Determinism and Fate

62 - We Didn’t Start the Fire: the Stoics on Nature

Posted on 8 January 2012

Peter looks at the Stoic idea of god, a providential fire that pervades nature, and considers their idea of a deterministic and eternally recurring cosmos.

83 - Not Written in Stone: Alexander of Aphrodisias

Posted on 3 June 2012

Alexander of Aphrodisias writes the greatest ancient commentaries on Aristotle and tries to demolish the Stoic teaching on fate.

85 - Sky Writing: Astronomy, Astrology, and Philosophy

Posted on 17 June 2012

Ptolemy uses philosophy in the service of studying the stars, while philosophers of all persuasions evaluate the widespread practice of astrology.

117 - Born Again: Latin Platonism

Posted on 24 February 2013

Apuleius, Victorinus, Martianus Capella, Macrobius and Calcidius present and interpret Platonic teachings for readers of Latin.

119 - John Marenbon on Boethius

Posted on 10 March 2013

John Marenbon joins Peter to discuss Boethius' solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge.

128 - Aristotelian Society: the Baghdad School

Posted on 12 May 2013

A group of mostly Christian philosophers transpose the practices of antique Aristotelian philosophy to 10th century Baghdad.

129 - The Second Master: al-Fārābī

Posted on 19 May 2013

Peter begins to look at the systematic rethinking of Hellenic philosophy offered by al-Fārābī, focusing on his logic and metaphysics.

137 - God Willing: the Ash'arites

Posted on 14 July 2013

Al-Ash'arī puts his stamp on the future of Islamic theology by emphasizing God’s untrammeled power and freedom.

140 - By All Means Necessary: Avicenna on God

Posted on 4 August 2013

Avicenna’s proof of the Necessary Existent is ingenious and influential; but does it amount to a proof of God’s existence?

198. Grace Notes: Eriugena and the Predestination Controversy

Posted on 16 November 2014

John Scotus Eriugena debates free will with his rival Gottschalk, arguing that God predestines the saved but not the damned.

203. Virgin Territory: Peter Damian on Changing the Past

Posted on 21 December 2014

Peter Damian takes up a question with surprising philosophical implications: can God restore virginity to a woman who has lost it?

210. John Marenbon on Peter Abelard

Posted on 8 February 2015

John Marenbon returns to the podcast to discuss Abelard's views on necessity and freedom.

6. You Are What You Do: Karma

Posted on 29 November 2015

The origins of the idea of karma, its moral significance in the Upanisads, and an alternative conception in the Bhagavad-Gita.

276. Back to the Future: Foreknowledge and Predestination

Posted on 23 April 2017

Scotus, Ockham, and Bradwardine ask how we can be free if God knows and chooses the things we will do in the future.

312. Past Masters: Byzantine Historiography

Posted on 18 November 2018

The larger meaning of history in the chronicles written by Michael Psellos, Michael Attaleiates, Anna Komnene, and Niketas Choniates.

18. One to Rule Them All: God in African Philosophy

Posted on 23 December 2018

Is traditional African religion in some sense monotheist, despite the worship of many divinities?

324. United We Fall: Latin Philosophy in Byzantium

Posted on 5 May 2019

Thomas Aquinas finds avid readers among Byzantines at the twilight of empire, and is used by both sides of the Hesychast controversy.

325. Platonic Love: Gemistos Plethon

Posted on 19 May 2019

Was Gemistos Plethon, the last great thinker of the Byzantine tradition, a secret pagan or just a Christian with an unusual enthusiasm for Platonism?

32. Talking Book: Early Africana Writing in English

Posted on 7 July 2019

Eighteenth century black authors touch on philosophical themes in autobiographical narratives, poetry, and other literary genres.

329. Greeks Bearing Gifts: Byzantine Scholars in Italy

Posted on 14 July 2019

Bessarion and George Trapenzuntius, rival scholars from the Greek east who helped inspire the Italian Renaissance.

34. New England Patriot: Lemuel Haynes

Posted on 1 September 2019

Preacher and Revolutionary War soldier Lemuel Haynes argues that the principles of the American Revolution demand the abolition of slavery.

334. Chance Encounters: Reviving Hellenistic Philosophy

Posted on 20 October 2019

The rediscovery of Epicurus, Lucretius, and Sextus Empiricus spreads challenging ideas about chance, atomism, and skepticism.

366. The Men Who Saw Tomorrow: Renaissance Magic and Astrology

Posted on 14 February 2021

Ficino, Pico, Cardano, and other Renaissance thinkers debate whether astrology and magic are legitimate sciences with a foundation in natural philosophy.

73. Vanessa Wills on Africana Marxism

Posted on 4 April 2021

Vanessa Wills speaks  to us about Marx and his Africana legacy, with a special focus on black women Marxists.

380. Take Your Choice: Erasmus vs Luther on Free Will

Posted on 26 September 2021

Erasmus clashes with Martin Luther over the question whether our wills are free or enslaved to sin.

384. We Are Not Our Own: John Calvin

Posted on 21 November 2021

John Calvin's views on predestination and the limits of human reason.

390. Born to Be Contrary: Toleration in the Netherlands

Posted on 13 February 2022

Amidst religious conflict in the Netherlands, Dirck Coornhert pleads for religious toleration and freedom of expression.

391. Everything is Mine and Nothing: Lipsius and the Revival of Stoicism

Posted on 27 February 2022

Justus Lipsius draws on Seneca and other Stoics to counsel peace of mind in the face of political chaos, but also writes a work on how such chaos can be avoided.

392. John Sellars on Lipsius and Early Modern Stoicism

Posted on 12 March 2022

John Sellars returns to the podcast to discuss Lipsius' work on Seneca and the early modern Neo-Stoic movement.

418. Diarmaid MacCulloch on the British Reformations

Posted on 9 April 2023

A leading expert on the history of the Reformation joins us to explain the very different stories of England and Scotland in the 16th century.