Help needed!

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Hi HoPWaG fans, I have an important favor to ask. In connection with the funding of the project, I need to document the impact the podcast has had on the wider world. So I'm looking for stories about things like: the effect it has had on the way philosophy is taught and studied (e.g. inclusion of non-western topics); testimony of the impact it has had on you personally or on groups you're connected to; use of the podcast in surprising ways (like maybe to teach English) or, really, anything else you can think of. It actually doesn't have to be about the podcast itself, it could also relate to things like the "20 rules" I put on the podcast website or the APA blogs we did about integrating non-western subjects into curricula. Feel free to email me if you want about this (, or just put a comment here if you like. Thanks!

Farooq Kirmani on 1 November 2019

I discovered HoPWaG by sheer

I discovered HoPWaG by sheer chance. Listening to first episode, I was hooked to it. It might not be impertinent to mention here that even though I have five master’s degrees from five universities in five countries, none of them is in philosophy. I went to listen to the first edition of the podcast repeatedly for at least ten times. I would dare say that the podcast has given a very good understanding of not only the history of philosophy but more importantly the main ideas. I simply loved this podcast, especially the edition on philosophy in Islamic world about which I almost had zero idea. Many thanks to Peter for this novel and supremely effective educational intervention. God speed.


José Pablo Cal… on 1 November 2019

Hi, I'm a film student and I

Hi, I'm a film student and I always wanted to learn more of philosophy, but in my curriculum there is only one philosophy class. So when my ethics teacher told me about this podcast I was very excited. The podcast allowed me to keep learning about philosophy im my spare time.

Gabe S. on 1 November 2019

This podcast helped me pass

This podcast helped me pass my comprehensive exams!

Robert Torrington on 1 November 2019

I've used these to introduce

I've used these to introduce students to key thinkers and concepts. Having Peter present this kind of content the way he does is academic, accessible and provides a level of interest I couldn't, due both to the excellent writing & production and to the fact that this series has a feeling of importance which validates a student's pursuit of philosophy (better than their teaching assuring them it's 'cool', Peter makes it so).

Tim Doyle on 1 November 2019

I've listened to virtually

I've listened to virtually all of these podcasts (I'm now rationing rather than finishing tgem.
I've always had a passing interest in philosophy (hence the listen).
However it's really inspired me. I'm applying to the OU to do a 60 unit module 'Introduction to Philosophy' starting next October. This is (with previous qualifications 35 years ago) in order to get on a Ba Philosophy course in Stirling University in 5 years time, when I plan to retire.
Tim Doyle

Chris Ward on 1 November 2019

I can offer personal impact.

I can offer personal impact. I'm many years past college, but I like to keep learning. I have learned much from the podcast. It's also awakened my curiosity enough that I'm doing some reading in philosophy topics that interest me. I greatly appreciate your work, and I hope that you will be able to continue.

Thomas Waterton on 1 November 2019

I have recommended the

I have recommended the episode on non-violence in ancient Indian philosophy to my undergraduate students as further reading, for a class on ethical duties to animals. I also work in private adult philosophy tuition, and I have found HoPwaG especially useful for one student who finds audio resources more accessible than written ones. I often recommend episodes, and last week I assigned the two episodes on Aristotle's ethics as the set texts for a class.

Katy Nemkovich on 2 November 2019

This project helped me at

This project helped me at different stages of my life.

I'm 100% sure I have to pursue philosophy when I will be able to, but I never had the resources and access to get philosophical education. I'm 29, and I'm only finishing my bachelor's now on the 2nd attempt due to personal reasons. Self-education is my only option at the moment. 

When I first came across the podcast, I was immediately drawn by the uniform, systematic, even obsessive approach to the subject. I'm a bit similar in my preferences to research: I like chasing the history of ideas and having at least a general understanding of each period in their genealogy. I could tell Peter is an amazing teacher. I mean, how he bugs the wisest people of the world with novice-level questions so that we could understand the foundations - it takes some humility. And how he peer-pressures them into talking about giraffes! As a visual culture student, I appreciate the fun pop culture references. One day I hope to make documentaries about philosophy to help others get into it.

Here are the ways HoPWaG impacted my life (quite a few!):

- I am now equipped with concepts from across all the covered thinkers and cultures. I can see the important underlying connections and homages. I have a general understanding of where I need to dig if I want more details.

- Being exposed to many thinkers and their theories, I could figure out my own interests and understand what really excites me. It took me some time to go through Latin Middle Ages (which I got into before starting HoPWaG) and trace the references back to antiquity. If you are curious, it's Parmenides and Pythagoras, plus Presocratics in general. I love that I can to the very first episodes of HoPWaG if I need to. 

- I got to really understand what Plato is about. And not just Timaeus - that's the whole point. And doing western philosophy without the understanding of Plato is... weird.

- Since I study humanities, even if it's not philosophy directly, I can go to certain episodes to get prepared for my own uni research.

- Due to health issues, it can be hard for me to read at times. Podcast format is perfect for those periods. Listening to a familiar voice talking about exciting ideas also helped me focus and battle anxiety. I truly believe we need more audio resources, books and even the audio versions of academic papers to make learning truly accessible to people with physical and mental disabilities, difficult life and work conditions, etc. And Peter creates the "cited by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy" level content for such people. 


Dear persons in charge of funding,

Keep funding it. I don't even know why this is a question. HoPWaG creates a precedent for the new paradigm of sharing philosophical knowledge. This is an impressive asset for any educational institution. And it would be simply stupid to stop funding at the moment when Peter approached the much glorified Renaissance. There are so many famous thinkers ahead that will bring new listeners. And we, natural philosophers, want to study modern physics.


If it sounds like fan mail to you, it really is. I wanted to send this to Peter personally, but now I have a good cause to share my experience. 


Best regards,


Marc Deshaies on 3 November 2019

The History of Philosophy

The History of Philosophy podcast has helped me explore the often overlooked obscure philosophies such as the preSocratics and from the Middle Ages Thanks!

Ethan Mills on 3 November 2019

I have used the "20 Rules" at

I have used the "20 Rules" at the beginning of courses in history of philosophy, including Indian philosophy.  I have assigned podcast episodes for extra credit assignments in my Indian philosophy, world philosophy, and ancient Greek and Roman philosophy courses, asking students to explain some of the content of the episode and what they think about it (for example, a few students in my Indian philosophy course listened to the episodes on the Upanisads and women in Indian philosophy).  Personally I have learned a lot from listening to the podcast over the last few years, especially in areas with which I previously knew very little (e.g., philosophy in the Islamic world, Byzantine philosophy, etc.).  I also use the podcast to get ideas for teaching some of my regular courses and for reminding myself about things I haven't read in a long time (for example, I recently incorporated more Africana philosophy into several courses and, although I had a course on Africana philosophy many years ago in grad school, it has been helpful to listen to those episodes).  I also frequently recommend this podcast series to students and colleagues. Overall this podcast series is a tremendous resource for me personally and for the discipline as a whole.



Alexander Johnson on 6 November 2019

So before this podcast (which

So before this podcast (which i discovered on the back of Storm Before the Storm), I thought of philosophy as various things such as "personal ideology", "stoner" conversations, and other nonsensical speculation.  This was despite having high school classes that covered a wide range of philosophers (confucious, taoism, chinese legalism, socrates/plato, aristotle, descartes, locke, marx, existentialism, buddha, the baghivad gita).  I had also never had a philosophy class (though i had a college logic class as part of my math degree). 

After listening to this podcast for a year and a half, i now thoroughly enjoy learning philosophy, and frequently talk about philosophical topics with friends.  I found the podcast to be far more enjoyable and informative than previous inquiries into the topic.  And the topic has gotten me to start reading primary works by Aristotle and Han Fei. 

Personally I also found that I am a little more contented with my ongoing life, and far less receptive to relativism (though i started doubting it prior).  I also am less argumentative, though that probably has nothing to do with my propensity to start a debate, and more due to greater insight durring debates (thanks Topics!)

Finally, surprising ways.  The podcast has inspired me to create a D&D character (2 now) that acts as a philosopher seeking to explain the ethics, physics, metaphysics, the nature of knowledge, and the nature of perception that pervades the D&D world.  I found this to be quite the entertaining character to play and it quite enjoyable to develop the theories. 

I also want to say that the comments are often very insightful, and that you are always very helpful in resolving my confusion on a topic when i have some.  A great example for insightful comments have been the debate you and Dave had on episode 140, as well as your attempt at refutation of relativism on the 20 rules page

Christiane on 13 November 2019

I am a German undergraduate

I am a German undergraduate student and very interested in ancient philosophy and the history of philosophy. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of courses at my university that cover the philosophy of the presocratics, the later antiquity or let alone the Islamic world. (Well, actually there are next to none that cover the basics.) So, I am very thankful for this podcast. It helps to fill in the blanks and get the most important points before diving in deeper.

I like to listen to the episodes especially after a long day of reading. It is nice when your eyes can rest for a change and you can lean back and just enjoy a good talk on philosophers and their thoughts about the world. Thanks a lot.

mehmet on 15 November 2019

The remarks below exclude

The remarks below exclude "africana", as I havent listened to that series.

HOPWAG is a marvel of a podcast. I think that Philosophy can only be learnt by studying its history, and when studying history of philosophy nothing can be more useful  than HOPWAG. It beats all competition in terms of (philosophy learnt) / (time spent) ratio. An added bonus is its broadness.. One may be amazed by the richness of ideas in Greek philosophy, but the amazement is doubled when very similar ideas show themselves up in the almost totally unrelated indian philosophy..

To be exact, I haven't learned learned all my history of philosophy from HOPWAG. Usually, one is needed to do some homework after listening an episode. But by then the books cease to be "totally unintelligible" and one can use the resources like SEP far more efficiently..

If all else fails, one can ask Peter, and he always --very kindly-- replies.

Summing up all, HOPWAG is much better than some famous educational institutions I have attended and paid truckloads of tuition. It puts in great effort in teaching a topic as hard as history of philosophy, it does a marvelous work at that, and it is completely free.. I think Milton Friedman must be turning in his grave like a ship's propeller..


João Inácio on 15 November 2019

Hello, friends.

Hello, friends.

I'm 41 years old, from Portugal, and I've just found this marvellous monument that is your podcast series. I intend to listen to one episode every weekday while I have lunch, so 2020 is bound to be a year of enlightenment.

I am sincerely grateful for your work. Thank you for sharing.

Colin Danby on 18 November 2019

1. The dogs are getting

1. The dogs are getting longer walks.

2. I have several new ideas for readings in classes I teach.

In reply to by Colin Danby

Peter Adamson on 18 November 2019

I hope the dogs enjoyed the

I hope the dogs enjoyed the episode on the Cynics!

Karl Young on 13 December 2019


Hey Peter,

Sorry about the late reply; I have’t had time to look at the blog lately and just noticed this.

I’m not sure what form you want these in but feel free to extract whatever you want from this comment.

As a retired physicist and newly minted dilettante philosopher, I’ve been attempting to wade through the vast philosophical literature, pretty much on my own, but with some helpful comments from professional philosophers. In these efforts a few things stand out (books, blogs, online essays,...) but none more so than your podcasts (and accompanying books, at least when Oxford finally drops the paperbacks :-)). The high standard of quality across so many podcasts that you’ve made, and subjects that you’ve dealt with, is really striking, particularly in the age of, often appropriately, maligned internet content. I don’t recall anything close to the clarity you bring to the presentation of complex material, in any of the undergraduate or graduate philosophy classes that I took or sat in on.

It’s hard to quantify how much of value I’ve learned in both areas with which I had some familiarity, and areas in which I had none. E.g. I’ve had an interest in, and studied the development of Buddhism in India, China, and Japan but your discussion of the matrix of ideas in India in which it developed and compteted was truly enlightening, Though it’s hard to single out things in particular given the overall quality of all the material, I found the breadth of your coverage of Aristotle’s ideas (and it’s subsequent influence on Islamic and western medieval philosophy) particularly edifying. And just one more example was the excellent presentation of the ideas surrounding the revolution in Haiti, something I had little knowledge of.

I could ramble on endlessly, suffice it to say that the sustained high quality (including the humor !:-)) of your presentation over such a broad range of material has had a real impact on my life and thought and it’s hard to figure a way to sufficiently express my gratitude.

Many thanks,

Karl Young

Caleb Williams on 31 December 2019

In my senior year of

In my senior year of undergrad in political science, I was allowed to take the senior seminar in the philosophy department which was an entire course dedicated to Hobbes. While I was able to contribute in areas about the relationship between the arguments of Hobbes and the development of modern Western liberal democracies, I was a nuisance to the rest of the class when it came to placing Hobbes in the context of the philosophical tradition and I lacked the ability to summon the phrases and use the lingo needed to have productive conversations with the rest of the class in anything other than political theory. By the end of the class, I was writing a paper on contrasting the materialism of Hobbes with the materialism of Marx and how the Leviathan interacted with the dictatorship of the bourgoisie. But, as I did my best to learn everything there was about philosophy while keeping up with the papers and readings for the class, I realized that I had picked the wrong degree, the wrong field, and had wasted decades of my life by not focusing on learning philosophy. During one class, the professor told me that ideally he would have taken me from the pre socratics all the way to Hobbes so that I could have understood the bigger picture of everything Hobbes was trying to do. 

Since then I've scoured every used bookstore for the writings of the great philosophers and have done my best to teach myself. Unfortunately without teachers to boil things down to their most important and place things in context, this task is very difficult. I started watching hours of online lectures on YouTube, hoping to find guidance for exactly how and what to digest to get a better sense of the bigger picture of philosophy. With every thing that I read or watch, I'm always left with more questions than answers and a growing chasm of despair that I would never be able to learn in a way that was productive without going back to school and paying thousands of dollars simply for a curriculum that would better help me teach myself. 

At some point through this journey someone had recommended a few history podcasts to me and that got me going down the podcast rabbit hole in a way I never had before. I decided to start researching what philosophy podcasts existed with a newly discovered hope that I would be able to find what I was looking for and be able to reliably engage a systematic and inclusive look at the entire big picture of the development of philosophy. 

And of couse here I am commenting on the blog of the podcast that solved all of my problems and restored my existential sanity. The History of Philosophy podcast and Peter Adamson have opened up a new universe of learning to me and have given the world a spectacular gift that is unrivaled in its usefulness and value. Any attempt I would make at expressing just how grateful I am for the podcast and how much it has impacted my life would fall short of capturing the full of it. 

But, I'll try anyway. 

I've struggled with depression for most of my life and one of the most difficult aspects of being depressed or struggling with anxiety is when there are people that genuinely want to help you but cannot understand what it is exactly that you are going through due to your own inability to properly express what is happening in your thoughts or due to their misunderstanding of what depression is and how it works. This doesn't just stop at family, friends, partners, and work relationships. This can even extend into the realtionships you gain in treatment with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. 

I would find myself in conversations where I made a legitimate effort to tell the brutal truth about what was going on with me and the responses I would get would have nothing to do with what I said or what I was feeling. At mutiple points in my life, I would just give up on the idea that I would ever be able to communicate effectively about depression so that others could help me and this becomes a place of intense lonliness very quickly that only exacerbates depression and anxiety. 

It was only when I began studying philosophy that a light began to shine through the darkness that surrounded my thoughts and emotions. It was only when I engaged thinkers who refused to leave any stone unturned and approached all things with a systematic and comprehensive aproach that I could see how to properly evaluate my own thoughts and my own place in the world. 

But like I said before, if it were not for Peter Adamson and this podcast, I would have still been struggling to find my way through the great known and lesser known philosophical works always feeling inadequate and that I had wasted my college years on the wrong field. Now with the tool and vast resource of the History of Philosophy podcast, I am on a journey of self-knowledge, investigation, and evaluation that gives me hope that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel that is my lifelong fight with depression and anxiety. 

This podcast is a perfect example of the real power and moral good that can come when the internet is used in an altruistic and generous way. Where the future of the human race may seem cloudy and grim for many, this podcast and the information within it and the efforts of all involved shine a beacon that clearly communicates the good will capable of those committed to the betterment of the species as well as the various blueprints offered by the world's best thinkers on how to live the good life and construct a good society. 

Thank you so much to everyone involved with making this podcast. It truly is one of the best parts of my life. 


In reply to by Caleb Williams

Peter Adamson on 1 January 2020

Thanks so much for this

Thanks so much for this generous and also very moving email! I'm so glad that the series has meant so much to you; it really inspires me to keep going forever when I get audience responses like this.

Charles Phillipps on 13 January 2020

When I was young I read Plato

When I was young I read Plato and Marx. I knew some philosophical ideas and discussed stupid things as students do. Finding this podcast has enabled me to learn about so much more. Aristotle (who I found a bit heavy to read), Thomas Aquinas and Augustine and the discussions around determinism, Grace of God and the Trinity, to see the way Western Philosophy has unfolded and Arab ideas. In turn of course I talk about these things with others. I have read essays about Aristotles, Aquinas and others inspired by your podcast which I would not otherwise have done.  I am sure this podcast has done more to get Philosophy 'out there' than anything else. It would be a tragedy if it were not to continue. I thought you were a bit ambitious to move to India, Africa etc. It has slowed things down considerably, but again is giving out knowledge not otherwise readily available. It would be a tragedy if it is brought to a premature close.

In reply to by Charles Phillipps

Peter Adamson on 13 January 2020

Thanks very much, that is a

Thanks very much, that is a really lovely comment! Don't worry, it isn't in any danger of ending.

Emmanuel Milet on 23 January 2020

Hi, I started listening to

Hi, I started listening to the podcasts on Indian philosophy about a year ago when I was starting a yoga teacher training. I wanted to know more about the topic, and despite being quite dense, the podcasts helped me a lot. It really sparked my interest for the topic.

So much that I am now the one taking part in yoga teacher trainings and teaching trainees about the philosophy of yoga and its history. The podcast definetely nurtured my interest for this topic. a massive thank you to both of you for all this work.

Warm regards,


Jobe on 8 May 2020

Apart from the extensive

Apart from the extensive knowledge of philosophy the series has given me, which really made me fall in love with the subject,
This podcast has really changed the way I understand human thought, myself, society and humanity in general. After experiencing this podcast I plan to study philosophy in the future.

Peter always succeeds in presenting ostensibly the driest, most obscure subjects in simple, engaging way while not compromising the depth of the subject.

The podcast covered subjects I would have never have heard about otherwise. I thank fortune for having me stumbling into the series. Medieval Christian, Islamic, byzantine, Indian schools have completely absorbed my attention for the past years. Epistemology, metaphysics, logic, theology were unknown to me before listening to this but now form the basis of my conception of reality. The podcast made me realize the value of cultural diversity altogether with the similarity of human thought throughout time and place.

For the past two years I have listened to almost all of the episodes. Through the ups and downs of the day I knew here was always the consoling light of philosophy.
I'm really looking into the continuation of the series and upcoming episodes.

I think Peter's wonderful enterprise has an enormous educational porpose and no equal in depth and scope. This podcast is the greatest introduction to the whole of philosophy that there is.

Thank you Peter!!

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