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Alan D Bent 19 February 2022

I am hoping that you will spend some time on Spinoza soon.

Peter Adamson 19 February 2022

In reply to by Alan D Bent

Spinoza will certainly get multiple episodes including an interview, but you'll have to be patient: my plan is to cover the Reformation era around Europe, and then Spinoza will be part of a series of episodes on 17-18th century France and the Netherlands. So, maybe in 2024?

Roy G Albin 16 March 2022

My recollection is that 1 of the Islamic philosophers  Believes that God-created the universe  And it and everything it can continues to exist simply because God continues to will it.  Should GodCease to willSomething or someone's existenceIt would cease to exist instantly.

 I thought it was  Al razi But I  Re listened to that episode and I see that he was the one who believed in the 5 Eternal substances...


No is a great answer but do you happen to recall Who might have Held that unique theory I would love to be reminded.

That's a tricky question because the position you're describing was held by so many figures; basically anyone who allows for a "voluntarist" God who creates by arbitrary will rather than necessity. It would fit al-Kindi for instance and I wonder if you are thinking of this passage in the podcast on him:

"Al-Kindī, by contrast, wrote a little treatise defending Aristotle’s conception of the heavens as being made from a unique, indestructible material. This at first seems inexplicable, until we get to a little caveat towards the end of that treatise. Indeed, al-Kindī says, the heavenly spheres are indestructible. So they will exist forever… so long as God wants them to. Here he’s changed the rules, by implying that even a body whose nature is not subject to destruction will vanish if God stops making it exist. This is perhaps why al-Kindī thinks the universe’s eternity is a matter for metaphysical theology, and not physics. It is not the nature of the universe that determines how long it exists, but the will of God."

So that's my guess as to what you're thinking but it would apply to other thinkers too like al-Ghazali for example; it's far from "unique."

That was a mistake! I put up 395 ahead of time, the sound file is ready but it is not supposed to publish until May 8. It will reappear then, thanks for letting me know.

Simeon 20 March 2022

Just interested when episodes on Frantz Fanon will appear, and if you will be covering Angela Davis and Kimberlé Crenshaw. 

Peter Adamson 20 March 2022

In reply to by Simeon

We'll get to Fanon this summer! Three episodes will be devoted to him, which will run on either side of the summer break: these will be episodes 105-7, with the last of these an interview with Lewis Gordon (we already did it, and it's great!).

And yes we have an episode on Angela Davis planned (#125 or so) and one on Critical Race Theory that will include Crenshaw (#130 or so).

These numbers are obviously subject to change as we add/subtract topics and shift things around but they should be approximately right.

Jon 11 May 2022

Thanks for this ambitious podcast series.  I just noticed that the Reformation series is skipped in the "All Episodes" tab.  You may want to add it!

Hi - thanks but I think it is there. If you scrolled all the way down to the bottom you'd miss it because the Indian and Africana series follow it.

Andrew Maclaren 11 June 2022

Hi Peter, just a random thing that popped in my head.

You should find ways to take advantage of the fact that this is a audio medium. You have to some level, like the music video in the islamic world, and that random law and order clip I can't remember which episode it is from, but it has been extraneous to the philosophy so far. To be fair, I don't really know how you could for some of the philosophy you are currently doing but one example in my head would be when explaining the Phenomenological tradition (if you ever get there). I think leverging the medium can help get across (especially Phenomenology) the philosophy in a way that the philosophy isn't usually presented, since most philosophy people encounter is via books.

Just a random thought.

Yes, that is an excellent point. Actually a wonderful example of what you're thinking about is this episode of the brilliant podcast Hi-Phi Nation. I love the series as a whole and this is one of my favorite episodes.

Andrew Maclaren 11 June 2022

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Maybe you could do something with Frantz Fanon? I don't know too much about him, just that he is related to existentialism, which is somewhat related to phenomenology (I know, very airtight right?) and psychoanalysis, which may be more amenable to my suggestion although not as much as phenomenology (don't really know psychoanalysis either).

Will have a listen to that episode. Thanks!

Andrew Maclaren 18 June 2022

Hey Peter,

I was wondering how far you are going to take your expansive view on philosophy, especially as you get to modern times? So far, most of what you done hasn't attracted controversy as far as I know, outside of maybe the eastern traditions in the islamic world with the whole Persian thing with the Iranian revolution maybe. But I was thinking, if you are going to tackle Marx eventually, what to say for an episode on Lenin or Mao? For Mao, he would be important for Alain Badiou, and there were philosophers in the soviet union ( How willing would you be to tackle these, despite the definite controversy they would attract? Or what about Nazi philosophers? I am mainly thinking of Carl Schmitt, but there are probably other examples. I am sure there is something to find in Gaddafi as well.

I am putting this more so as a interest in how far the boundries for "without any gaps" is going to go, but also there is (potentially perverse, depending on your perspective) curiosity of you actually covering these people, despite the controvery. I feel the need to say this before I get weird eyes from people.

Oh yes I would obviously need to cover Marx; I think you can't even do the rest of political philosophy without having covered him. And certainly would do Schmitt too - actually here in Germany he is a pretty standard figure to cover in courses on the history of political philosophy, interestingly enough.

I have occasionally entertained the idea of a mini-series at some point on Russian philosophy and Lenin could certainly go there.

Anyway I agree covering figures who were also responsible for many deaths, like Mao and Lenin, is tricky but they need to be understood both as emerging from the history of philosophy and as influencing it, so I wouldn't shy away.

Dave of Sarasota 25 June 2022


Enormously educational and entertaining series - have enjoyed every episode and have almost caught up to the current releases. I have also been using the ebook versions for the full text search and hyperlinked index features. Here, there seems to be a “gap” - the Kindle version of volume 2 is not available, will it be released at some point?

Peter Adamson 25 June 2022

In reply to by Dave of Sarasota

Yes this has been pointed out before to me - I flagged the issue for OUP on Twitter but maybe stronger measures are required! I will look into it, thanks. PS I think maybe it is available in some regions (UK?) on Kindle but not others (USA?). I don't use Kindle myself so this is a bit of a mystery to me.

Fr. John Rickert 28 June 2022


Greetings --  Have been enjoying the podcast immensely and learning a lot.  I especially enjoy the puns and wordplay!  I just delved into this website today -- have been aware of it but not really looked into it.  Is there a Search capability?  That would be very helpful.  

Thanks for all the outstanding work.

Best wishes.

I have a search function but I think it is restricted to me as a user (i.e. comes with editorial control over the website). But I don't use it much myself... between the menus and the linked list of "themes" (see the bottom of the page) it should be pretty navigable. What would you be searching for, like, keywords in comments maybe?

Alexander Johnson 16 July 2022

I noticed the focus early on for ethics was built around ethics as the study of the best way to live one's life.  But now, the general case is taken to be what is acceptable in society.  When and why did this transition take place?  

Peter Adamson 16 July 2022

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

That's a long story but I guess the short version would be the rise of utilitarianism, which is the ethical theory that has come to dominate public policy thinking. So, 18th or 19th century, I'd say.

xaratustrah 16 July 2022

Hi Peter, just wondering, is Franz Xaver missing from the timeline?

Peter Adamson 17 July 2022

In reply to by xaratustrah

Oh yes, I guess I will discuss him when I talk about the Jesuits. I add names to the timeline as I go along, probably there are a number of people missing from the Iberian Counter-reformation.

Warren Wagner 14 September 2022

I've immensely enjoyed your podcast and just received Classical Philosophy.  Thank you sincerely for your work and attention to detail.  Your clever presentation makes me wish I could actually meet your sister.  I'm sure she'd have tales to tell. 

Kai Gerbi 28 November 2022

Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for this podcast! I have enjoyed it immensely so far! I joined relatively recently and am not yet up-to-date but I have just reached the end of your coverage of the Italian Renaissance (Episode 370). Where I’m up to you’ve been discussing Galileo and I’m wondering if there will be any coverage of the developments in music and aesthetics soon. Particularly I think Gioseffo Zarlino’s first book of Le institutioni (recently translated by Lucille Corwin) might be of interest as he explicitly uses ideas of form and matter in his conception of music. Zarlino was involved in the church and worked at st marks in Venice. He also studied philosophy and logic under Ligname as well as Greek and son Hebrew. He is a fascinating figure in the history of music and a wonderful blend of music theory and philosophy. His work was based upon antique readings as well as the humanist writings of H Glareanus. Also he was an influential teacher and Vincenzo Galilei was a student of his, who also made important contributions. Anyway, I’m getting a little carried away but I just wanted to put a good word in for some excellent musical philosophers and philosophers who wrote of music (Descartes comes to mind). Alright, thank you so much for the wonderful work you are doing!



Thanks for the suggestion! I am actually coming back to the Italian Renaissance as part of the Counter-Reformation but I am not sure whether this would fit in there, I will think about it. In general we have done some stuff on music in the past, like episode 133 in the Islamic World series; actually in the Africana series there are some episodes coming up where we talk about Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Sun Ra, etc.

Alexander Johnson 6 December 2022

In reply to by Peter Adamson

If you can't fit them in for Reformation, you could still get them in under the series on the 1600's, as the most famous works to be influenced by said writings were operas from the 1600's, so would we well appropriate to have them lead off a wider musical aesthetic episode during that series.

Peter Adamson 6 December 2022

In reply to by Alexander Johnson

Oh that's a nice idea - I think I like that better actually, because I had been thinking about a special episode towards the end of the Reformation series about visual art, so I could save music for the later series. Thanks!

Andrew Maclaren 28 November 2022

Hey Peter. I have recently found out myself about a group called the Brixton Black Women's Group, and they seem really fascinating, being that some of the founding members were previously active in the British Black Panthers. After reading a pdf of one of their works, I really want to learn some more about them. Do you plan to cover them? I'm guessing that if you are, it would be just a mention in the Black Feminism episode though.

Andrew Maclaren 29 November 2022

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Ooh this is exciting! Hope you cover them!

Kevin Street 16 December 2022

Hi there! I recently discovered your podcast on Spotify and I love it! I'm only up to Episode #38 so far, but it's been really fascinating and I'm so glad to see you're still doing it. Thank you for all the philosophy!

Peter Adamson 16 December 2022

In reply to by Kevin Street

Great, glad you are enjoying it! You have a long way to go before you catch up with me...

Lowell 18 December 2022


Good evening - long time listener to your series here, and have enjoyed it immensely. I tend to drop in on specific episodes, and often revisit those that delve specifically into areas of interest of mine. There is of course so much to consume. I certainly applaud the time, and detail that you take to this process. 

My question concerns the meeting point of Jurisprudence and theology with that of philosophy proper, specifically within the Arabic and Islamic traditions. I should mention that I am a student in history more so than philosophy - but the two topics have many fascinating points of overlap. In any case, I have long been fascinated by the divergent ways in which the major figures of Christian theological history have been treated philosophically - be it Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Scotus and so forth - as opposed to those within the Islamic sphere. For instance, within the Islamic intellectual sphere Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, Al-Shari’s, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal assume a position of greater reverence over most anyone, the prophet aside. Yet scant mention is made of any of these figures within most overviews of Islamic philosophy. Later predominant theologians, such as Al-Ghazali, Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi and others to warrant more consideration. I suppose I am this curious as to whether these four Imams, and originators of jurisprudence in Islam, indeed have any connection to philosophy, or whether their efforts were somewhat aside. I have tried, without success, to determine for instance, was Malik ibn Ana’s familiar with Aristotle - or centuries later did Al-Farabi or Ibn Sina draw any knowledge forth from Al-Shari’i. I have also attempted to discern whether later Latin theologians, specifically those operating within such matters as law - such as Aquinas - were familiar with any of these early Muslim jurists. Would be very curious as to any thoughts you may have.


One additional thought - I have wondered why the jurisprudence transition within Islam is so much greater than that of Christianity. As well as why theology seems to be less of a focus by Muslim’s during the medieval period than Christians. At some point I came across the perspective that Islam was itself such a comprehensive, complete faith - one that through the Qur’an already attempted to address most every concern of life - and those that were missed, the Hadith would take up the task. Whereas, even from the outset, Christianity had a more perhaps patchy, approach to things. Thus, within Islam theologians who carry the proverbial water of explaining entire concepts within the faith were less necessary - but what was needed were interpreters of law. Whereas in Christianity, a less thorough screed opened the door for Augustine, Aquinas and many others to have greater say and influence on the direction of the religion. I have come around to that perhaps too-simplistic interpretation but again would love for someone of your knowledge to weigh in on its veracity.


thank you

Yes, couldn't agree more about the philosophical interest of Islamic law. You might have noticed I had an episode on it (number 147) and also I edited a book with de Gruyter called Philosophy and Jurisprudence in the Islamic World. However my impression is that there is not much influence on jurists from what we more narrowly call "philosophy," at least until after Avicenna when his terminology and especially his logical ideas start to infect pretty much all areas of Islamic intellectual activity. So earlier jurists like al-Shafi'i would not, as far as I know, have been thinking about Aristotelianism or anything like that.

As for the point in the last paragraph, I am not so clear on what the purported phenomenon is that we are trying to explain. There was a heck of a lot of theology in the classical period of Islam - we call it kalām, and it was a far more dominant feature of the intellectual scene than philosophy (falsafa) which was quite a marginal phenomenon, culturally speaking. So if the question is "why was there more theological reflection in medieval Christianity than medieval Islam?" I would deny the premise of the question. Actually Muslim theologians have a spur to reflection and argument that medieval European Christians mostly didn't, which is that they were in close contact with Jewish and Christian communities so there was a lot of need for arguments to be used in interreligious debate; and of course there were plenty of debates within Islam between mutakallimūn as well. On the other hand you're right that jurisprudence is very dominant in Islam. Not sure it is more dominant than in Christianity - think of the massive tradition of canon law, legal theory going back to Justinian, etc. (We had an episode on this too in the Medieval series.) But since Islam, like Judaism, is a law-based religion it was always going to have a lot of room for legal reflection and writing.

Karl Young 6 January 2023

Hey Peter,

Not to saddle you anything more than all the great stuff you already provide but I was wondering if there might ever be the possibility of posting a super index for the books on the website. When you refer to a thinker you’ve discussed in the past in one of the episodes, it’s easy to find the volume and section for the big names. But sometimes you mention an idea associated with a less well known  thinker and don’t have time to mention their dates. I know it’s easy to look them up re. the podcast index. But (as a geezer) I sometimes find it easier (and faster) to grab one of the books and skim there for a little more on that idea. No worries if that seems unreasonable; just wanted to float the idea…

Hm, interesting idea. I think it would be more useful for topics than figures (I mean, you know which volume to find Thomas Aquinas in, or whoever). Would be a lot of work to compile it all though...

Jan Reinecke 25 February 2023

Thank you for a most impressive web-site! 

I live in South Africa and had no idea that that Africa boasts such an impressive gallery of philosophers. Not to mention Indian & Byzantine philosophers!  

Is it the sheer volume of your work that has kept you from going beyond the Reformation or are there other reasons why your website does not seem to include post-Reformation philosophers?

Peter Adamson 25 February 2023

In reply to by Jan Reinecke

Don't worry, I'm getting there! The most recent episodes have been on the Renaissance/Reformation but after that I'll move on to the 17th century. Glad you are excited by the range of the project!

Brad R 4 March 2023

I would like to hear in particular about Bacon's distinction between active Hebraic inquiry and passive Aristotelian receptivity, a distinction I heard he has made. If my information is incorrect, I would be happy to be corrected. At a minimum, I would like to know where in Bacon this distinction can be found, if indeed he makes it. I would be happy to learn about that in a reply to this comment, if you know the answer. Thank you for your work on this podcast. 

Andrew 20 March 2023

Hey Peter, I was wondering - are you going to cover Thomas Sankara? He was another African revolutionary and Pan-African. I looked and I don't think there has been any mention of him anywhere on the website. Is there nothing interesting to cover with him? I would be surprised if that was true.

The other thing is that the comments link at the bottom of the home page of the blog leads to 404 page.

Peter Adamson 21 March 2023

In reply to by Andrew

Thanks for the question! I'll run the idea about Sankara past Chike, who may already have that on his radar (I tend to find that he usually does). And we'll fix the broken link, thanks.