27 - Second Thoughts: Plato's Parmenides and the Forms

Posted on 3 April 2011

Plato sets out criticisms against his own theory of Forms in the "Parmenides". In this episode Peter looks at the criticisms, including the Third Man Argument, and asks what Plato wants us to conclude from them.

39 - Form and Function: Aristotle's Four Causes

Posted on 26 June 2011

Aristotle's Physics presents four types of cause: formal, material, final and efficient. Peter looks at all four, and asks whether evolutionary theory undermines final causes in nature.

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.

144 - Miracle Worker: al-Ghazālī against the Philosophers

Posted on 6 October 2013

In his Incoherence of the Philosophers, al-Ghazālī attacks Avicenna’s theories about the eternity of the universe and insists on the possibility of miracles.

158 - Born Under a Bad Sign: Freedom and Astrology in Jewish Philosophy

Posted on 12 January 2014

Abraham Ibn Ezra, Ibn Daud and Maimonides consider the philosophical implications of astrology as science flourishes in the Jewish culture of Andalusia.

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?

231. Origin of Species: Roger Bacon

Posted on 5 July 2015

Roger Bacon extols the power of science based on experience and uses a general theory of "species" to explain light and vision.

33. Standard Deductions: Nyāya on Reasoning

Posted on 8 January 2017

Gautama and his commentators tell us how to separate good inferences from bad ones.

279. Quadrivial Pursuits: the Oxford Calculators

Posted on 4 June 2017

Bradwardine and other thinkers based at Oxford make breakthroughs in physics by applying mathematics to motion.

280. Get to the Point: Fourteenth Century Physics

Posted on 18 June 2017

Ockham, Buridan, Oresme and Francis of Marchia explore cosmology, atomism, and the impetus involved in motion.

45. Motion Denied: Nāgārjuna on Change

Posted on 25 June 2017

Nāgārjuna applies his emptiness theory to motion, change, and cognition.

53. Follow the Evidence: Dignāga's Logic

Posted on 12 November 2017

Dignāga’s trairūpya theory, which sets out the three conditions required for making reliable inferences.

21. The Doctor Will See You Now: Divination, Witchcraft, and Knowledge

Posted on 3 February 2019

Special forms of knowledge and the explanation of misfortunes in African tradition.

323. Through His Works You Shall Know Him: Palamas and Hesychasm

Posted on 21 April 2019

Gregory Palamas and the controversy over his teaching that we can go beyond human reason by grasping God through his activities or “energies”.

30. Dualist Personality: Anton Wilhelm Amo

Posted on 9 June 2019

Anton Wilhelm Amo, brought to Germany from his native Ghana, defends a rigorous dualism of mind and body. Was this philosophy connected to his African origins?

45. Unnatural Causes: Hosea Easton’s Treatise

Posted on 2 February 2020

Hosea Easton’s Treatise provides an overlooked but fascinating theory of race and racism.