Plotinus posits an absolutely transcendent first principle, the One. What is it (or isn?t it), and how does it relate to Intellect?
Peter introduces Plotinus, the greatest philosopher of late antiquity and the founder of Neoplatonism.
How did the mathematics of figures like Euclid and Archimides relate to ancient philosophy? Peter finds out in an interview with Serafina Cuomo.
Ptolemy uses philosophy in the service of studying the stars, while philosophers of all persuasions evaluate the widespread practice of astrology.
Peter looks at the interaction between rhetoric and philosophy in the Roman Empire, discussing authors like Quintilian, Lucian and Themistius.
Alexander of Aphrodisias writes the greatest ancient commentaries on Aristotle and tries to demolish the Stoic teaching on fate.
Peter looks at the history of Aristotelianism up the time of the Roman Empire and the beginning of commentaries on Aristotle's works.
Jan Opsomer helps Peter to understand principles, Plato interpretation, and Plutarch in a wide-ranging discussion of Middle Platonism.
Plutarch, a major figure of early Imperial literature, was also a Platonist philosopher. He gives us insight into Platonism before Plotinus, and also the letter E.
We put the Philo in philosophy this week, as Philo of Alexandria reads the Bible through the lens of Middle Platonism.
Pioneering thinkers Eudorus, Alcinous, and Numenius fuse Pythagoreanism with Platonism and pave the way for Plotinus.
Peter introduces philosophy in late antiquity, when Aristotelianism and Platonism made a comeback, and pagan philosophy developed alongside Judaism and Christianity.
Jim Hankinson, a leading expert on philosophical themes in Galen, joins Peter to discuss this greatest doctor of the ancient world.
The ancient relationship between medicine and philosophy culminates in Galen, who passes judgment on the three main "sects": rationalism, empiricism and methodism.
Leading Hellenistic philosophy scholar Tony Long talks to Peter about the self, ethics and politics in the Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics.
Sextus Empiricus, the last great ancient skeptic, expounds a radical branch of the tradition called Pyrrhonism. Peter raises some doubts about how to interpret him.
Peter talks to Raphael Woolf about the method and philosophical allegiance of Cicero, focusing on the work On Ends (De Finibus).
Cicero's philosophical works are invaluable records of Hellenistic thought. But what kind of philosopher was Cicero himself?
Under Arcesilaus and Carneades, Plato's Academy took a skeptical turn, casting doubt on the possibility of knowledge. But was their skepticism skeptical enough?
Peter turns to the final major Hellenistic school, the Skeptics, beginning with Pyrrho and the question of how ancient skepticism compares to modern skepticism.
In this episode, Peter interviews Dr John Sellers, senior lecturer in Philosophy from the University of the West of England, about the Roman Stoics.
The life and thought of Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and author of the classic text of Stoic self-examination, the Meditations.
The greatest of the Roman Stoics is Epictetus, arguably the first thinker to discuss the nature of human will, and author of some of the most powerful and demanding ethical writings in history.
Peter starts to explore the Roman Stoics, beginning with Seneca and the Stoic attitude towards the emotions.
David Sedley of Cambridge University chats with Peter about the development of the Stoic school, from the early days to the imperial age.
Peter considers two of the Stoics' most challenging ideas, a determinism that leaves room for moral responsibility, and the ideal of an ethically perfect sage.
Peter looks at the Stoic idea of god, a providential fire that pervades nature, and considers their idea of a deterministic and eternally recurring cosmos.
The Stoics think there could be a perfect sage, so wise that he is never wrong. Is this a big mistake? Peter investigates their epistemology to find out.
Peter arrives at the most influential of the Hellenistic schools, the Stoics, focusing on the early school from Zeno to Chrysippus, and on Stoic innovations in logic.
James Warren of Cambridge University talks to Peter about Epicurus, his atomism, his hedonism and the Epicurean arguments against the fear of death.
Lucretius' poem On the Nature of Things sets Epicureanism into verse. Peter takes a look at its treatment of the soul, free will and the swerve and human society.
Peter considers Epicurus' attempt to dispel the fear of death and the gods, and along the way looks at the topics of soul, atheism, and philosophy as therapy.
Epicurus is infamous for thinking that pleasure is the good. But surprisingly, he says the highest pleasure is mere absence of pain. In this episode, Peter enjoys the challenge of trying to understand why.
Peter begins to examine the philosophy of Epicurus, focusing on his empiricist theory of knowledge and his atomic physics.
Peter considers Aristippus and the Cyrenaics, a group of hedonistic philosophers who were in touch with their feelings ... but nothing else.
In this episode we unleash the most outrageous ancient philosophers, Diogenes and the Cynics, and their quest to "deface the currency" by exposing the hypocrisy of Greek society.
Peter introduces the Hellenistic philosophical schools - the Cynics, Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics - and asks how they responded to earlier thinkers.
Peter wraps up Plato and Aristotle by discussing their followers: Speusippus and Xenocrates (the "Old Academy"), and the polymath Theophrastus.
Peter's colleagues MM McCabe and Raphael Woolf join him for a special 50th episode interview, to discuss Aristotle's reactions to his teacher Plato.
A penultimate episode on Aristotle considers his discussion of persuasive speech in the Rhetoric and his account of ancient tragedy in the Poetics.
Peter looks at the ideal arrangement of the state in Aristotle's Politics, his critique of Plato's Republic and his views on slavery.
Drawing on the De Anima, On the Heavens, Physics and Metaphysics, Peter tackles Aristotle's theory of mind and its relation to his theology.
Peter chats with Dominic Scott of the University of Virginia, and talks about Aristotle's audience, method and conclusions in the Nicomachean Ethics.
Peter continues to look at the Nicomachean Ethics, discussing Aristotle's views about the role of pleasure and friendship in the good life.
Peter looks at one of Aristotle's most popular works, the Nicomachean Ethics, and its ideas about happiness and virtue.
Aristotle's scientific outlook is perhaps best displayed in his zoology. Peter looks at his theories of inheritance, spontaneous generation, and the eternity of animal species.
Peter tackles the De Anima ("On the Soul"), focusing on the definition of soul as the form of the body and Aristotle's theory of sensation.
Peter talks to Richard Sorabji about Aristotle's physics, focusing on the definition of time and the eternity of the universe.
Before Isaac Newton (and Olivia Newton John), there was Aristotle. Peter looks at his Physics, focusing on the notions of actuality and potentiality and how they help to explain such concepts as time and motion.
Aristotle's Physics presents four types of cause: formal, material, final and efficient. Peter looks at all four, and asks whether evolutionary theory undermines final causes in nature.
Aristotle rejects Plato's Forms, holding that ordinary things are primary substances. But what happens when we divide such substances into matter and form?
Hugh Benson of the University of Oklahoma chats to Peter about Aristotle's views on philosophical method, and whether he practices what he preaches.
Peter discusses Aristotle's Posterior Analytics, asking what demands we must meet in order to count as having knowledge. The bar turns out to be set surprisingly high.
Peter discusses Aristotle's pioneering work in logic, and looks at related issues like the ten categories and the famous "sea battle" argument for determinism.
In this first episode on the most influential philosopher of all time, Peter considers Aristotle's life and works, and discusses how to go about reading him.
Plato criticized both the epic poetry of Homer and Hesiod, and the tragic and comic poets. Yet he invented myths of his own. So what was his attitude towards literature and myth? Peter tackles this question in a final episode on Plato.
Frisbee Sheffield, an expert on Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus, chats to Peter about love and friendship in the erotic dialogues.
In this episode, Peter discusses Plato's erotic dialogues, the Lysis, the Phaedrus and the Symposium, and talks about the relationship between love, friendship and philosophy in Plato's thought.
Peter looks at Plato's Timaeus, focusing on the divine craftsman or demiurge, the receptacle, and the geometrical atomism of Plato's elemental theory.
Peter discusses Plato's contribution to the philosophy of language, the Cratylus, a dialogue which uncovers a theory of Heraclitean flux hidden within ancient Greek.
Peter talks to Fiona Leigh of University College London about Plato's Sophist, which revises the theory of Forms to explain how falsehood is possible.
Plato sets out criticisms against his own theory of Forms in the "Parmenides". In this episode Peter looks at the criticisms, including the Third Man Argument, and asks what Plato wants us to conclude from them.
The most famous work of Plato is the "Republic" and its most famous passage is the allegory of the cave. In this episode Peter looks at the allegory, along with the Form of the Good and divided line.
In his masterpiece the Republic, Plato describes the ideal city and draws a parallel between this city and the just soul, with the three classes of the city mirroring the three parts of the soul. Peter discusses this parallel and the historical context that may have influenced Plato's political thought.
In the Phaedo, Plato depicts the death of Socrates, and argues for two of his most distinctive doctrines: the immortality of the soul and the theory of Forms.
What is Plato's understanding of knowledge, and how does he think that knowledge relates to virtue? Peter tackles these questions with his King's colleague MM McCabe in this interview.
Peter examines Plato's "Theaetetus", discussing the relativist doctrine of Protagoras, the flux doctrine of Heraclitus, and the two famous images of the wax tablet and aviary.
Peter tackles one of Plato's most frequently read dialogues, the "Meno," and the theory that what seems to be learning is in fact recollection.
Peter discusses examines one of Plato's great dialogues on ethics, the Gorgias, in which Socrates compares rhetoric to pastry-making and squares off against the immoralist Callicles.
Peter discusses virtue, self knowledge and some bad arguments in two lesser-known dialogues of Plato: the Charmides and the Euthydemus.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses the life story and writings of Plato, focusing on the question of why he wrote dialogues.
Peter's colleague Raphael Woolf, also a member of the Department of Philosophy, joins him to discuss Socrates as he is portrayed by Plato: the gadfly of Athens. But was he an ascetic?
In the first of several episodes on Socrates, Peter discusses his portrayals in "The Clouds" of Aristophanes and in the works of the historian Xenophon.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses the sophists, teachers of rhetoric in ancient Athens, looking especially at the contributions of Protagoras and Gorgias.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses early Greek medicine up until Hippocrates, and its relation to Pre-Socratic philosophers like Empedocles.
World-leading expert Malcolm Schofield of Cambridge University speaks to Peter about the development of Presocratic philosophy, from the Milesians to Parmenides and the reactions he provoked.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses the Presocratic philosopher Empedocles and his principles: Love, Strife, and the four "roots," or elements.
In this episode, Peter Adamson discusses Anaxagoras, one of the greatest Pre-Socratics, and focuses on his theory of universal mixture ("everything is in everything") and the role played by mind in Anaxagoras' cosmos.
In this episode, Peter discusses the Atomists Democritus and Leucippus, and how they were responding to the ideas of Parmenides and his followers.
The paradoxes of Zeno and the arguments of Melissus develop the ideas of Parmenides and defend his Eleatic monism.
Peter Adamson discusses the "father of metaphysics," Parmenides, and his argument that all being is one.
Peter's colleague Professor MM McCabe joins him in the first interview of the series of podcasts, to talk about Heraclitus.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses the Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, and tries to discover whether it's possible to step into the same river twice.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses the Pre-Socratic philosopher Pythagoras, as well as Pythagoreanism and the role of mathematics in ancient philosophy.
In this episode, Peter talks about the Greek gods in Homer and Hesiod, and the criticism of the poets by the Presocratic philosopher Xenophanes.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London discusses two very early Greek philosophers, both from Miletus: Anaximander and Anaximines.
In this episode, Peter Adamson of King's College London introduces the podcast as a whole, and the thought of the early Greek philosophers called the Presocratics. He also discusses the first Presocratic philosopher, Thales of Miletus.
Links to all of the podcasts featured in the History of Philosophy podcast series.