Comments Page

Please leave any general comments here, or if your comment relates to a particular podcast, please post it on the relevant podcast page. You can also leave comments on Peter's blog.

For any technical issues concerning the website please use this form or email



In reply to by Irwan

Stephen Grossman on 19 April 2016


> The "without any gaps" commitment is very ambitious and, for me, the most wonderful part of it all.

Gaps, like everything else, are limited.  Thus, this history of philosophy, whatever its superior inclusiveness, has no gaps within a limit.  

Ilan Geerlof-V… on 26 November 2014

Medieval Jewish philosophers

I enjoy your podcast very much and also you are done with Arabic and Jewish philosophy. I thought I add this tidbit.
I just learned on a forgotten book you might be interested in. It is an encyclopedia written by Moshe ben Yehuda (1353-1356) on physics, Aristotelian metaphysics and Jewish thought. The name can be translated as "Love with Delights", perhaps this is why it was forgotten.
"Ahavah ba-Ta'anugim: A Fourteenth-Century Encyclopedia of Science and Theology," in Steven Harvey, ed., The Medieval Hebrew Encyclopedias of Science and Philosophy (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000), pp. 429-440.
A commentary on the first 7 articles that deals with physics was published by Esthy Eisenman by Magnes Press The Hebrew University Jerusalem.

Constantin on 27 November 2014

Reception of Aristotle and Neo Platonism in Persia

Hi Peter,

I just listened to your podcasts 135 and 136 (taking it in slowly and from the beginning to cherish it more) and I was wondering if you could recommend any further ressources about the reception of aristotelian and neo platonist thought in persian philosophy and culture? Maybe even something in German? I would very much appreciate that.

Please keep up the excellent work!


Gus on 29 November 2014


I've discovered your podcast recently and I'm really enjoying it. My major was in Literature, so it's also helping me contextualize many things I've learned. Thank you, Gustavo Brunetti

In reply to by Gus

Peter Adamson on 29 November 2014


Great, glad you are enjoying it. I was also a literature major, almost - one class short, my other major being in... well, you can probably guess.

Jeff Biggus on 3 December 2014

Added Medieval timeline

Hi, I added the timeline for the Medieval period. (I used the birth/death dates from Wikipedia, which agree with the death dates listed here.) Available here:

In reply to by Jeff Biggus

Peter Adamson on 4 December 2014


Hi Jeff,

Great, thanks - by the way the medieval timeline is a work in progress, I add more figures as I mention them. But the names for early medieval should be all there, or nearly all.


Jamie on 6 December 2014

These are engaging, funny, and comprehensive podcasts

Thank you for making and publishing these podcasts. I am a PhD student in chemistry who loves philosophy, but I have no time to take a course in the field. These podcasts are like taking a class with an eloquent lecturer, but I can listen to them while doing lab work or traveling to conferences. Thank you, again, for producing these podcasts.

Guest on 7 December 2014

Syriac Church Fathers


I am just wondering if you were willing to go back to your section on the late antiquity do an episode on Syriac literature. From 4th to 10th century AD, Syrian Aramaic was a major scholarly language and there was a flowering of Christian theology, philosophy and poetry that prefigured and laid the groundwork for the development of Classical Arabic as both a scholarly and poetic language. The Arabs got their Greek texts translated into Arabic from their Christian Syrian subjects who had a scholarly culture of continuing the Greek traditions of science, philosophy and theology. Although this is where I am getting my information from (, I am sure you can find more updated sources and thoroughly authenticated information.

One of the reasons I ask is that in studying the history of philosophy, one gets the idea that philosophical and theological scholarship dies in Europe and the middle east circa 4th century AD (much in a similar way that you have debunked that Islamic scholaship dies with Al-Ghazali) and that Islamic scholars miraculously revive the greek tradition of scholarship and all of a sudden have this beautiful classical Arabic to write eloquent prose and poetry in.

I would really appreciate if you could close this gap in philosophy.

In reply to by Guest

Peter Adamson on 7 December 2014


Actually I did talk about this a bit, back in episodes 120 and 122, and exactly as you say presented the Syriac tradition as a crucial transition between late ancient (Greek) philosophy and the Islamic tradition. I actually thought about having a whole episode on it at the time but decided to include it in the story of the translation movement more generally.

Pedro José on 7 December 2014

Medieval music

Hi Peter, thanks for your excellent podcast! I wanted to ask you if have any plans to dedicate an episode to music in the Medieval West, as you did for the Islamic world. I'm thinking mainly of Gregorian chant, but there's also Ambrosian or Mozarabic, and also other non-religious musical traditions to consider. There's also stuff relating to specific people who I know you will be treating, like St. Hildegard of Bingen, who was a noted composer. It would be really interesting to hear your take on the intellectual background and context for the devlopment of music in the Middle Ages (and also, if you plan to make podcasts on music or the arts a feature of the podcast for future ages, too). Thanks!

In reply to by Pedro José

Peter Adamson on 8 December 2014

Medieval music

Yes, I was thinking about that and even have a few notes on what to read about that. Nut then I also thought perhaps I should do "side topics" I didn't cover in the Islamic series, like magic and sexuality for instance. So I haven't really made up my mind. Do other people want to hear an episode about this?

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Pedro José on 10 December 2014

Sounds very interesting. As

Sounds very interesting. As far as the arts are concerned, apart from music (which I would definitely love to see you take on), there's also medieval architecture. It's very good instance of philosophical/theological ideas, indeed, an entire worldview, being made physically present (a Henry Adams and Mont-Saint-Michel & Chartres kind of thing, but more up to date). Of course, there's a lot, so if I had to choose, I'd go for music.

In reply to by Pedro José

Peter Adamson on 11 December 2014

Music and art

I had actually been thinking I might do the double interview that comes up at episode 250 (!) on medieval art and philosophy, if I can get two good guests for that. So maybe I will do a scripted episode on music, or on aesthetics, plus that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Kevin on 10 December 2014

Great work!

I've just finished your series on the pre-socratics, and I have to say: great work! Your accessible style and sense of humor make the topic very easy to digest. Thanks again.

Steve Cartledge on 12 December 2014

counterfactual property

Have you discussed counterfactual property, in any of the podcasts and; if so, which ones? Happy that Arsenal & City moved on to the knockout phase of the Champions League in the New Year; so that they cannot focus all of their attention on the Premier League, but it may not matter by then. (U.S Chelsea Fan)

In reply to by Steve Cartledge

Peter Adamson on 15 December 2014


I think Chelsea is safe from Arsenal, in any case. Unfortunately.

Regarding counterfactuals there is actually an episode just coming up on Peter Damian which talks about whether God can change the past, and this gets into the question of whether things that don't/haven't happened remain possible. So that's at least very related. Later on we'll get into similar issues with Scotus. You might also check out the older episode on Stoic physics since I discuss their determinism there.

Ismail Kenessy on 15 December 2014

Communicating thx

Dear Professor Adamson,
I just wanted to thank you for the work you have done here putting these podcasts together. I discovered you 8 months ago and listen to your output again and again on evenings and during my commutes. I was working at the UN in Rome and had a long commute on the trains. I am back in the U.S. I hold no philosophy degree (BS in Accounting) but have found your podcasts in plain enough language for me to understand and enjoy...the jokes as well:).
At any rate, thanks for the content and knowledge.

Rachelle on 18 December 2014

Eastern Philosophy

I'm loving this podcast, and I greatly appreciate the clarity of presentation and the inclusion of a bibliography. I'm wondering if you will be including any eastern philosophy? Confucianism, Taoism, and the like?

In reply to by Rachelle

Peter Adamson on 19 December 2014

Eastern philosophy

There was a special announcement a while back (on the blog, in a brief clip on the RSS feed and at the beginning of an episode somewhere... maybe 189) that in 2015 I'll launch a spin-off series on classical Indian philosophy, written together with Jonardon Ganeri. I may do Chinese philosophy too; I would like to do so but I'll need another collaborator, I think, since I wouldn't feel competent to tackle it on my own.

morgan on 14 January 2015

I just wanted to comment that

I just wanted to comment that I love your podcast, The History of Philosophy without any gaffs. I enjoy the writing, the humour and the mix of guests. The only problem is that I have been listening at the rate of 2 per day, which makes me a little bit anxious about the future. Thanks again for The History of Philosophy without kneecaps.

Carmen on 14 January 2015

Thomas Aquinas on women

I really enjoy your podcast, thank you so much for your effort!

I have a quick query, and I hope you can help me. I'm a biologist involved in science popularization and I'm preparing a post about sex determination. I need to know if Thomas Aquinas really said that female was a "mas occasionatus", and I cannot wait until Aquinas episode, so I would appreciate if you could just confirm that.


In reply to by Carmen

Peter Adamson on 17 January 2015

Mas occasionatus

This is something I hadn't come across before. I am actually planning to do an episode in the future on gender in the middle ages, though. As for Aquinas I can't tell you off the top of my head but there is an apparently well-informed, and skeptical, discussion of the supposed quote here including textual references that could be followed up easily enough:…

Jason Burke Murphy on 14 January 2015

A picture of a Giraffe

Thanks for the podcast. I enjoyed your article and agree with you. I think academics underestimate how interesting they can be. Radiolab surprised everyone by treating scientists as interesting. That same sort of magic could boost philosophy.

I give a handout to all my students that lists podcasts and on-line lectures they should consider. I love the medium.

Anyway here's a picture of a Giraffe as seen by a pigeon.

Sanjiv Mehta on 15 January 2015

Asia Philosophy

Why is there no non-Western philosophy other than Islam on this blog? What about the philosophy that is derived from buddhist, hindu, jain, tao, etc. scholars?

In reply to by Sanjiv Mehta

Peter Adamson on 15 January 2015



If you just scroll down a bit you'll see another similar query. I will be tackling Indian philosophy starting later this year.


Aristotelis on 18 January 2015

Ancient Eastern Philosophy

Hi , Thanks for the great lecture series !
I was just wondering if you would do a new series on ancient eastern philosophy ( i.e., Zoroastrian , Taoist , Buddhist , Manichaeist , ... )

In reply to by Aristotelis

Peter Adamson on 18 January 2015

Ancient philosophies

Well, as I say just below I am tackling classical Indian later this year; Manicheanism and Gnosticism are already covered in the episodes on ancient Christianity, albeit mostly as opponents of the Christians and Platonists (but I think that's about right for a history of philosophy podcast). For Taoism we'll have to see whether I get on to Chinese thought after Indian, but I hope to do that.

JK Ellis on 19 January 2015


Hi Peter,

Recently I've begun reading with much relish Proclus' Commentary on the Parmenides. Not that I'm an expert, but it seems like in the past few decades there's been some significant effort to translate neoplatonic works into English--especially as of recent, what with Parmenides Publishing doing their series on Plotinus and the commentaries on Aristotle coming out. I'm curious, do you know if there's any interest in translating and publishing Proclus' essays on the Republic? Given the (relative) name recognition the Republic has, it seems like such a work would be an easier sell than, say, a commentary on the Elements.

In reply to by JK Ellis

Peter Adamson on 19 January 2015

Proclus on the Republic

Actually there has been a French translation for a long time already; but I believe that an English translation is underway, led by or at least involving Dirk Baltzly from U. Tasmania in Australia. Can't wait to see it!

Also there was a recent translation of just the essays on poetry. Here is a link:…

In reply to by Peter Adamson

JK Ellis on 23 January 2015

Oh, that sounds great. I

Oh, that sounds great. I imagine it'll be some years, but I look forward to it. Thanks again!

Matt on 25 January 2015

Concerning Transcription for Myself and Friends

I know that you've dealt with the general concern for the production of transcriptions to everyone, but I was wondering - would you mind if I personally transcribed these podcasts for myself and friends so that we can re-visit them via text as well as audio? I have a lot of trouble sometimes following along when it is audio, and it is quite unbearable for me to sit still and simply listen to a podcast. If I have the transcript in front of me, I become more involved and retain a lot more information that way. Thank you.

In reply to by Matt

Peter Adamson on 25 January 2015


Well, there's nothing to stop you from doing that but I don't think it would be a good use of your time, since the scripts (not interviews) are all appearing as books. The episodes on Classical Philosophy are already out as a book with Oxford University Press with more volumes to follow: the rest of ancient philosophy in a few months, then Islamic philosophy in 2016.

If you do make transcripts nonetheless please do keep them for private use, I wouldn't want a text version floating around on the net since it could undermine the book project. Thanks!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Matt on 25 January 2015

But I'm broke as a joke. :(

But I'm broke as a joke. :(
These things take about 2 hours to make per episode, so I can make one a day and be caught up before the end of the year. Then I can read them and retain more information.

Augusto Ribas on 31 January 2015

Congratulations on the podcast

Congratulations on the podcast. I really enjoy it. At least once on the week i try to listen to one episode.
Thank you for putting something like this at diposal of everyone.
Fist time i tried to read a plato book, it was a little boring, but now with all the discussion, and ideas do search on the books, the reading are more pleasant.
Well thank you again for putting together such a nice podcast.

Ahmad on 5 February 2015

Hey man please! Do a Podcast

Hey man please! Do a Podcast on Omar Khayyám
After all its HOPWithoutGaps
Plus Many Thanks For The Other Stuff
I'll be looking forward

In reply to by Ahmad

Peter Adamson on 7 February 2015

Omar Khayyam

Yeah, I kind of missed him didn't I? I actually heard an episode of "In Our Time" about him recently (on BBC Radio 4) and realized that may have been an oversight. I won't go back to the Islamic world at this point, but there would be the option of adding a chapter on him for the book version. However I suspect that that book may already be pushing the limits, length wise, so we'll have to see whether adding even more material is even an option. Anyway check out that In Our Time episode, it was good:

Blrp on 11 February 2015

Is there a way to subscribe

Is there a way to subscribe to the blog via RSS?

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Blrp on 12 February 2015

I mean the blog, as in the

I mean the blog, as in the place where you write posts with text in them.

Denziloe on 15 February 2015

Sources / recommended supplements?

Hi Peter,

I was wondering which histories you've found particularly useful for this series? And which histories you might recommend? I'm sampling a few at the moment before committing. I've tried Russell's, but found it far too discursive; Kenny's, which is decent but perhaps a little too cursory; and Copleston's, which is good, but perhaps a little too technical, and it annoyingly doesn't translate Greek or Latin passages.

Apologies as I'm sure you've covered this question before -- which brings me to a secondary question. Might you consider a bit of a rejig of the website? It's a bit weirdly organised and hard to navigate at the moment. You've probably answered questions like this before in the big comments page, so a permanent FAQ page might serve better? Maybe there is an FAQ page or a resources page, but I can't find it. The drop-down menus for the episodes are also something of a pain (and something of an internet anachronism...); not that I want to tell you how to organise your own site of course, but it might be better to have a static version; basing the site around a central static hub which links to a separate page for each section, each section then linking to a page for each episode? I say this mainly because the site is currently impossible (literally) to navigate on mobile devices, which generally can't handle dynamic elements.

In reply to by Denziloe

Peter Adamson on 15 February 2015


Hi, thanks for the feedback! First to the technical issue: I actually am not the website designer, it was put together and recently re-jigged actually by Julian Rimmer who will probably understand your suggestion better. But, speaking as a relative ignoramus about web design, isn't the current website basically also what you are suggesting? I mean, you don't have to use the drop-down menus: you can click on "Islamic World" which takes you to a page listing the sub-menus, and clicking on them takes you to a list of all episodes on the relevant topic. So it seems to me like each page is already effectively a central hub via the menu at the top, and the drop-down menus are an added functionality which I do think is good (for non-mobile devices they are quite practical because you can see everything at a glance). Maybe though you could point me towards another site organized the way you are thinking about, so I can see better what you mean?

As far as the other histories to be honest I usually steer clear of them, because I don't want to be overly influence by the way they have set things up and to be honest they aren't detailed enough for my purposes; I have made great use of other resources like the Cambridge Companions and Cambridge Histories from Cambridge UP; Oxford Handbooks to whatever, from OUP, and so on, especially as a way into a body of literature and to figure out what I need to cover. Of course the most important thing is always to look at primary texts. But aside from that caveat, I'd say that Russell's and Copleston's are very badly dated, and Russell is of course in a way too brilliant a philosopher to be a good historian (it's worth reading to see how Russell thinks, rather than what Plato or whoever thought).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Denziloe on 15 February 2015

Cheers for the reply,

Cheers for the reply,

I didn't actually realise they were URLs! So yes, the site already has the functionality I wanted. The main problem is with the mobile version (at least on my device), because the site displays a big vertical list of each section and subsection. If you click on a section, it does actually take you to the right page, but it's still beneath the big list, so it looks like nothing's happened. I'm sure this would be a trivial fix if you let Julian know.

Now I've found the section pages, I've also found the bibliographies! That's a shame about the histories... although you don't read them, I don't suppose you're aware of any which have a good reputation in the philosophy community? Perhaps there aren't any; when it comes to thorough histories, Copleston's seems to be the most recent out there. I guess you're filling the gap in the market, in that case! I'm mainly interested in the history of the modern period, so I wonder if instead you're able to give a rough "prior bibliography" of books you know you'll be referencing when you get to that point? Or is it way too early to tell?

Many thanks.

In reply to by Denziloe

Peter Adamson on 15 February 2015


I think that Copleston is generally regarded as a classic, albeit as I say rather outdated (just have a look at his minimal remarks on Islamic philosophy for instance). For modern philosophy I couldn't tell you much yet, but I would strongly recommend the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy which is free, online, and has ample bibliography on every page. Almost always a great place to start for any topic/figure.

bob on 15 February 2015

additional information for philosophers

what philosophers do you feel the 20-60 minute episode structure most constrained? which author would be most helped by reading a book on him instead of the short articles.

Plato and aristotle don't count.


ps your episode on al Farabi helped me. Thanks for that.

In reply to by bob

Peter Adamson on 15 February 2015


That's an interesting question. I guess I don't feel more constrained on any given episode than the others, because when I get to philosophers who need more coverage I just spread them across several episodes (albeit that it is hard to decide how many in some cases, especially if you start comparing; like should Ghazali get more/fewer than Averroes?). Generally speaking as far as reading goes, what I would most encourage is that people read the actual works of the philosopher, so I always try to list translations on the reading lists. My hope is that, having heard a podcast episode, you will have enough orientation to dive in (and in fact I also encourage my students to prioritize reading primary over secondary literature). But once you do turn to secondary literature I think the article-length studies are usually more relevant if you are interested in a particular theme. Like if you want to know only about Abelard's ethical theory, a great thing to read is Peter King's article (suggested on that page) but if you are interested in Abelard generally, then it's worth going through the Cambridge Companion to Abelard or Marenbon's book.

A.L.Duncan on 15 February 2015

The future pod casts?

will you continue on up into the prsent covering all the major philosophers after the middle ages? I would love to hear some stuff on guys like Decarte and Berkeley. 

In reply to by A.L.Duncan

Peter Adamson on 15 February 2015

The future

Well, that's the plan, or at least the plan is to keep going for the foreseeable future. Will take a me a while to get to those "early modern" figures though, I still have medieval to finish, then Byzantine and Renaissance - plus classical Indian thrown in there somewhere too!

Andrew on 16 February 2015

great podcasts

i'm a huge fan and i really admire your podcasts 
it will be nice though if you could upload notes or diagrams with each podcast  , so that  it will be easier to keep the main points in memory for longer time


In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 17 February 2015


Well, bear in mind the scripts will appear in due course as books (or already have, for vol.1 which goes up to Aristotle). So, you can have a complete version of them if you are patient! (Albeit that the books are somewhat rewritten and sometimes have added material.)

morgan on 10 March 2015

Buster Keaton

I'd like to point out to your listeners that a large number of Buster Keaton films/shorts/ads, including The General, are available for download at

I'm still very much enjoying the podcast.  And still trying to model my behaviour after Diogenes the Cynic, only more wolfish.  Probably would make a great short.

Joshua on 13 March 2015


Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for making all this great information freely available. It's great to be able to listen to such a systematic presentation of the history of philosophy :D.

I was wondering if you had given any thought to placing the content under a Creative Commons License; ideally, a CC-BY-SA?

Also, I'd like to second the request to see a more systematic treatment of the Syriac period (

The philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics is definitely explored in both Coptic and Syriac culture during a period when it's in decline in the Western Empire.

The so-called "Dark Ages" weren't so dark for the Eastern Empire, and unfortunately it's really hard to find any systematic treatment of philosophy in the Coptic or Syraic literature.

Thank you again for all your hard work!

In reply to by Joshua

Peter Adamson on 13 March 2015

Creative commons

Maybe you can explain to me what would be the additional value of the creative commons license? I mean, it's all free here on the website anyway. Of course the written version is not copyright free, it is appearing as books with Oxford University Press. Not sure if that's relevant.

Regarding Syriac I did discuss that some in episode 122, I guess you're saying that wasn't enough? I could perhaps touch on it again when I get to Byzantium.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Joshua on 17 March 2015

Hi Peter,

Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me.

Regarding Episode 122, you definitely clearly discuss the importance of the Syriac translation movement in making the classical knowledge available to the later Arabic speaking world, however we don't really get the same depth of coverage regarding the unique or interesting contributions to philosophy by the Syriac speaking community.

As you mention, it seems to be a truly important part of the history of philosophy but there's not a lot available to us from that time period.

At this time in history there are some heated philosophical discussions stemming from the Chalcedonian, Miaphysiate, and Nestorian Christologies with Severus of Antioch and Babai both leveraging classical logic in their disputations. If I recall correctly, one of the first uses of the writings of the Areopagite in disputation is by Severus.

There's also John of Damascus who uses logic to teach systematic theology and to refute Islam; though he may more properly belong to the Byzantine era.

In the earlier Greek speaking period, there is also Nemesius whose work in anthropology might be of interest.

I mention it mostly out of curiousity, I'm hoping you will work it in if you can, and if you can't, perhaps you can point me to some resources to investigate on my own? In any event, thank you again for all your hard work, I'm really enjoying the series.

As regards the Creative Commons License, I mention is mainly because I came across the series via Youtube where someone uploaded the content with an image of the person being discussed (Averroes in my case).

As it stands the usage rights are kind of ambiguous. For example, are the podcasts considered public domain, or simply free for personal consumption? 

Depending on your intent the person who posted the content to Youtube may not be using the content in a way you intended. Other people who may want to adapt or remix the content of the podcasts may be hesitant to do so, owing to this ambiguity.

 The Creative Commons has a range of licenses that would let you clarify your intent regarding the usage of the podcast content and would let people know what they could and couldn't do with it without undermining your rights. For example a CC-BY-ND-NC would indicate the content is available for non-commercial use, and derivative works are not allowed, while a CC0 license would effectively place it in the public domain. The middle road is generally the CC-BY-SA which is "Share it, adapt it, remix it, just be sure to give proper credit and license your content under the same permissive license."


Marco Maldonato on 16 March 2015

De altitudine pulchritudineque horum podcastorum

Or, "on the depth and beauty of these podcasts": just an honest, sincere "congratulations". I am an Art student, but I studied philosophy in high school and I intend to keep on studying it on a very serious level despite my different university path. And I am amused by how accurate, concise and compelling these podcasts are. Collecting informations and materials to study philosophy on a self-taught basis is quite hard, but here I feel at home. I must say, as a foreigner, I sometimes feel like the english approach to philosophy is somewhat biased and approximated, simplistic even; but your work, although being easily understandable, is yet precise and articulated, and I really enjoy listening to it. You are truly capable of giving a new yet complete perspective on philosophers. When I first discovered this, I immediately "tested" your way of explaining them by listening to podcasts about philosophers which I was familiar with; and I was quite happily impressed. I even discovered things I didn't know about them. And so the decision was made, the judgment confirmed: this has the makings of greatness.
A small note could be made on the musical intro which does not quite match with the delightful nature of the podcasts; I would suggest a better, more proper tune, something that could be a trademark, even. A recognisable mark. But that is just an accessory. As for the philosophers and how they are exposed, I must express my most honest gratitude and appreciation. I look forward to the next podcasts, and I am truly glad when I imagine myself growing through the years with this trustable companion in my ears, telling me all about those good ol' fellas thinking and thinking about life and men and everything in the world.
Many, many thanks, out of the heart. 
Marco Maldonato

In reply to by Marco Maldonato

Peter Adamson on 16 March 2015


Thanks very much for your kind comments! I'm glad you like the series so much. Just a quick remark about the music intro: it changes regularly because it is supposed to reflect the historical period I am covering. I think I'm on my sixth clip now. So you may like the others more than the one you have heard so far (if it is the one for the early episodes, then it is actually a clip showing how ancient Greek music may have sounded, played on a reconstructed double flute or aulos).

Robert Ward on 18 March 2015

Podcast recommendation

Thank you Peter for introducing me to Jamie Jeffers' British History Podcast. Listening to him, I am reminded of an iTunesU course, delivered in podcast format, that I have listened to called The Story of Psychology, by Todd Daniel. Since you mentioned how much you enjoyed Jamie's podcast I thought you might enjoy Professor Todd as well. Thanks again.


Andrew Gates on 18 March 2015


Hello Peter, 

I've been a long time listener and finally decided to show some love for the podcast on this page. Your attention to detail, while making complex systems of thought easy to understand to average listener is unmatched. It is because of this podcast that I started to delve deeper into texts outside of the "philosophy 101" canon. Keep up the good work, sir! 

By the way, that last interview episode with Sharyn, Jamie, and Robin was excellent! I always enjoy listening to the episodes where my favorite history podcasters get together to discuss various topics. 

In reply to by Andrew Gates

Peter Adamson on 19 March 2015


Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much! Glad you are enjoying the series. I liked this last interview too, it was fun getting to talk to them in person (well, over Skype to be honest).


Ed Prendergast on 20 March 2015


Speaking of ataraxia...

As I was writing a presecription for hydroxyzine for a patient I realised, thanks to your podcasts, that the medication's brand name, Atarax, was especially appropriate. We use Atarax to treat itching.

Do you think there was a philosopher in the Pfizer marketing department?

Fr. Johannes M… on 21 March 2015

Fr Edmund OCist over at

Fr Edmund OCist over at dropped a line about this podcast somewhere recently. Now, a week later, I've completed the first 33 episodes, all while driving. Thank you so much for this podcast. It is wonderful to reconnect with all those great texts. Content, humor and narration make me look forward to the next long drive. How good I'll have some big miles tomorrow. So onward to Aristotle it is for me :-)

Again, thank you for this offering.

In reply to by Fr. Johannes M…

Peter Adamson on 22 March 2015


Great! Glad you're enjoying it. Some listeners in the past have said they listen to it while going to sleep at night, which always makes me worry about the people who listen to it while driving.

Jose Manzo on 24 March 2015

Indian philosophy

Hello , it's good to find your page. I have seen the issues addressed, but I can not find anything about Eastern philosophy, preferably from India. Do you think post something about this subject? Greetings.

In reply to by Jose Manzo

Peter Adamson on 24 March 2015

Indian philosophy

I'm starting to tackle Indian philosophy later this year in a series of episodes written together with Jonardon Ganeri.

bob on 28 March 2015

mindless compliment

since i'm here i obviously love your podcasts. just dropping a line to let you know that i love your inclusion of primary and secondary sources with each podcast. only dipped into a few but it's incredibly useful for that next step. 


keep on being the gold standard of history podcasters (also is there anywhere other than the facebook history podcasters page that i'm missing?



bob on 28 March 2015

Advertise your interviews more

I see your a participant on a recent IOT on Al Ghazali yet i didn't see you advertise it here at all. can you post a thing on the blog at least to let us know when you're involved in these things. While it is self promotion it is useful.

In reply to by bob

Peter Adamson on 28 March 2015

IOT announcement

Oh of course, I should have done that! Thanks for reminding me. I post things on Twitter and Facebook a lot, and usually use the blog only when I have something more extensive to say but that was an oversight. Partially because we recorded that IOT episode 2 weeks in advance and then its actual publication snuck up on me a bit. Anyway thanks for listening! (And re. your other comment the main thing apart from this site and Facebook is just my Twitter feed: @histphilosophy. But if you aren't on Twitter don't worry, I put up links on FB and here... unless I forget!)

Basileus on 1 April 2015

Socratic Questioning

First of all, Peter, I think your podcasts are terrific. Highly entertaining, yet thought provoking, educational and inspirational. As a matter of fact, I decided to go for Socratic questioning when a random person in a pub started to talk to me about conspiracy theories. After 30 minutes the person got really annoyed with me, especially when I mentioned to him that intelligent people are always full of doubt, yet stupid people are always full of confidence. I had a great evening.

In reply to by Basileus

Peter Adamson on 1 April 2015

Socratic questioning

Fantastic! Glad you are using your philosophical powers for good and not evil.

Butch Bryant on 1 April 2015

Your next book


I have been an avid listener of your podcast since its inception and am currently reading your book, Classical Philosophy which I will most likely finish this week.  When will the next book in the series be released?  

Thank you,

In reply to by Butch Bryant

Peter Adamson on 1 April 2015

Next book

Thanks! It will be out this summer; a full schedule of the books is listed under FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Peter Jones on 3 April 2015

Lack of Progress in Philosophy

Hello Peter,

Glad to discover your blog and will be doing much reading.

Meanwhile, I caught the comment on Daily Nous about your interest in the lack of progress of philsophy. If you ever do get around to delving into this topic I would very much enjoy the chance to contribute my opinions. It is a hobby-horse of mine, the failure of western academic philosophy and its causes, and I do hope you pursue the issue. It's time somebody did so and I hope some healthy grants are available. With luck such a study should lead to progress. Anyway, just registering my interest.  



Kirk Fatool on 7 April 2015

Your influence on the Youth

Dear Peter,

My friend turned me onto HoP about a year ago and I'm almost caught up (currently at Episode 190). I love this podcast! I wanted to let you know that my daughter, who is currently a year old, and I have been listening to you on our commute. Any guesses at to what her favorite stuffed animal is? She loves here stuffed pink giraffe! I just wanted to let you know.

Also, in episode 188 or so, you mention a "spin off podcast" about the history of India and China. Is that still in the works?



In reply to by Kirk Fatool

Peter Adamson on 9 April 2015

Pink giraffes

Wow! She must be one of my youngest listeners. Hiawatha sends her greetings to the pink giraffe.

Yes, the India spin-off should start later this year (see the FAQ below for more details).

Carlos on 7 April 2015

RE: thanks

Mr. Adamson,

It's Carlos, from Spain, from Catalonia. I found recently your website and I'm happy for that, you explain easily this matter, it's good for any person, you are a great communicator. Congratulations and thanks.

Best wishes

yousef damra on 12 April 2015

the music used

I have been listening to the podcast recently, and I like both the podcast and music used. I would like to know the music used, so I can listen to it or at least similar music. I appreciate what you are doing and I thank you very much for offering such a great podcast.

In reply to by yousef damra

Peter Adamson on 12 April 2015


Thanks, glad you like it! The sources (with links) for the music are listed under "links" at the bottom of the page.

Thomas Mirus on 15 April 2015

Hey Peter - my brother just

Hey Peter - my brother just told me he went to grad school with you at Notre Dame (he says you were a few years ahead)! His name is Christopher Mirus.

In reply to by Thomas Mirus

Peter Adamson on 16 April 2015

Christopher Mirus

Yes, actually when I first saw you comment here I thought immediately of him but then saw it was the wrong first name. Tell him I say howdy next time you talk to him!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Thomas Mirus on 16 April 2015

Sure thing! He teaches at

Sure thing! He teaches at University of Dallas now, where he started a new minor in philosophy of science, and will be teaching in their Rome program for the next couple years.

Robert Smith MD on 22 April 2015

Your wonderful podcasts and book.

I fell in love with philosophy and humanities at university many years ago but could not devote much time  to them because of busy science then medical school then practice schedule. Now I'm nearing retirement and can read things for enjoyment rather than compulsory pressures. Devoured your book Classical Philosophy and am looking forward for the next installment and the next, etc. You have to write faster! 

In reply to by Robert Smith MD

Peter Adamson on 22 April 2015


Thanks very much! I'm writing as fast as I can, believe me. So glad you are enjoying the series, it sounds like you are exactly the sort of person I was hoping to produce it for. (Well, one of the sorts of person.)

Tom on 24 April 2015


Hi, was there no place for a piece about gnosticism in the section on later antiquity? I havn't actually listened to those podcasts yet so you may well cover it in the context of other thinkers/schools? I was under the impression that gnosticism was rather influential in its day?

In reply to by Tom

Peter Adamson on 25 April 2015


I do actually talk about them a lot in the late antiquity episodes, both as opponents of the Neoplatonists and as the object of critique from the ancient Christians.

Thomas on 29 April 2015

No Eastern Philosophy

A quick ctrl-f search of all your episodes shows you don't have anything mentioning "dao," "confucianism," "east," or "asia."  That is really disappointing for a site that suggests you cover philosophy WITHOUT ANY GAPS.  I wouldn't normally comment on such a thing, but since it seems to be a point of pride to you, I thought you should know you have a HUGE GAP.  A whole hemisphere, to be exact.

In reply to by Thomas

Peter Adamson on 30 April 2015


Hi - thanks for your comment. But have a look at the first point in the FAQ at the bottom of this page: as explained there I'll be starting in on Indian philosophy later this year and hope to tackle Chinese philosophy later. I have also announced this in various episodes of the podcast itself.

Connell Vaughan on 5 May 2015


Hi Peter,

Love the show, been listening since the begining. Wondering if you are planning on doing an episode on Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yaekob? I think it would be a great addition.

Keep up the good work!

In reply to by Connell Vaughan

Peter Adamson on 5 May 2015


Amazingly, you are the first (as far as I can remember) to ask about African philosophy, but I had given this some thought. As you may have seen I am planning a kind of spin-off (i.e. not in the same chronological narrative, and on a separate RSS feed) series on Indian philosophy which will launch later this year. And I had thought of doing Chinese philosophy later, maybe, and then a further obvious idea would be to cover other traditions including African philosophy. Which would be fantastically interesting, I would love to do it despite my total ignorance. So stay tuned - but if it happens it will not be for quite a while, I'm afraid, since Europe and India are going to give me plenty to worry about for the next couple of years I think.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Connell Vaughan on 27 May 2015

Thanks so much for your reply

Thanks so much for your reply. I am looking forward to the spin offs that you have planned. From the little that I know on Zera Yacob (as the name suggests) he was within a Christian tradition. It was for this reason that I thought that it could be an interesting gap to fill in the context of your curent project. Much in the same way that your empasis on the Islamic World has brilliantly disrupted the standard narrative of the history of Western philosophy. But perhaps you are correct in seeing him as part of a more African tradition or at the very least requiring a major diversion in the future. In any case, I will happily stay tuned. Keep up the good work. 

Johannes on 8 May 2015

Byzantine philosophy

Dear Peter Adamson,

as far as I can remember you talked about extending the podcast on Byzantine philosophy as well. When will this be the case? After the parts on European medieval philosophy and Indian philosophy? I'm following your podcast zealously and even had the opportunity to incorporate a podcast into my seminars. :)

In reply to by Johannes

Peter Adamson on 9 May 2015


Thanks very much! Yes, Byzantine (followed by Renaissance) is next up after Latin medieval. Should kick off in 2016 at some point I suppose. I plan to give it a fairly thorough treatment (of course), maybe a dozen episodes or so plus some interviews.

tathagata biswas on 12 May 2015

on the name of the project

Thank You very much for this laudable effort to bring history of western philosophy to such a large audience "without any gaps". It remedies the lacuna by including practice of philosophy in Islamic world. But the project also ingnite expectation of more accuracy in the very name of the project, it is history of WESTERN philosophy "without any gaps", but it does not take into account Indian, Chinese, Japanese, African philosophies from classical to modern(post-modern era!!) at all. citing name of Jonardon Ganeri to my mind positively suggest discussion on Indian philosophy. It did talk about India very briefly at the last episode on philosophy in Islamic world, but it is inadequate it didn't take into account innovation that took place in the interface with modern western, islamic and Hindu philosophies that Ganeri talked about in his book "The Lost Age of Reason"!!!

I hope in future we will see a thorough inclusion of these Other philosophies, otherwise it cannot shook off what Derrida called "white mythology". otherwise it will remain within Orientalist framework if not entirely.

In reply to by tathagata biswas

Peter Adamson on 13 May 2015

Non-Western philosophy

Thanks for your feedback. Please take a look at the first entry under FAQ at the bottom - with Jonardon Ganeri, I am launching a series of episodes on Indian philosophy later this year. (I've also announced this previously on the feed, and on Facebook and Twitter.) 

Justin Bonanno on 15 May 2015



I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your work. I'm blown away by the thoroughness of the podcasts themselves, and even the additional readings properly cited on each page! Kudos to you. Do you intend to work all the way up through postmodern philosophy? 


In reply to by Justin Bonanno

Peter Adamson on 15 May 2015

The future

Thanks very much! As for how long I'll keep going, see question 7 under the FAQ at the bottom of the page...

mert sahin on 18 May 2015

Said Nursi

Hello Peter, 

First of all I want to thank you for your invaluable work, I really enjoyed listening all your podcats and learned a lot. 

I am curious whether you know about Said Nursi who was born in modern Turkey during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and wrote extensively on philosophical issues (But I think in the Kalam tradition and I believe he could be considered as Asharite). His books deal with issues such as the existence of God, afterlife, freewill, and predestination. 

His books are widely read among Turkish speaking people for spritual guidance (available in English too), but as far as I know there is no work on his philisophy. As you know the madrasah tradition ended abruptly in Turkey with the founding of the modern state, so his works I believe are underappreciated. I think he is an outstanding scholar, and I am looking forward for sometime reading a philospher's take on his works. 

Anyways I just want to share this with you.

Thanks for everything



In reply to by mert sahin

Peter Adamson on 19 May 2015

Said Nursi

Oh yes, I have heard the name but didn't think of looking into his works to include him in the Islamic world episodes. I will see whether I can fit him into the book version, at least briefly. Thanks for the suggestion.

Pedro José on 19 May 2015

School of Salamanca and Second Scholastic

Hi Peter,

I know you're still quite a bit away from the 16th century Renaissance, and that you probably get a lot of questions on "ill you cover this or that?", but I thought I'd give you the idea ahead of time so, if you think it's worth it, you can include it in your plans. My question is if you were planning to cover the School of Salamanca when you get there. I'm speaking of people like Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, Martín de Azpilcueta, Bartolomé de Las Casas, etc., and also including Francisco Suárez, Luis de Molina, St. Robert Bellarmine, and others. Together they make up a "second Scholastic" whcih formed tha backdrop to much of the 17th century's critics of Schlastic philosophy, like Descartes and Hobbes, but they also had a tremendous influence on them (for example, the clear import of Suárez's concept of right on Locke).

This also brings me to ask if you plan to cover some of the more important Thomist commentators, against whom several nominalists, Humanists, and rationalists wrote, people like Cardinal Cejatan and John of St. Thomas.

I hope you do!


In reply to by Pedro José

Peter Adamson on 19 May 2015


Thanks, those are great suggestions and in fact this is what I was planning in any case. In fact, I thought I would approach the Renaissance by breaking up the material geographically, partially to emphasize the importance of the Iberian Penninsula (again, after the episodes on Islamic Andalusia!). I was thinking Italy, then Iberia, then Protestant countries. But that's still just a gleam in my eye.

And I would certainly also cover the Thomists, especially Cajetan.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Garry Soronio on 24 May 2016

Salamanca--and Avila

f philosophy without gaps rocks all throughout California! I love history of philosophy, among others as a philosophy and history double major here in UCLA and I always look forward to your podcasts... I'm ecstatic when you made the tentative plan of covering geographically the Silver Age of Scholasticism. You mentioned including Cajetan in Italy; Suarez, Vitoria, Molina in Iberia; then the Northerners and Low Countries. I hope that when you cover Iberia, you'll include Teresa de Avila and John of the Cross, together with the Scholastics. They have also been Spain's great luminaries.. I hope you'll cover them esp. Teresa, the first woman to be declared doctor of the Church. Thank you Dr. Adamson!

In reply to by Garry Soronio

Peter Adamson on 25 May 2016

Silver Age

Thanks very much! Yes, I'd imagine I will cover all those people - especilaly Teresa since as you know I go out of my way to include female thinkers whenever possible.

David on 8 June 2015

Heresy of the Free Spirit

Hey Peter,

First of all, thanks for the great podcast. It's been especially wonderful for someone like me who's been using it to fill in the "gaps" from my own undergrad in philosophy - particularly the whole era from late antiquity through to the modern!

I haven't caught all the way up yet, so maybe you've mentioned it somewhere, but I was wondering if you would be covering the various heretical movements, especially the so-called Heresy of the Free Spirit. I assume that Meister Eckhart's on your list, but I'm a bit more interested in some of the more marginal figures, like Marguerite Porete in particular. I never see her get any mention in the literature, and when she does crop up, it tends to only be on feminist reading courses, rather than as a topic of genuine theological or philosophical interest (not to diminish any interst she might hold for feminist readings). In fact, I only learned of Porete and the Sister Catherine Treatise from reading Raoul Vanageim.

Not only that, but after reading Eco's "The Name of the Rose" it really sparked my interest in the various other heretical movements that may have existed. Arguments over such things as whether Christ ever laughed in the Bible, and whether humor is therefore justified or not... I can't decide if it's silly or an actually incredibly interesting topic! The theological and religious disputes of the medieval ages clearly went far beyond anything I was exposed to in undergrad.

May I ask if you've sketched out plans to tackle such subjects?

Thanks again,

In reply to by David

Peter Adamson on 9 June 2015

Marguerite Porete

Thanks for your message! Yes, there will be an episode coming up (not yet written but it will appear in early August I think), where I talk about the three "Beguine mystics" namely Hadewijch, Mechtild of Magdeburg, and Marguerite Porete. Later I will also talk about attitudes towards various heresies (like the Cathars) when I get to the condemnations of Paris in the 1270's.

Alexander on 13 June 2015

German Idealism, Schelling and Romanticism

Since this is a History of Philosophy without any gaps I'm assuming you are going to cover Schelling when you reach early 19th German Philosophy but I would also appreciate if you also included the German Romantics (Goethe, Novalis, Schiller, Hölderin etc) in one episode as well for they had a noteworthy influence not only on Schelling but Hegel and Schopenhauer that cannot be ignored. Also a passing mention of Jakob Böhme's undercurrent influence on this period would be nice as well.

Also Western Philosophy>Eastern Philosophy.

Excellent podcast.

In reply to by Alexander

Peter Adamson on 14 June 2015

German romantics

Hi - that's all a ways off of course but I can't imagine skipping any of them when I get there. As it happens I'm particularly interested in that part of 19th century thought anyway, plus I live in Germany! So I should also be able to get some good interview guests.

Thanks for listening!

Otter Bob on 21 June 2015

This Just Has To Stop (Not)

     Here I am, bearing down hard to understand a podcast and you slip in one of these hilarious off-hand remarks, e.g., Germans throwing potato dumplings, the possible origin of juicing a baseball, the peasant that lost the plot or the funky idea that soul is a ham hock in your cornflakes. Maybe I have been hanging around you risible animals too long, but I'm convulsing with laughter, nearly falling off my log and completely loosing my train of thought. I have to hit the pause button and take a coffee break (Organic French Roast) just to compose myself, let alone begin to think again. It seems to be getting worse with each podcast. Well, I really like my coffee, so please keep hamming it up and juicing the podcasts. (couldn't resist)


Phillip on 25 July 2015


Hello Peter

I just wanted to thank you for this amazing work. I'm also very intrigued on how do you manage your time in your daily living. Maybe I'm kind of a lazy human being, but I find amazing that you can deliver with such order so many different episodes of a wide range of topics, with all the preparation it seems to require, and I imagine also work as a teacher... Maybe you have some advices for those like me who find difficult to manage our time properly.

Anyway, thank you very much.

In reply to by Phillip

Peter Adamson on 25 July 2015

Time management

Thanks very much! I guess the answer to your question is that I basically see the podcast as my hobby, or at least not as part of my day job, so I don't mind working on it in my free time, so to speak. And as you may have noticed I really like philosophy and it is such a good excuse to learn about the topic that I am always excited to go on to the next topic and read about it. And of course if all else fails, the weekly schedule is like a gun I'm holding to my own head...

sica on 22 August 2015

Musical intro

Hello, Peter! Congratulations for the great work!


I would like to know what is the music played in the greek flute. What is the recording?


Thank you!

In reply to by sica

Peter Adamson on 23 August 2015

Intro music

Thanks! There are links to all the introductory music clips on the Links page (see the bottom of this page or here).

Scott Sevier on 26 August 2015

Renaissance phil


Will you be covering Ficino? I'd love to hear a podcast on Ficino's platonism and platonic commentaries.

In reply to by Scott Sevier

Peter Adamson on 27 August 2015


Oh absolutely. The plan is to move on to Byzantine philosophy after Latin medieval, followed by Renaissance. So (especially given that alternate weeks will be devoted to Indian philosophy for at least a year) it will be a while, but I will most definitely cover Ficino in some depth.

Raphael Pallais on 30 August 2015

Modern Teleology

Dear Mr. Adamson,


As an avid listener, I am grateful for the all-inclusive effort.  In the age of specialized specialism, appreciation of the totality of anything is a breath of fresh, radical air.

I understand it might be way off in the future, but have you heard of Modern Teleology, a (mostly) French theoretical and perfectly anonymous undertaking comprising a thorough critique of all dominant currents (trends) of thought up to the first half of the XXth Century and attempting an entirely original re-thinking of all major philosophical concepts  --indeed, of philosphy itself-- from concept to end (both end and finality), to reality and everything in between?

Just curious if this has ever come to your keen attention.




In reply to by Raphael Pallais

Peter Adamson on 31 August 2015

Modern teleology

Hi, and glad that you like the podcast! I have to admit Modern Theology is new to me (though that isn't too surprising since contemporary French thought isn't really my area). Is it inspired by Aristotelianism?

asmaa on 2 September 2015

on avicenna

what do you think about the concern of avicenna when he states metaphisical distinction between existene and essence?i mean  this distinction is logical when aristotel talk about it but avicenna speak of metaphisical distinction ant enter it to world and tell every thing has two aspects: one  its existence and another  its essence or quiddity



In reply to by asmaa

Peter Adamson on 3 September 2015


Hi there - Well, I talk a lot about this in the podcast, in episodes 139 and 177 including this question of whether it is a merely conceptual or metaphysical distinction. So maybe you should check out those episodes?

In reply to by asmaa

Stephen Grossman on 19 April 2016

Existence And Essence

There are no metaphysical gaps in existence as a whole, however stated. As Parmenides knew, "Neither is there more Being here nor less Being there, but it is all together." Hegel knew this, for a moment, but then dialectically waltzed away. "...the ground, besides being the unity, is also the difference of identity and  difference." As Rand knew, "Existence is identity."

Charles on 9 September 2015

Your sponsor


Love the podcast.  I'm at #67 and am looking forward to hearing them all.

At the beginning of each episode you name the sponsor, but the name is unfamiliar so I don't know what I'm hearing.  Can you name them on your website somewhere?


In reply to by Charles

Peter Adamson on 11 September 2015


I think you mean the Leverhulme Trust? I had sponsorship for them for the first couple of years.

khju on 21 September 2015

20th Century Continental Phil

Any guess on the timetable for 20th Century Continental Philosophy? Particularly the poststructuralists. It's the bit I'm most looking forward too :)

In reply to by khju

Peter Adamson on 22 September 2015

20th c Continental

Oh dear, I'm afraid you'll have to be very, very patient because I am going chronologically and (as you may have noticed) not all that quickly. Assuming I carry on up to the 20th century it will be years until I get there! But I would enjoy covering that, I think; would certainly stretch my phlosophical competence and interests since I am more of an analytic philosophy style historian.

Sumana Harihareswara on 22 September 2015

Looking forward to history of Indian philosophy

Thank you for starting the history of Indian philosophy podcast! I have subscribed and am starting to listen. I especially look forward to understanding how Indian philosophy has addressed issues of caste and gender.

Josh on 23 September 2015

Pre-Pre-Socratic Mediterranean Philosophy

I love the podcast! It must take a lot of work; thanks for doing it :)

A question for the 250th episode:

A couple people have mentioned to me in passing that there was ancient Egyptian and Jewish philosophy which predated Thales, but I've never seen a book that discusses this topic or heard of a class that covers it. Do we have enough information about these very ancient philosophers to say anything much about them at all? Being an expert on filling gaps, maybe you know of some nice books or papers on the topic that I could read?


In reply to by Josh

Peter Adamson on 23 September 2015


Great question, thanks. I'll add that to the list. Quick answer so you don't have to wait for so long: you may want to check out the Egyptian History Podcast, which has among other things discussed ethical writings that I would classify as philosophical.

Christine on 27 September 2015

downloading podcasts

Is there a means to download the podcasts, a friend wishes to listen to them while they drive in their car.

Michel de Silva on 24 October 2015

250th episode question

Hello Peter,
Nice work. Loved the podcast. Twice and soon a third time. Can't wait to sink my ears into the indian and the african history of philosophy.

I keep feeling there is a ressemblance the dichotomy of platonic Forms and the material world on one side and the avicennan dichotomy of Essence and Existence. And I keep wishing I could find someone who explicitly distinguishes the notion of Forms from Essence and the notion of the material world from Existence.

Do you think you could answer this question in your 250th episode or simply give some pointers and reminders towards an author or authors who do see the ressemblance and distinguish one from the other

In reply to by Michel de Silva

Peter Adamson on 24 October 2015

forms and essence

Thanks - I'll put this on the list of questions to tackle!

François Toutée on 14 November 2015

Plato and giraffes

Hello, reading through a book on animal ethics, during the historical section I came upon a remarkable passage. While stressing that for many ancient thinkers the differences between animals and man were a matter of degrees, the author mentioned that for Plato, the intelligence of a being was indicated by the distance between the ground and it's head. I was extremely excited, as that would de facto promote the giraffe to the title of the most intelligent being. So in your knowledge is there any truth in that? :)

Thank you!

In reply to by François Toutée

Peter Adamson on 15 November 2015

Plato on giraffes

Yes, fantastic point! Actually the passage I guess you're thinking of is Timaeus 69 and here he doesn't quite say that but does say that the divine part of the soul (reason) should be as far from the mortal soul (in the midriff) as possible. Hence it gets put in the head - and of course giraffes' heads are _much_ further from their midriffs than ours. So there you go.

On the other hand they have four stomachs, so perhaps the long neck only makes up for that.

Henrique Moraes on 21 November 2015

Just love it! Would like to support

Dear Peter,

I've been hearing the podcast for about a year now. I'm currently around episode 103 and just loving it. I'm an engineer from Brazil who's very interested on philosophy at an amateur / non-academic level, and I find your podcast THE best around. I also follow others like: Philosophy Bites and The Partially Examined Life (pretty good!), each one has it's own focus, purpose and format, but the HOPWAG is indeed the most instructive and didactic one.
I'd like to see this work going on up to the contemporary philosophers of mind like Daniel Dennett et all. It would be a hell of a journey! Is there any way people can support your project? Do you plan to go all the way to 21th Century?

Well, what you've already accomplished is amazing and I'm grateful for having the opportunity to follow.
Congratulations and don't lose the steam!


In reply to by Henrique Moraes

Peter Adamson on 21 November 2015


Thanks, I'm glad you like the series! If you want to check out yet another philosophy podcast there is also "Elucidations" which is a bit more advanced. As far as supporting this project goes, thanks very much but really your encouragement is enough - you could, if you want, add a positive comment on the iTunes feed which always helps.

Jeremy on 27 February 2016

Have your own views changed?

Hi Peter, I'm a longtime listener and admirer of your podcast. What has most impressed me is when you have some back-and-forth with interviewees, and we get glimpses of your own views of what might be hidden weaknesses or problems in this or that view. What I would love to know is how, if at all, your own views have changed in the process of working through all of this material. (Maybe it's on the blog, which I haven't read.) It'd be really interesting to hear whether any of the arguments you've had to study to present them have changed your own positions--on metaphysics, ethics, phil. of relig. questions, or whatever. In a similar vein, it'd be fun to hear which philosophers have most impressed or surprised you. Who would make your top 10 for clever insights, or for durability of their contributions, etc. Or are there any who have most surprised you--who turned out on closer inspection to be different from the "textbook" version of them? A 20-minute segment where you summed up how this work has shaped you would be really fun. Keep up the good work!

In reply to by Jeremy

Peter Adamson on 28 February 2016

Changing views

Thanks, that's a very interesting question! Unfortunately it is too late for me to add a bit in episode 250 (a Q&A episode) on this, but just quickly, my basic answer would be that my views on philosophical issues as such have not changed a lot. But my views about the history of philosophy have changed greatly - I just have a much better sense of how little of it is actually included, usually, and how much interesting material there is in authors I previously didn't know about. Aside from the obvious area of Indian philosophy, which was unknown to me until we started tackling it in the podcast, I think the biggest surprises to me have been the Patristic authors (late ancient Christians) and later Islamic philosophy aside from Mulla Sadra, who I did know about. Both of these underappreciated periods have far more philosophically fascinating material than I at first expected. I think in both cases I was expecting to devote, say, 5 episodes to material that in the end became 15 or 20. Also I have gotten rather interested in the whole question of female thinkers, and which ones are overlooked or underappreciated - which connects to the question of mysticism's relation to philosophy since some but not all women thinkers (e.g. Rabia, Hildegard) are considered mystics as well as - or by some, instead of - philosophers.

Robert on 18 March 2016

More Sophistry, Please

How about some attention to Protagoras, Democritus, and Gorgias, and the tension between their epistemic stance, vs. Plato's idealism?

In reply to by Robert

Peter Adamson on 18 March 2016

I actually covered that

I actually covered that pretty extensively didn't I? In the Sophists episode (number 14) and then throughout the episodes on Plato.

Xaratustrah on 12 April 2016

Hey Peter,

Hey Peter,

I am a long time listener now and was thinking it would be time to say thanks for the great podcast series. I sometimes imagine that we HoPWAG fans sit around you in a garden and you explain and we listen, all wearing chlamys, yours in black. Then I get lost into the details of the garden: it should be early summer time with the Sun high in the sky, the fresh breeze, fruits hanging from the trees, distant sound of a market musician playing a lyre, the paved paths in the garden, not stone or mosaic, but solid marble (no gaps), and the sign on the entrance that says:

“Μηδείς αντίκαμηλοπάρδαλη είσίτω μον τήν στέγην.”

then I realise that I need to rewind the several minutes of the pod cast that have passed without me paying attention. Maybe the quality of recordings is too good, you need to introduce some additive white noise for more attention! :-)

Thanks again and looking forward to more episodes…


In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 12 April 2016

Garden of delights

That sounds good to me! You would have made a great Epicurean.

Thanks for getting in touch!

geert van eynde on 29 April 2016

Thank you

Thank you for your way of sharing thoughts.

I'm looking forward to your spotlights on Levinas. Someday.

However, even 'gaps' (Tao Te Ching #11) have their value, so of course I wouldn't even hold your main goal against you. :)

Kind regards,

andrea kring on 30 April 2016

thank you

i need this in my life. your work is a benefit to us all.  thank you for providing this extensive and satisfying podcast. 

Lonnie Gentry on 12 May 2016

Another thank you!

Peter, thanks so much for this podcast! I'm on #208 (started with #1) and I'm now thoroughly enjoying the trip through medieval philosophy. I'm especially grateful for the balanced and fair way you present the faiths that are part of the history of philosophy. I have a background in Christian theology and have developed a passion for philosophy later in life, so I'm playing catch up. This podcast is perfect for that. Keep up the good work! Lonnie 

In reply to by Lonnie Gentry

Peter Adamson on 12 May 2016


Great, I'm glad you are enjoying the series! Some listeners are not so enthusiastic about all the details about the religious traditions, so it's nice to hear from listeners who do find this aspect interesting (for myself, I think that like it or not taking religion seriously is just unavoidable if you really want to get deeply into the history of philosophy for almost all periods).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Adam Smith on 13 May 2016


I think one of the best things about studying philosophy from different cultures (and let's be real, medieval Europe is a different culture too) is that you get down to that nitty-gritty detail tha you never get in school.  Studying religion through philosophy gives both subjects a context that makes them much more meaningful than looking at them in a vacuum, and following doctrine to its logical (or a possible logical) conclusion helps us understand why certain religions take the actions or make the stands that they do.  Don't shy away from doing more about religion when it's relevant to the discussion, please!

Adam Smith on 13 May 2016

Add the podcasts to Google Play!

Hey Peter, thanks so much for all the work you put into the podcasts, I look forward to every episode. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but it makes my day brighter getting to learn from you.

I wanted to let you know, if you didn't already, that Google Play Music now has a podcast aggregation functionality. That means that every Android phone out there (which is something like 80% of the smartphone market worldwide) finally has a native podcast app! I have been able to find all my technology and history podcasts, but your work was noticeably absent from my searches. Might be worth looking into, that's a huge audience!

Best wishes,
~ Adam

In reply to by Adam Smith

Peter Adamson on 14 May 2016

Google Play

Oh, thanks for the tip! This is my problem as a podcaster, I don't really know much about the technical side of things and what people are actually using to access podcasts! I'll look into it.

Glen Perry on 18 June 2016

The Digital Garden

Hello to the HoP crew. Thanks for all the hard work you put into the show. Me and my giraffe just can't get enough of it. There's nothing that we love more than kicking back with a few almond croissants, putting on our Buster Keaton costumes, and bumping this sh**.