Thanks for input

Posted on ..

Just wanted to thank everyone for their input on the question of whether to take a year soon to do Indian and Chinese thought. It doesn't look like there is a consensus view among listeners but the comments gave me lots to think about, by all means chip in if you haven't yet. One drawback I hadn't considered, which seems important, is that putting it between medieval and Renaissance could perpetuate the idea (which I basically would reject) that there is a big break there, rather than continuity. In any case almost everyone thinks I should try to do it eventually, so I will aspire to that, one way or another.

Calum on 11 May 2013

Please, please, please do

Please, please, please do take some time to do some oriental philosophy. I love the podcast, and have listened to mosts episodes over and over, but you have to admit that it's only half the story. To truly be a "History of Philosophy" it can't ignore half of the world. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to help all us all learn about how different cultures tackled the same problems. So please do some Eastern philosophy, you Buster would want to to.

In reply to by Calum

Horapollo on 31 May 2013

Population-wise and

Population-wise and geographically, ancient Asia is much more than half of the world. Western studies have tended to ignore Oriental and SE Asian history and philosophy except as a sort of scapegoat for esoterica, and the clear relationship between Near Eastern religion and Buddhism gets the boot, too. There is a huge bias toward the Western classical periods in our studies, despite the fact that our 'empires' were backwaters ruled by barbarians as often as not. It's a retrojection of modern Western ideological and political dominance onto the past.

John M. on 11 May 2013

I prefer your original plan

I prefer your original plan to stick with Western philosophy. Asian philosophy seems to merit its own podcast. To jump into the East would create a considerable gap in the flow. Nonetheless, I would find an exploration of Eastern philosophy to be quite interesting. Perhaps a few episodes on the influences and interactions of the various traditions would be viable. Whichever way you go, thanks for this fascinating podcast.

In reply to by John M.

Horapollo on 31 May 2013

Is it really a break? I

Is it really a break? I suggest studying the links between Buddhism, Near Eastern religion and the Buddhist studies of logic and ontology. In many ways, they were more advanced than the vaunted Greeks in both philosophical and religious development, and there is no hard-and-fast line, especially when it comes to Central Asia. If the King of France had Mongol heritage, might not we find the Stoics more influenced by oriental religion than moderns imagined themselves to be? The demarcation between East and West is pretty much arbitrary, and stems from an Eurocentric vision of civilization that is really only true around 1500 on. Before that Europe was mostly savages and 2nd rate powers.

Horapollo on 31 May 2013

My inclination would be to

My inclination would be to say do it - there is a superabundance of commentaries, summaries and encyclopedia entries on Western Philosophy(especially Greek and early modern philosophy) while the history of Chinese thought, and to a lesser extent Indian philosophy, is basically unknown even to many philosophy students. It was by sheer accident that I found out that Buddhists even had ontological and logical discussions.

Diana Hughes on 8 June 2013

You have already set yourself

You have already set yourself a mammoth task in covering the whole of Western philosophy in this level of detail - and it sounds as though it is expanding all the time as you incorporate your own ideas for extra episodes and listeners' suggestions. I vote for carrying on as planned and keeping Indian and Chinese philosophy as a project for the future. More depth on subjects you know well is likely to be more valuable than a fairly superficial look at an unfamiliar subject.

James Bierly on 17 June 2013

I'd love to hear a podcast on

I'd love to hear a podcast on Indian and Chinese philosophy, but I'd also like to get up through Modern Western Philosophy within my lifetime, so I'd probably vote for just sticking with the West for now. Since you don't know much about Chinese and Indian philosophy, though, do you think you could find someone else to start podcasting on those under the HOPWAG tag? We'd get double updates and you'd cover twice the territory :-)

Peter Adamson on 18 June 2013

Actually I am indeed

Actually I am indeed exploring the possibility of teaming up with someone to cover the Asian traditions. Stay tuned for further news on this...

Charles on 24 June 2013

I would strongly support

I would strongly support podcasts covering Indian and Chinese philosophy.

Indian philosophy in particular influenced both ancient and modern philosophers in the West, and the history would indeed have 'gaps' if Eastern philosophy were not considered.

The challenge is to limit coverage to a sensible scale, so the podcast doesn't travel through the East for 20 years like Marco Polo.

There is a balance to be struck between those who are keen on a thorough treatment, and those who would rather ignore the subject. Perhaps limiting the survey to 12-15 episodes might be a good compromise. That would be on a par with the Pre-Socratics.

I would have thought a brief treatment of each major tradition would be valuable, with a heavy emphasis of "compare and contrast" with both ancient and modern thinkers in the West. There is also a powerful confrontation with Islamic philosophy via the Mughal empire, which I would have thought was an essential story to tell, not to mention contributions to the philosophy of mathematics.

Not only would that go some way to filling a huge 'gap' in the history, it would also provide essential background from Eastern ideas such as Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism that have influenced modern philosophers in the West. There is also the argument that contrasting Eastern and Western philosophies puts them in relief, helping us better understand the Western tradition.

One interviewee that I would like to hear from is Thomas McEvilley, who wrote an interesting comparison of ancient Greek and Indian philosophical thought, "The Shape of Ancient Thought".

I hope that helps.

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