Who should be covered in the 17-18th centuries?

Posted on ..

We are slowly but surely getting to the end of our coverage of the 15-16th centuries, and will be diving into the 17-18th centuries of European philosophy starting round about the turn of the year from 2024-25. 

A faithful listener suggested that I post a request for suggestions as to whom and what to cover. Obviously you don't need to suggest, like, Descartes or Hume; the question is about interesting figures, movements, and ideas from the period that I might not think of otherwise, but that you'd love to see an episode on. No promises, obviously, since the scope here is limitless, but I am sure I will get some stimulating ideas. Just leave your suggestions in the comments below. Topics or groups might be especially important for this period, as opposed to individuals, since there is such a vast number of philosophers that I will need to sweep them up more than one at a time when I can! Feel free to just throw names at me, but it would be extra helpful if you could also add a short comment about why it would be interesting.

It might help to know that my plan is to do three series/books worth on this period: the first on France and the Low Countries; then Britain; then Germany (and in each case related territories, e.g. Eastern Europe together with Germany; Ireland early USA with Britain). So if all goes well we'll be at this until past 2030.

Francesco Caponeri on 8 July 2024

Will there be space for..

Dear Peter,

I greatly admire your work, which rekindled my love for philosophy in great fashion. 

Will you find space to cover Cesare Beccaria and his treaty On Crimes and Punishments?

Thanks for everything you are doing.

In reply to by Francesco Caponeri

Peter Adamson on 8 July 2024


Interesting suggestion, thanks! I'll add that to my list.

Ubaldo Ranaldi on 13 July 2024

Italian topics

Dear Peter,

in relation to the last suggestion, maybe you could cover Beccaria with his Milanese milieu: I have in mind in particular the magazine Il Caffé (The Coffeehouse) with its founders, the brothers Alessandro and Pietro Verri (whose “Observations on torture” were very influential on Beccaria).

Other italian topics for the XVIII century could be: 

- the Neapolitan Enlightenment, not only Giambattista Vico, but also Antonio Genovesi (who brought several innovations in the field of national economy) and Gaetano Filangeri (author of the Scienza della legislazione – science of legislation – where it advocates a reform in an anti-feudal sense of the legislation and the introduction of compulsory education).

- Ludovico Antonio Muratori, a Catholic priest in Modena, notable as historian, literary critic and political philosopher.

- the grand tour in the Italian peninsula, which was fundamental for the rediscovery of the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and therefore the Neoclassical aesthetics.

Thanks for your time and your fantastic podcast.

Ff Emily King on 19 July 2024

Welsh Philosophy

Apologies for the late reply, and no hard feelings if it's not possible to fit this in - but when you are doing Britain it would be really nice to hear a bit on Welsh Philosophy of the period! Wales is often overlooked in historical works, so as a resident of the country myself I'd love to hear maybe an episode on its contribution to philosophy. Obviously there's a bit of a language barrier, and due to said overlooking, there's a bit of a gap when it comes to my knowledge of specific philosophers - but there may be interesting things to say with regards figures such as Ellis Wynne (his work Gweledigaetheu y Bardd Cwsc / Visions of the Sleeping Bard is basically the Welsh answer to the Divine Comedy), Edward Lhuyd (a polymath with many writings on many topics) and Thomas Vaughan (a philosopher and alchemist in the tradition of Cornelius Agrippa), among others. Unfortunately the time has probably passed for discussions of Welsh Humanism (and its greatest proponent, William Salesbury), and possibly will not come yet for a discussion of the Father of modern "druidic" philosophy (and prolific forger), Iolo Morganwg (though his life spanned the late 18th and early 19th century), but if you can fit some Welsh stuff in, I'd be very grateful!

In reply to by Ff Emily King

Peter Adamson on 19 July 2024

Welsh philosophy

Thanks that is a great suggestion! I'll try to get this in when I do the early modern Britain series. Might need some help with pronunciation when the time comes...

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