When will early modern begin?

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For practically as long as I've been doing the podcast people have been asking me when I will start covering early modern philosophy (17-18th centuries). I can now tell you the answer with a fair degree of precision: unless my plans for the rest of the counterreformation series change, the first episode of the new series will be on Jan 26, 2025. It will probably begin with a general discussion of the concept of "Enlightenment," and then I was thinking it would go on to look at the notion of a Republic of Letters, and look at Mersenne as a good example, before diving into Descartes.

In any case that will kick off the first of three series on early modern philosophy, covering philosophy in France and the Low Countries; to be followed by a series on Britain, Ireland and the early USA; and a series on Germany and other parts of Europe. I'm guessing that each of these series will take 2 years or more, so we may well not arrive at the 19th century until the 2030s (!!!).  

Yujia Li on 12 July 2024

Oxford Series for Reformation

Hi, Professor Adamson,

I am glad to hear we are going to the next period! I wanted to know when the Reformation part will be published. I have been enjoying reading one chapter before sleeping, but last summer I finished all the chapters, so I am really looking forward to the publication of the next volume!

In reply to by Yujia Li

Peter Adamson on 12 July 2024

Next volume

Wow thanks for devoting so much time to the book series! Actually three volumes should be hitting your bedside table in the near future since we have the two Africana books (one already with the press) coming and then I will submit the manuscript for Reformation in early 2025, so that should come out next year I hope.

Alexander Johnson on 16 July 2024


Since you are doing this geographically in such big temporal chunks, could you start with a recap episode?  Maybe not necessary for the France one, since that will only be 2 or 2.5 years removed from when last covered, but the English series will be a minimum of 4 years removed from the previous one, and German a minimum of 8 years removed.

I'm asking because part of the goal was to produce a continuous history so we could see how each thinker builds on or reacts against those that came before, but it will be hard to remember what came before.  It might also provide a kind of "reset" to soften the jarring contrast between hearing people, for example, reacting to people, who are reacting to people, who are reacting to Hobbes, and then immediately after hearing about pre Hobbes political philosophy

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

Peter Adamson on 16 July 2024


Thanks, that's a good idea - I think I probably wouldn't do a whole episode that just recaps but it would make sense to touch on the background again when I am introducing each series. 

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