete in particular. I never see her get any mention in the literature, and when she does crop up, it tends to only be on feminist reading courses, rather than as a topic of genuine theological or philosophical interest (not to diminish any interst she might hold for feminist readings). In fact, I only learned of Porete and the Sister Catherine Treatise from reading Raoul Vanageim.

Not only that, but after reading Eco's "The Name of the Rose" it really sparked my interest in the various other heretical movements that may have existed. Arguments over such things as whether Christ ever laughed in the Bible, and whether humor is therefore justified or not... I can't decide if it's silly or an actually incredibly interesting topic! The theological and religious disputes of the medieval ages clearly went far beyond anything I was exposed to in undergrad.

May I ask if you've sketched out plans to tackle such subjects?

Thanks again,

In reply to by David

Peter Adamson on 9 June 2015

Marguerite Porete

Thanks for your message! Yes, there will be an episode coming up (not yet written but it will appear in early August I think), where I talk about the three "Beguine mystics" namely Hadewijch, Mechtild of Magdeburg, and Marguerite Porete. Later I will also talk about attitudes towards various heresies (like the Cathars) when I get to the condemnations of Paris in the 1270's.

Pedro José on 19 May 2015

School of Salamanca and Second Scholastic

Hi Peter,

I know you're still quite a bit away from the 16th century Renaissance, and that you probably get a lot of questions on "ill you cover this or that?", but I thought I'd give you the idea ahead of time so, if you think it's worth it, you can include it in your plans. My question is if you were planning to cover the School of Salamanca when you get there. I'm speaking of people like Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, Martín de Azpilcueta, Bartolomé de Las Casas, etc., and also including Francisco Suárez, Luis de Molina, St. Robert Bellarmine, and others. Together they make up a "second Scholastic" whcih formed tha backdrop to much of the 17th century's critics of Schlastic philosophy, like Descartes and Hobbes, but they also had a tremendous influence on them (for example, the clear import of Suárez's concept of right on Locke).

This also brings me to ask if you plan to cover some of the more important Thomist commentators, against whom several nominalists, Humanists, and rationalists wrote, people like Cardinal Cejatan and John of St. Thomas.

I hope you do!


In reply to by Pedro José

Peter Adamson on 19 May 2015


Thanks, those are great suggestions and in fact this is what I was planning in any case. In fact, I thought I would approach the Renaissance by breaking up the material geographically, partially to emphasize the importance of the Iberian Penninsula (again, after the episodes on Islamic Andalusia!). I was thinking Italy, then Iberia, then Protestant countries. But that's still just a gleam in my eye.

And I would certainly also cover the Thomists, especially Cajetan.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Garry Soronio on 24 May 2016

Salamanca--and Avila

f philosophy without gaps rocks all throughout California! I love history of philosophy, among others as a philosophy and history double major here in UCLA and I always look forward to your podcasts... I'm ecstatic when you made the tentative plan of covering geographically the Silver Age of Scholasticism. You mentioned including Cajetan in Italy; Suarez, Vitoria, Molina in Iberia; then the Northerners and Low Countries. I hope that when you cover Iberia, you'll include Teresa de Avila and John of the Cross, together with the Scholastics. They have also been Spain's great luminaries.. I hope you'll cover them esp. Teresa, the first woman to be declared doctor of the Church. Thank you Dr. Adamson!

In reply to by Garry Soronio

Peter Adamson on 25 May 2016

Silver Age

Thanks very much! Yes, I'd imagine I will cover all those people - especilaly Teresa since as you know I go out of my way to include female thinkers whenever possible.

mert sahin on 18 May 2015

Said Nursi

Hello Peter, 

First of all I want to thank you for your invaluable work, I really enjoyed listening all your podcats and learned a lot. 

I am curious whether you know about Said Nursi who was born in modern Turkey during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and wrote extensively on philosophical issues (But I think in the Kalam tradition and I believe he could be considered as Asharite). His books deal with issues such as the existence of God, afterlife, freewill, and predestination. 

His books are widely read among Turkish speaking people for spritual guidance (available in English too), but as far as I know there is no work on his philisophy. As you know the madrasah tradition ended abruptly in Turkey with the founding of the modern state, so his works I believe are underappreciated. I think he is an outstanding scholar, and I am looking forward for sometime reading a philospher's take on his works. 

Anyways I just want to share this with you.

Thanks for everything



In reply to by mert sahin

Peter Adamson on 19 May 2015

Said Nursi

Oh yes, I have heard the name but didn't think of looking into his works to include him in the Islamic world episodes. I will see whether I can fit him into the book version, at least briefly. Thanks for the suggestion.

Justin Bonanno on 15 May 2015



I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your work. I'm blown away by the thoroughness of the podcasts themselves, and even the additional readings properly cited on each page! Kudos to you. Do you intend to work all the way up through postmodern philosophy? 


In reply to by Justin Bonanno

Peter Adamson on 15 May 2015

The future

Thanks very much! As for how long I'll keep going, see question 7 under the FAQ at the bottom of the page...

tathagata biswas on 12 May 2015

on the name of the project

Thank You very much for this laudable effort to bring history of western philosophy to such a large audience "without any gaps". It remedies the lacuna by including practice of philosophy in Islamic world. But the project also ingnite expectation of more accuracy in the very name of the project, it is history of WESTERN philosophy "without any gaps", but it does not take into account Indian, Chinese, Japanese, African philosophies from classical to modern(post-modern era!!) at all. citing name of Jonardon Ganeri to my mind positively suggest discussion on Indian philosophy. It did talk about India very briefly at the last episode on philosophy in Islamic world, but it is inadequate it didn't take into account innovation that took place in the interface with modern western, islamic and Hindu philosophies that Ganeri talked about in his book "The Lost Age of Reason"!!!

I hope in future we will see a thorough inclusion of these Other philosophies, otherwise it cannot shook off what Derrida called "white mythology". otherwise it will remain within Orientalist framework if not entirely.

In reply to by tathagata biswas

Peter Adamson on 13 May 2015

Non-Western philosophy

Thanks for your feedback. Please take a look at the first entry under FAQ at the bottom - with Jonardon Ganeri, I am launching a series of episodes on Indian philosophy later this year. (I've also announced this previously on the feed, and on Facebook and Twitter.) 

Johannes on 8 May 2015

Byzantine philosophy

Dear Peter Adamson,

as far as I can remember you talked about extending the podcast on Byzantine philosophy as well. When will this be the case? After the parts on European medieval philosophy and Indian philosophy? I'm following your podcast zealously and even had the opportunity to incorporate a podcast into my seminars. :)

In reply to by Johannes

Peter Adamson on 9 May 2015


Thanks very much! Yes, Byzantine (followed by Renaissance) is next up after Latin medieval. Should kick off in 2016 at some point I suppose. I plan to give it a fairly thorough treatment (of course), maybe a dozen episodes or so plus some interviews.

Connell Vaughan on 5 May 2015


Hi Peter,

Love the show, been listening since the begining. Wondering if you are planning on doing an episode on Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yaekob? I think it would be a great addition.

Keep up the good work!

In reply to by Connell Vaughan

Peter Adamson on 5 May 2015


Amazingly, you are the first (as far as I can remember) to ask about African philosophy, but I had given this some thought. As you may have seen I am planning a kind of spin-off (i.e. not in the same chronological narrative, and on a separate RSS feed) series on Indian philosophy which will launch later this year. And I had thought of doing Chinese philosophy later, maybe, and then a further obvious idea would be to cover other traditions including African philosophy. Which would be fantastically interesting, I would love to do it despite my total ignorance. So stay tuned - but if it happens it will not be for quite a while, I'm afraid, since Europe and India are going to give me plenty to worry about for the next couple of years I think.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Connell Vaughan on 27 May 2015

Thanks so much for your reply

Thanks so much for your reply. I am looking forward to the spin offs that you have planned. From the little that I know on Zera Yacob (as the name suggests) he was within a Christian tradition. It was for this reason that I thought that it could be an interesting gap to fill in the context of your curent project. Much in the same way that your empasis on the Islamic World has brilliantly disrupted the standard narrative of the history of Western philosophy. But perhaps you are correct in seeing him as part of a more African tradition or at the very least requiring a major diversion in the future. In any case, I will happily stay tuned. Keep up the good work. 

Thomas on 29 April 2015

No Eastern Philosophy

A quick ctrl-f search of all your episodes shows you don't have anything mentioning "dao," "confucianism," "east," or "asia."  That is really disappointing for a site that suggests you cover philosophy WITHOUT ANY GAPS.  I wouldn't normally comment on such a thing, but since it seems to be a point of pride to you, I thought you should know you have a HUGE GAP.  A whole hemisphere, to be exact.

In reply to by Thomas

Peter Adamson on 30 April 2015


Hi - thanks for your comment. But have a look at the first point in the FAQ at the bottom of this page: as explained there I'll be starting in on Indian philosophy later this year and hope to tackle Chinese philosophy later. I have also announced this in various episodes of the podcast itself.

Tom on 24 April 2015


Hi, was there no place for a piece about gnosticism in the section on later antiquity? I havn't actually listened to those podcasts yet so you may well cover it in the context of other thinkers/schools? I was under the impression that gnosticism was rather influential in its day?

In reply to by Tom

Peter Adamson on 25 April 2015


I do actually talk about them a lot in the late antiquity episodes, both as opponents of the Neoplatonists and as the object of critique from the ancient Christians.

Robert Smith MD on 22 April 2015

Your wonderful podcasts and book.

I fell in love with philosophy and humanities at university many years ago but could not devote much time  to them because of busy science then medical school then practice schedule. Now I'm nearing retirement and can read things for enjoyment rather than compulsory pressures. Devoured your book Classical Philosophy and am looking forward for the next installment and the next, etc. You have to write faster! 

In reply to by Robert Smith MD

Peter Adamson on 22 April 2015


Thanks very much! I'm writing as fast as I can, believe me. So glad you are enjoying the series, it sounds like you are exactly the sort of person I was hoping to produce it for. (Well, one of the sorts of person.)

Thomas Mirus on 15 April 2015

Hey Peter - my brother just

Hey Peter - my brother just told me he went to grad school with you at Notre Dame (he says you were a few years ahead)! His name is Christopher Mirus.

In reply to by Thomas Mirus

Peter Adamson on 16 April 2015

Christopher Mirus

Yes, actually when I first saw you comment here I thought immediately of him but then saw it was the wrong first name. Tell him I say howdy next time you talk to him!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Thomas Mirus on 16 April 2015

Sure thing! He teaches at

Sure thing! He teaches at University of Dallas now, where he started a new minor in philosophy of science, and will be teaching in their Rome program for the next couple years.

yousef damra on 12 April 2015

the music used

I have been listening to the podcast recently, and I like both the podcast and music used. I would like to know the music used, so I can listen to it or at least similar music. I appreciate what you are doing and I thank you very much for offering such a great podcast.

In reply to by yousef damra

Peter Adamson on 12 April 2015


Thanks, glad you like it! The sources (with links) for the music are listed under "links" at the bottom of the page.

Carlos on 7 April 2015

RE: thanks

Mr. Adamson,

It's Carlos, from Spain, from Catalonia. I found recently your website and I'm happy for that, you explain easily this matter, it's good for any person, you are a great communicator. Congratulations and thanks.

Best wishes

Kirk Fatool on 7 April 2015

Your influence on the Youth

Dear Peter,

My friend turned me onto HoP about a year ago and I'm almost caught up (currently at Episode 190). I love this podcast! I wanted to let you know that my daughter, who is currently a year old, and I have been listening to you on our commute. Any guesses at to what her favorite stuffed animal is? She loves here stuffed pink giraffe! I just wanted to let you know.

Also, in episode 188 or so, you mention a "spin off podcast" about the history of India and China. Is that still in the works?



In reply to by Kirk Fatool

Peter Adamson on 9 April 2015

Pink giraffes

Wow! She must be one of my youngest listeners. Hiawatha sends her greetings to the pink giraffe.

Yes, the India spin-off should start later this year (see the FAQ below for more details).

Peter Jones on 3 April 2015

Lack of Progress in Philosophy

Hello Peter,

Glad to discover your blog and will be doing much reading.

Meanwhile, I caught the comment on Daily Nous about your interest in the lack of progress of philsophy. If you ever do get around to delving into this topic I would very much enjoy the chance to contribute my opinions. It is a hobby-horse of mine, the failure of western academic philosophy and its causes, and I do hope you pursue the issue. It's time somebody did so and I hope some healthy grants are available. With luck such a study should lead to progress. Anyway, just registering my interest.  



Butch Bryant on 1 April 2015

Your next book


I have been an avid listener of your podcast since its inception and am currently reading your book, Classical Philosophy which I will most likely finish this week.  When will the next book in the series be released?  

Thank you,

In reply to by Butch Bryant

Peter Adamson on 1 April 2015

Next book

Thanks! It will be out this summer; a full schedule of the books is listed under FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Basileus on 1 April 2015

Socratic Questioning

First of all, Peter, I think your podcasts are terrific. Highly entertaining, yet thought provoking, educational and inspirational. As a matter of fact, I decided to go for Socratic questioning when a random person in a pub started to talk to me about conspiracy theories. After 30 minutes the person got really annoyed with me, especially when I mentioned to him that intelligent people are always full of doubt, yet stupid people are always full of confidence. I had a great evening.

In reply to by Basileus

Peter Adamson on 1 April 2015

Socratic questioning

Fantastic! Glad you are using your philosophical powers for good and not evil.

bob on 28 March 2015

Advertise your interviews more

I see your a participant on a recent IOT on Al Ghazali yet i didn't see you advertise it here at all. can you post a thing on the blog at least to let us know when you're involved in these things. While it is self promotion it is useful.

In reply to by bob

Peter Adamson on 28 March 2015

IOT announcement

Oh of course, I should have done that! Thanks for reminding me. I post things on Twitter and Facebook a lot, and usually use the blog only when I have something more extensive to say but that was an oversight. Partially because we recorded that IOT episode 2 weeks in advance and then its actual publication snuck up on me a bit. Anyway thanks for listening! (And re. your other comment the main thing apart from this site and Facebook is just my Twitter feed: @histphilosophy. But if you aren't on Twitter don't worry, I put up links on FB and here... unless I forget!)

bob on 28 March 2015

mindless compliment

since i'm here i obviously love your podcasts. just dropping a line to let you know that i love your inclusion of primary and secondary sources with each podcast. only dipped into a few but it's incredibly useful for that next step. 


keep on being the gold standard of history podcasters (also is there anywhere other than the facebook history podcasters page that i'm missing?



Jose Manzo on 24 March 2015

Indian philosophy

Hello , it's good to find your page. I have seen the issues addressed, but I can not find anything about Eastern philosophy, preferably from India. Do you think post something about this subject? Greetings.

In reply to by Jose Manzo

Peter Adamson on 24 March 2015

Indian philosophy

I'm starting to tackle Indian philosophy later this year in a series of episodes written together with Jonardon Ganeri.

Fr. Johannes M… on 21 March 2015

Fr Edmund OCist over at

Fr Edmund OCist over at dropped a line about this podcast somewhere recently. Now, a week later, I've completed the first 33 episodes, all while driving. Thank you so much for this podcast. It is wonderful to reconnect with all those great texts. Content, humor and narration make me look forward to the next long drive. How good I'll have some big miles tomorrow. So onward to Aristotle it is for me :-)

Again, thank you for this offering.

In reply to by Fr. Johannes M…

Peter Adamson on 22 March 2015


Great! Glad you're enjoying it. Some listeners in the past have said they listen to it while going to sleep at night, which always makes me worry about the people who listen to it while driving.

Ed Prendergast on 20 March 2015


Speaking of ataraxia...

As I was writing a presecription for hydroxyzine for a patient I realised, thanks to your podcasts, that the medication's brand name, Atarax, was especially appropriate. We use Atarax to treat itching.

Do you think there was a philosopher in the Pfizer marketing department?

Andrew Gates on 18 March 2015


Hello Peter, 

I've been a long time listener and finally decided to show some love for the podcast on this page. Your attention to detail, while making complex systems of thought easy to understand to average listener is unmatched. It is because of this podcast that I started to delve deeper into texts outside of the "philosophy 101" canon. Keep up the good work, sir! 

By the way, that last interview episode with Sharyn, Jamie, and Robin was excellent! I always enjoy listening to the episodes where my favorite history podcasters get together to discuss various topics. 

In reply to by Andrew Gates

Peter Adamson on 19 March 2015


Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much! Glad you are enjoying the series. I liked this last interview too, it was fun getting to talk to them in person (well, over Skype to be honest).


Robert Ward on 18 March 2015

Podcast recommendation

Thank you Peter for introducing me to Jamie Jeffers' British History Podcast. Listening to him, I am reminded of an iTunesU course, delivered in podcast format, that I have listened to called The Story of Psychology, by Todd Daniel. Since you mentioned how much you enjoyed Jamie's podcast I thought you might enjoy Professor Todd as well. Thanks again.


Marco Maldonato on 16 March 2015

De altitudine pulchritudineque horum podcastorum

Or, "on the depth and beauty of these podcasts": just an honest, sincere "congratulations". I am an Art student, but I studied philosophy in high school and I intend to keep on studying it on a very serious level despite my different university path. And I am amused by how accurate, concise and compelling these podcasts are. Collecting informations and materials to study philosophy on a self-taught basis is quite hard, but here I feel at home. I must say, as a foreigner, I sometimes feel like the english approach to philosophy is somewhat biased and approximated, simplistic even; but your work, although being easily understandable, is yet precise and articulated, and I really enjoy listening to it. You are truly capable of giving a new yet complete perspective on philosophers. When I first discovered this, I immediately "tested" your way of explaining them by listening to podcasts about philosophers which I was familiar with; and I was quite happily impressed. I even discovered things I didn't know about them. And so the decision was made, the judgment confirmed: this has the makings of greatness.
A small note could be made on the musical intro which does not quite match with the delightful nature of the podcasts; I would suggest a better, more proper tune, something that could be a trademark, even. A recognisable mark. But that is just an accessory. As for the philosophers and how they are exposed, I must express my most honest gratitude and appreciation. I look forward to the next podcasts, and I am truly glad when I imagine myself growing through the years with this trustable companion in my ears, telling me all about those good ol' fellas thinking and thinking about life and men and everything in the world.
Many, many thanks, out of the heart. 
Marco Maldonato

In reply to by Marco Maldonato

Peter Adamson on 16 March 2015


Thanks very much for your kind comments! I'm glad you like the series so much. Just a quick remark about the music intro: it changes regularly because it is supposed to reflect the historical period I am covering. I think I'm on my sixth clip now. So you may like the others more than the one you have heard so far (if it is the one for the early episodes, then it is actually a clip showing how ancient Greek music may have sounded, played on a reconstructed double flute or aulos).

Joshua on 13 March 2015


Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for making all this great information freely available. It's great to be able to listen to such a systematic presentation of the history of philosophy :D.

I was wondering if you had given any thought to placing the content under a Creative Commons License; ideally, a CC-BY-SA?

Also, I'd like to second the request to see a more systematic treatment of the Syriac period (

The philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics is definitely explored in both Coptic and Syriac culture during a period when it's in decline in the Western Empire.

The so-called "Dark Ages" weren't so dark for the Eastern Empire, and unfortunately it's really hard to find any systematic treatment of philosophy in the Coptic or Syraic literature.

Thank you again for all your hard work!

In reply to by Joshua

Peter Adamson on 13 March 2015

Creative commons

Maybe you can explain to me what would be the additional value of the creative commons license? I mean, it's all free here on the website anyway. Of course the written version is not copyright free, it is appearing as books with Oxford University Press. Not sure if that's relevant.

Regarding Syriac I did discuss that some in episode 122, I guess you're saying that wasn't enough? I could perhaps touch on it again when I get to Byzantium.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Joshua on 17 March 2015

Hi Peter,

Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me.

Regarding Episode 122, you definitely clearly discuss the importance of the Syriac translation movement in making the classical knowledge available to the later Arabic speaking world, however we don't really get the same depth of coverage regarding the unique or interesting contributions to philosophy by the Syriac speaking community.

As you mention, it seems to be a truly important part of the history of philosophy but there's not a lot available to us from that time period.

At this time in history there are some heated philosophical discussions stemming from the Chalcedonian, Miaphysiate, and Nestorian Christologies with Severus of Antioch and Babai both leveraging classical logic in their disputations. If I recall correctly, one of the first uses of the writings of the Areopagite in disputation is by Severus.

There's also John of Damascus who uses logic to teach systematic theology and to refute Islam; though he may more properly belong to the Byzantine era.

In the earlier Greek speaking period, there is also Nemesius whose work in anthropology might be of interest.

I mention it mostly out of curiousity, I'm hoping you will work it in if you can, and if you can't, perhaps you can point me to some resources to investigate on my own? In any event, thank you again for all your hard work, I'm really enjoying the series.

As regards the Creative Commons License, I mention is mainly because I came across the series via Youtube where someone uploaded the content with an image of the person being discussed (Averroes in my case).

As it stands the usage rights are kind of ambiguous. For example, are the podcasts considered public domain, or simply free for personal consumption? 

Depending on your intent the person who posted the content to Youtube may not be using the content in a way you intended. Other people who may want to adapt or remix the content of the podcasts may be hesitant to do so, owing to this ambiguity.

 The Creative Commons has a range of licenses that would let you clarify your intent regarding the usage of the podcast content and would let people know what they could and couldn't do with it without undermining your rights. For example a CC-BY-ND-NC would indicate the content is available for non-commercial use, and derivative works are not allowed, while a CC0 license would effectively place it in the public domain. The middle road is generally the CC-BY-SA which is "Share it, adapt it, remix it, just be sure to give proper credit and license your content under the same permissive license."


morgan on 10 March 2015

Buster Keaton

I'd like to point out to your listeners that a large number of Buster Keaton films/shorts/ads, including The General, are available for download at

I'm still very much enjoying the podcast.  And still trying to model my behaviour after Diogenes the Cynic, only more wolfish.  Probably would make a great short.

Andrew on 16 February 2015

great podcasts

i'm a huge fan and i really admire your podcasts 
it will be nice though if you could upload notes or diagrams with each podcast  , so that  it will be easier to keep the main points in memory for longer time


In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 17 February 2015


Well, bear in mind the scripts will appear in due course as books (or already have, for vol.1 which goes up to Aristotle). So, you can have a complete version of them if you are patient! (Albeit that the books are somewhat rewritten and sometimes have added material.)

A.L.Duncan on 15 February 2015

The future pod casts?

will you continue on up into the prsent covering all the major philosophers after the middle ages? I would love to hear some stuff on guys like Decarte and Berkeley.