Chinese philosophy announcement!

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Big news everyone! I can now announce that I have a co-author to cover Chinese philosophy on the podcast: Karyn Lai, who is Associate Professor at USNW Sydney and the author of, among many other publications in this area, a volume called An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy published by Cambridge University Press. This series will kick off after the current series on Africana Philosophy, which means you will have to wait a while for it, but we need that time anyway to work together on the scripts. We're planning a series of about the same length and covering roughly the same chronological boundaries as the India series, that is, up the introduction of Buddhism in China. Thanks to Karyn for agreeing to join the podcast! We are looking forward to sharing this amazing tradition with you.

By the way I don't have concrete plans for what would come after that (which would be 5 years from now I guess), but at the moment probably either a return to do more coverage of India; continuing on with later philosophy in China, plus Japan and Korea; or doing a series on various indigenous philosophies around the world (Native American, Aboriginal Australian, etc.). I would like to do all these things eventually, so it is just a matter of which seems most practical to tackle first.

Of course the "Western" series (Renaissance, Reformation, Early Modern...) will continue as it has been, in alternating weeks with the China episodes just as we've done with India and Africana. And as usual we'll post a projected episode list when we get closer to the date of airing the first episode.

Chike Jeffers on 14 October 2018

Such wonderful news!

Such wonderful news!

Karl Young on 17 October 2018

I'm with Chike re. that being

I'm with Chike re. that being great news. And any of the follow ups suggested also sound excellent. Just to add a request; if you could find a suitable collaborator I vote for a segment on Mesoamerican philosophy.

In reply to by Karl Young

Peter Adamson on 17 October 2018

Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks for the encouragement! I've sort of been thinking that I might tackle "indigenous" philosophies from around the world (including Mesoamerica) on my own without a co-author at some point, since I guess no one is a real expert on more than one or at most two of them anyway. I'm pretty excited about that idea so at the moment incline towards thinking it could be the next series after ancient China, but that's quite a ways off so we'll have to see.

Alexander Johnson on 8 November 2018

I am still ~66 weeks away

I am still ~66 weeks away from catching up (assuming you do not increase your episode output to one of each per week or anything like that), but I am excited none the less!  Doublely so since i'm a big fan of the writings of Han Fei and Shang Yang yet am mostly stuck with primary works and the excellent legalist episode of In Our Time.  I hope you do a good job separating out all the propeganda and bias of the various schools talking about each other that often overwelms so much of Chinese philosophy writing.

On the issue of the how to contiue in 5-6 years when you finish Chinese philosophy, I would be quite interested in a mini series on the near east covered in more detail, from Sumer to the fall of the Sassanids.  However, as I believe that will be unlikely, i would be interested in either indigenous or India part 2, but am leaning towards the second as the one i would find more interesting.

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

Peter Adamson on 10 November 2018

Thanks for the input! I think

Thanks for the input! I think a series on the ancient Near East is unlikely, but I could imagine returning to discuss it as part of an indigenous series. We did cover Babylonia a bit at the start of the Africana series by the way, not sure if you saw that.

Enjoy the next 66 weeks!

Thomas Mirus on 16 December 2018

Wonderful! Very much looking

Wonderful! Very much looking forward to this.

kaveinthran on 7 February 2019

hi proff, such a great news

hi proff, such a great news for us, approximately when will the chinese philosophy episodes will start, and where I can find your timeline for future westen philosophy episodes?

dukeofethereal on 26 February 2019

Wonderful news, I do think it

Wonderful news, I do think it would be great to finish off the rest of Indian Philosophy and cover Tibetan Philosophy with it. 

Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese can be done with Medieval/early Chinese Modern Philosophy. 

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 26 February 2019

Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks for the encouragement! Actually speaking to specialists I got the impression that Japan Korea etc would be a whole book's worth of material by itself. I will apparently not be running out of topics to cover anytime soon...

Ryan W on 6 June 2019

Great news! One possible

Great news! One possible suggestion though. I think a more natural cut-off point for the initial China series would be the early neo-Confucians. I think that's a point in Chinese philosophical history where the basic parameters of the tradition have been set and it starts to move into a more scholastic/commentarial key. To me, that seems a more natural division than stopping at the introduction of Buddhism. Anyway, wherever the division is placed, I'll look forward to it!

In reply to by Ryan W

Peter Adamson on 7 June 2019

Ok thanks for the suggestion

Ok thanks for the suggestion - I'll run that past Karyn. In addition to the question of where the most natural break is, we also need to think about the size of the resulting book, and about what would make a good start to the following series/book assuming there is one (like, it might be more interesting to start China part 2 with the introduction of Buddhism, I'm not sure), and so on. But we should definitely consider both options.

In reply to by dukeofethereal

Peter Adamson on 4 June 2020

Yes, thanks - I got in touch

Yes, thanks - I got in touch back then and got some really useful advice from him by email.

Michael Baldwin on 2 April 2021

Stating preferences: Chinese philosophy

Just to state my preferences as a fan of the show: after doing the early stages of Chinese philosophy, I'd love to hear next about the later stages of Chinese philosophy. How did we get to the three creeds and how do (or don't) the three creeds of Confucianism, Taoism & Buddhism mesh?

In reply to by Michael Baldwin

Peter Adamson on 2 April 2021

Later Chinese

Ok, thanks! Of course that would also make sense in terms of continuity. I suspect that it may come down to a pragmatic issue, namely which co-author(s) can I most easily line up when the time comes.

Nikolai Fomich on 26 September 2021

Sounds awesome - I can't…

Sounds awesome - I can't wait! Have you read Disputers of the Tao or A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought?

I wonder, will you also be covering European philosophy outside of the Greco-Islamic-Western tradition - in other words, the thinking of the druids, etc? (Or did you do so already and I missed it?)

In reply to by Nikolai Fomich

Peter Adamson on 26 September 2021


To be honest I have not read that widely in Chinese philosophy just yet but I hope to get to those when the time comes, thanks for the tips!

I have thought about that, yes, I mean, covering "less obvious" European traditions - one that I thought about was Icelandic sagas. I do think I will do more "indigenous" philosophy, as in the Africana series, as mentioned above, so that would be an opportunity. But I am now leaning more towards doing a series just on the Americas. So not sure how, and whether, I will manage to fit in things like Australian Aboriginal culture or the sort of European traditions you are describing.

Keith Green on 30 July 2022

Chinese Philosophy

I was hoping that the Chinese philosophy component would be up and running by August 2022.   Can you give an update?

In reply to by Keith Green

Peter Adamson on 31 July 2022


Oh sorry, it will still be a while yet - we need to finish the Africana series first. I think probably the China series will start in late 2023?

Liam Cognet on 3 May 2023

East Asian philosophy

I'm really looking forward to some episodes on Chinese (and hopefully Japanese and Korean) philosophy! Keep up the spendid work :) 

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