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In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 3 February 2024

Other episodes

Oh good point, thanks for that as well! 250 would be easy since that even exists as a text file already (and the same will be true for 500). I’ll do that.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 3 February 2024

Last thing, I decided to…

Last thing, I decided to check if there was any interview not tagged as such and there is at least one! Poor Brittney Cooper from episode 63 in Africana isn't even tagged as an interview!

Side thing, don't know if this is just me somehow, but the page for 79 on Africana, the interview with Leonard Harris, the proportions are all messed up. Like the picture and episode list are so far off to the side that it isn't even under the header and I have to scroll right on the page to see it

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 3 February 2024

Fixing up the site

Great, thanks - I fixed Cooper but am unable to deal with the problem on the Harris page, I asked webmaster Julian to have a look.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 3 February 2024

Glad I could help

Glad I could help

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 18 February 2024


Just an update on this: 

For a few I seem to have no raw file as yet so we'll have to get the Computer Overlords to churn those out.

But for a lot of them I had simply failed to link to the transcript from the podcast episode page. This was easy to fix so you can now see transcripts for: 300b, 321, 360, 387, and 431, plus 41 and 50 in the India series. 

And then a couple still are being edited (318 Primavesi, 39 Garraway). 

I put a transcript of 250 (the Q&A episode) directly on the episode page; for 215 and 400, the interviews with several other podcasters, I think I'm inclined not to do transcripts since those are a bit incidental to the overall project and it would be a lot of work to edit them for someone since they are each over an hour long.

Thanks again for tracking down the missing episodes!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 18 February 2024

Well, how about you just…

Well, how about you just have the ai transcript for 215 and 400 and if anyone is willing to do them then they can, but at least the ai version of the transcript will exist for those who want one. Just would need to make special notice of that fact. Or another idea: If I remember correctly, you interviewed the podcasters in both episodes in sequential order right? Maybe instead of treating it as one transcript, you could split it up into three that then different people can work on at different times, if that makes sense. If done that way, that would cut the workload down quite a bit for an individual transcript anyway.

I'm assuming, due to similar reasoning that you gave to 215 and 400, that you aren't inclined to make transcripts of the bonus episodes as well? If so, outside of my first suggestion, at the very least a transcript for the first chapter of your book would be very easy right? (would it even be a "transcript" for it? haha).

Glad to have helped make the podcast more accessible! Just two last things quickly unrelated to the transcripts.

1. In the catholic reformation series, in both the general overview page and each episode, the part that lists how long the series is ("Episodes x - y: name of series") doesn't have either the name of the series (and the link to the overview page) or the html/css styling the website usually gives it. If you don't know what I mean, just look between the series list and the picture in a single episode and you will see what I mean.

2. This technically applies to ancient and medieval philosophy, but I feel that especially with modern philosophy there is lots of contemporary material that engages with it critically and offer multiple different angles and understandings of it. I have specifically in mind as a prime example Liberalism, and the criticism that Marxism, some strands of feminist theory, post/decolonial theory etc. You have already come across a lot of this in the Africana series. Cartesian dualism also comes to mind as another big example, of the huge contemporary desire to go beyond cartesian dualism, in this or that way. I'm wondering exactly how you are going to go about this issue, of choosing which contemporary voice/view to include and which to exclude in your coverage. One the one hand, they all offer (in my view anyway) interesting insights and critical reevaluations to our understanding of modern philosophers. On the other hand, the stream of voices seem endless.

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 18 February 2024

Two points

Thanks for all that - I'll bring the point about the new episodes to Julian's attention.

The last point is tricky, but I think for the most part I will stick to telling the story as "immanently" as possible, so, trying to contextualize Cartesianism or whatever topic within its historical frame, and talking more about how contemporaries reacted to it rather than (say) 20th c objections. I might occasionally mention something along those lines but more to keep the listener's attention; it isn't really the point of the project and as you say there is no end to it. Also just pragmatically I think I'm going to have my hands full reading through the more historically oriented scholarship on this stuff! Which is also pretty much endless...

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 18 February 2024

Some of the critiques are…

Some of the critiques are historically grounded and also very relevant to how we understand their philosophy though. Like, I know you will want to bring up how John Locke was invested in the Royal Africa company or John Stuart Mill with the East India company and how that should relate to how we understand their works. If we are willing to do that, then why not also bring in some modern historical critiques like a Marxist class critique of Liberalism? That would be the most historically grounded critique that comes to mind.

Brandon Freude… on 3 February 2024

Appreciation, and Episodes Disappearing on Apple Podcasts

Hi Peter -

I’ve been working my way through the series from the start since last year, and it really is astounding the care you have put into this podcast and website. Thank you so much for providing the world with this resource. 

I had an amateur interest in modern philosophy before your series and I read some Hume and analytic philosophy I liked.  With a scientific background I assumed I didn’t have much to learn from, especially, ancient and medieval metaphysics. Happy to say how wrong that impression was… even issues that in the moment I think feel too removed from my natural empiricist mindset, including very theological issues, I find myself considering in my free time now.  When I catch up in the podcast I’m sure I’ll loop back to reading my favorite thinkers.  Although I just finished Abelard and I do admit the “medieval modernism” I found refreshing nonetheless!

Anyway - the original inspiration for my message, I was about to start the Indian Philosophy series and noticed they seem to be disappearing from Apple Podcasts. The first 3 episodes are currently missing. I have no problem listening on your website but wanted to be sure you didn’t lose any potential new listeners due to this, if it isn’t just some weird error on my end. 

In reply to by Brandon Freude…

Peter Adamson on 3 February 2024

Bite taken out of Apple

Thanks, it’s great to hear that you are getting so much out of the podcast!

On the Apple problem: in browsing mode they only show the most recent 200 episodes of any feed, I think it is; you can still get at the earliest episodes but you have to “subscribe”. If you look at the original HoPWaG feed it starts well after the beginning for the same reason. Unfortunately this is a general policy so nothing we can do to fix it. 

Cor Zwart on 5 February 2024


Hi Peter,

First, thanks for this great project and the effort you are putting in! I keep revisiting and listening to the old episodes while trying to keep up also on the new ones, getting bettter insight every time.

I was wondering if something recently changed in the recordings, as the recent episodes (starting from the Renaissance and Reformation in Britain) are harder to follow for me. It feels like the playback speed is faster or pauses are cut out. I am not a native speaker of English, so maybe it is me, but just wanted to ask.

Regards, Cor

In reply to by Cor Zwart

Peter Adamson on 5 February 2024


No, that shouldn’t be different; possibly there are episodes where I am talking too fast? But I would be surprised if there is a systematic problem just for the more recent episodes, and no one else has mentioned anything. Maybe check the settings on your device?

Andrew on 9 February 2024

Thomas Sankara

What happened with Sankara? I was wondering about him recently, and just learned that my question asking about him is nearly a year old by now. Was it too late, didn't fit with the current plan, nothing philosophically interesting about him?

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 10 February 2024


Oh right, thanks for the reminder. I guess he would (if anywhere) go in the book version as a figure comparable to the other African political leaders with philosophical interests. I'll check this with Chike.

Andrew on 13 February 2024

Chinese philosophy and disability/neurodiversity

Do you or Karyn Lai know of any work that deals with the relation between Chinese philosophy and disability/neurodiversity? I'm listening to the lecture series that Lai gave a few months ago on Chinese philosophy for Leverhulme and there has been a few times where Disability/Neurodiversity would pose some interesting questions to the ideas and/or puts them into a different and interesting light/angle. Two examples come to mind:

First, with Confucius. Specifically I have in mind between Ritual and Autistic people masking. Masking is when an Autistic person covers up their Autistic traits in order to fit in the neurotypical world. I can't say I really understand the role that ritual plays into Confucius' thought yet, but I know at least that it is related somehow to cultivation. It seems like though that a lot of daily rituals would not help cultivate an Autistic person, when they have to repress their Autistic traits for the sake of ritual. It is a common experience that later on in life for some Autistic people that have had to mask their whole lives to experience burnout and can no longer do a lot of stuff they could do before (very low on energy, no longer able to mask for a while etc). So much for cultivation, the rituals haven't helped them flourished at all but instead acted against their flourishing or their ability to participate in society. Would this be a correct understanding of what ritual is and the purpose it is supposed to serve, and if so how could a Confucian respond to this negative outcome?

The second example is the swimming parable in the Zhuangzi. The swimmer, by not having a dao of their own, is able to follow the dao of the water, which confuses Confucius since he has his own dao and therefore is unable to understand what the swimmer is doing or how. I think bringing in disability can help put two Daoist themes, spontaneity and relativity, in an interesting angle. On the one hand, if the swimmer had broken legs, how the swimmer would follow the water's dao would be different (I can imagine there would be more focus on how they use their arms and/or how they would control/throw their body weight around in order to navigate and move around the water), precisely showing the relativity of the water's dao. On the other hand, if your body is prone to stiffing up in cold water, then it seems that there is no way to go with the flow of the water. The dao of the water would be hostile to you, in which case you can't naturally and spontaneously follow the water's dao. In which case, if we still want to swim, they would have to develop their own dao somehow that goes against the water's dao, since they certainly can't follow it.

Both of those examples may or may not be born from misunderstandings, I don't know enough yet. But at the very least, if Karyn Lai is right in the lecture series that early Chinese Philosophy has an attentiveness to orientation and self-cultivation, then disability and neurodiversity surely seem very relevant to those concerns. So I have to imagine there has been some work on this, especially since it isn't necessarily a modern concern (what I mean is, while in my first example Autism might be a modern concern, I know that there is a recurring theme in the Zhuangzi of the use of uselessness) so I can't imagine there not being lots of literature on this.

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 13 February 2024

Chinese philosophy and disability

It's funny you ask, because I was reading the Analects today (as one does... actually, because I am working on the episode to introduce this work) and was struck, having had this exchange with you on the site here, by the fact that there are several references to blindness. In particular there is a striking passage where a blind "music master" visits Confucius and he puts the man at ease while also telling him who is there, where they are sitting, etc - must be one of the earliest examples of a philosophical text about ethical treatment of the disabled? 

Unfortunately though I don't know whether there is secondary literature on your question, but I will keep it in mind and let you know if I come across anything.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 13 February 2024

I am sure Karyn Lai must…

I am sure Karyn Lai must know. In that very same lecture series I was talking about, literally the last episode is about disability and a good life in Zhuangzi's philosophy. Didn't even realise that until I made the comment haha.

Speaking of the lecture series, I meant to link it in my last comment so you could see what I was talking about but I forgot to. Here it is:

Clay Kallam on 23 February 2024

Where can I get podcast?

Hi ...

So I started on Google Podcasts but it's closing. I don't have an Apple phone. Where can I get your podcasts?


Clay Kallam

In reply to by Clay Kallam

Peter Adamson on 24 February 2024


Well, here on the site, or on Spotify or directly on Podbean which hosts both series. 

In reply to by Clay Kallam

Peter Adamson on 24 February 2024


Well, here on the site, or on Spotify or directly on Podbean which hosts both series. 

Davide Doardi on 12 March 2024

Plato and Aristotle on knowledge

Among the chief achievements of Plato's epistemology we have the difference between episteme and doxa, the account of episteme as true and justified belief, the dependence of episteme on ontology and the importance of truth for political and ethical life. 

What does Aristotle add to these achievements? Can we regard the systematization of deductive reasoning as a continuation of Plato's program?  As to metaphysics: does this play the same role as the dimension of imperishable and unchanging forms in Plato? 

I am perplexed. It seems that in spite of his historiographic method that made him famous in the Physics and Metaphysics, Aristotle does not do the same in epistemology and, for example, simply neglects Theaetetus and Republic

Comments and criticism are welcomed 


In reply to by Davide Doardi

Peter Adamson on 12 March 2024

Aristotle's epistemology

I can sort of see why you would say that because the more famous and frequently read treatises by Aristotle are not centrally about epistemology. However, there is the Posterior Analytics. It engages intensely with the question of how to distinguish episteme from doxa and sets out a theory of scientific demonstration as constitutive of episteme. What we perhaps get less from Aristotle is a weaving together of themes in epistemology with politics, metaphysics, etc though even there he has plenty to say, for instance the inclusion of the sections on the intellectual virtues in the Ethics. And by the way all of his works engage extensively with Plato: critique of Forms in the Metaphysics, of the Form of the Good in Ethics bk 1, of the Timaeus in the Physics and elsewhere, extensive critique of the Republic in the Politics, and those are just the most obvious explicit references, in fact he is thinking about Plato all the time even when he doesn't say so. 

I do have an episode on Aristotle's epistemology by the way so you could check that out, it explains the theory of the Posterior Analytics.

Ross on 21 March 2024

Cancel Culture academy style

There must be a very good reason that while Israel does not appear in the roster of countries to choose from for my profile Palestine does and I would like to hear it. Please fix this. You may be of the ilk that thinks that cancelling Israel and simultaneously creating an alternate state IS part of the fix, in which case I think deserves an episode of its own. Tell the world.

In reply to by Ross

Peter Adamson on 21 March 2024


Actually I didn't even know that there was a dropdown menu for users to indicate their country, never mind that Israel isn't on it. But I guess that is some automatic thing we don't have control over. Actually are you sure about this? Sounds very unlikely. (At first I thought you must mean that Palestine isn't on it, which sounds more possible, but then I re-read your message.)

dukeofethereal on 27 March 2024

A blogpost on suggested figures/themes/to cover 1600-1800

Hiya Professor, years ago you made a blog post on what topics/philosophers to cover for the Renaissaince and many listeners chimed in on this site and mention various topics/philosophers/themes to cover


Are you going to do a new blogpost for the same for 1600-1800 European Philosophy, as it listeners might chime in figures that should be covered that may not have been in your radar in the first place, for example Richard Hooker for British reformation (who you eventually did devote an episode to).


Since we're starting this series next year, it should give you plenty time to prepare for such material, since we're starting on France-Low countries next. I say this because a particular French Catholic philosopher caught my eye, his name is Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet and his work 'Discours sur l'histoire universelle' which is similar to Augustine 'city of god'.



Rory Gaines on 28 March 2024

Who is the oldest known philosopher or group of philosophers?

     Hi, Peter.

I would like to ask you what is the earliest philosophy, whether of an individual philosopher or a group of philosophers, that there are still records of, be it of primary source or of secondary source.

In reply to by Rory Gaines

Peter Adamson on 28 March 2024

Oldest philosophers

Well it depends what you'd be willing to count as a philosopher or philosophical text, of course, but I'd go with either the Rig Veda or some of the "Instructions" we covered in the Africana series, the podcasts on ancient Egypt. 

The Presocratics aren't even close! 

Xaratustrah on 23 April 2024

Albert the Great citing Avicenna

Hi Peter,

In his "De mirabilibus mundi", Albert the Great has cited a quote from Avicenna about some features of human soul, as Albert puts in his citation, apparently in Avicenna's "sixth book of Naturalia". More than this I don't know.

Maybe you have a hint where to look for, in order to find exactly the text in the original Arabic?


In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 23 April 2024

Sixth book

Sure, that should be the "Nafs" (i.e. Soul) section of the Natural Philosophy of the Shifa'. There is the Rahman edition, but you might be able to find it quicker if you look at Tommaso Alpina's recent book on this part of the Shifa' (which is fantastic anyway, so well worth your time even if you don't find the quotation). There is also an old French translation of the whole Nafs by Bakos.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Xaratustrah on 4 May 2024


took me some time, but I will soon start an interlibrary loan, so hopefully I will have all three (Alpina, Bakos and Rahman). I guess I have to re-listen to your Avicenna episodes for a warm up first... it has been so long ago... wow when I think of it, all these years I have been listening to your podcast, truly great work...

In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 4 May 2024


Ok good luck with the Avicenna! And thanks, that's very kind of you.

Philip Hyland on 2 May 2024

Freedom and the stages of life

Hello Peter

 I am a loyal listener to the podcast HoPWaG.  I am interested in how the Freedoms we value may change over the course of our lives.  For example a 14 year old may be content merely to rebel against authority, a 30 year old may value the ability to work in harmony with existing authorities (to start a small business for example) and a 50 year old might want to BE the authority. For me personally a 14 year old libertarian seems to be living in harmony with their stage of life whereas a 50 year old libertarian is not. (Obviously this is a contentious claim. This is merely an opinion on my part and I am sure things are more complicated than that!) Please recommend books that might give me insight into how the Ancient Philosophers thought about how our personal age might affect how we think about freedom and about which sorts of freedoms and conception of freedom we should value. I would be interested in both primary and secondary source books and especially interested in any philosophers who have written works in the last 8 years or so that relate our current changing conceptions of which freedoms we should value to writers from the ancient world. I am primarily interested in European, Japanese and Indian ancient thinkers, but would also be interested in other traditions. Thanks...and thanks for your sheer endurance as you create HoPwaG!

In reply to by Philip Hyland

Peter Adamson on 2 May 2024


That is an interesting question! One thing I'd point out is that there are really two philosophical debates that fall under "freedom," one that is more metaphysical, about free action and choice, and another that is about political freedom. I think you are more interested in the latter than the former but the former is better researched. I would recommend though looking at "A Free Will" by the late great Michael Frede, on the emergence of the concept of will, and this would be a good overview on the metaphysical side of things:

And there is also a page on ancient political thought that might be helpful:

There's also a book called "The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece" which I haven't read but there is a review by Zita Hitz, which you can download here:


In reply to by Peter Adamson

Peter Adamson on 3 May 2024

More on Freedom

Oh and I'd also suggest listening to the recent series of episodes on freedom on the "Past, Present, Future" podcast by David Runciman, in which he and Lea Ypi discuss freedom in a variety of philosophical periods and traditions including antiquity.

Irina Posternak on 13 May 2024

No Judaism as a group?

Wonderful podcasts, but why there is no Judaism-related podcasts? Everything else you seem to be covering...

In reply to by Irina Posternak

Peter Adamson on 14 May 2024


Actually there are many Judaism related podcasts already! Most of them are in the section on the Islamic world and in the Andalusia section; also there is the episode on Philo in the Late Antiquity part and it comes up in the Renaissance series too, like in the episode on theories of love. With more to come in the early modern series. The reason there is no single heading for Jewish philosophy is that as you probably know, Jewish thinkers turn up in various chronological and geographical spaces, which is how the podcast as a whole is divided. 

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Irina Posternak on 17 May 2024

Thank you. I wish there were…

Thank you. I wish there were tags to follow, that would make things a bit easier to navigate, as the number of the posts is growing. Btw, I wanted to say Hi from Boston and that I am enjoying your lectures this semester at the University of Lucerne! One of my favorites I must say.

In reply to by Irina Posternak

Peter Adamson on 19 May 2024


Actually there are tags, but we call them “Themes” - if you look at the bottom of the page you’ll see the link to them. I don’t have one for Judaism because I think of these as tags for philosophical topics but maybe I should add one for that.

Glad you are enjoying the Lucerne course!

Ken on 15 May 2024

Chinese phonology

I hadn’t thought about this until I started listening to the second episode—has anyone gone over some of the basic Chinese pronunciations with you? I know you’re obviously reading pinyin, but the pronunciations are nothing like what we use in English. The big example is that the word Zhou is pronounced more like “Joe”. It took me a minute to know what dynasty you were talking about. 

I may have to skip out on these episodes as I know the pronunciations are only going to get more difficult if you haven’t heard the names pronounced before. (And I am just talking about Mandarin.)

In reply to by Ken

Peter Adamson on 15 May 2024


What we're doing is that Karyn is recording the words for me and I am doing my best to imitate what she does; I actually stop as I go along recording and listen to her version. Obviously this is a bit of a challenge but I am doing my best with it! (For example I mostly have been saying Zhou "Joe" but I may have screwed one up.) Just bear with me, it'll probably get at least a little better as I go along and get more practice.

Or when you say "what we usually say in English" do you mean, I should just say everything the way it's written as if it were English words? I am not sure that would be a good idea because it would be very far from the real pronunciation and there are different transliteration systems anyway so it is sort of random, to my mind. 

Brian on 21 June 2024


My favorite podcast series but I just found out they're also available in book form! I'm a better reader than listener.  Just bought the whole set on Amazon, and looking forward to China.

In reply to by Brian

Peter Adamson on 22 June 2024


Awesome! Hope you will enjoy them. Actually I think China may be the fourth book to come along in the next few years since there will be two Africana volumes and the Reformation volume before then.