History of Indian and Africana Philosophy

By Peter Adamson, Jonardon Ganeri, Chike Jeffers

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 May 13, 2022

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 Jul 27, 2018


Peter Adamson teams up with Jonardon Ganeri and Chike Jeffers to represent the philosophical traditions of India, Africa and the African diaspora. Website: www.historyofphilosophy.net.

Episode Date
HAP 105 - Meeting the Gaze - Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks

Frantz Fanon combines existentialist philosophy and psychiatry to diagnose the condition of the colonialized target of racism.

Jul 24, 2022
HAP 104 - In Unity Lies Strength - Kwame Nkrumah

The first leader of independent Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, writes against neocolonialism and in favor of socialism and Pan-Africanism.

Jul 10, 2022
HAP 103 - A Federal Case - Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo

Two Nigerian activists lead the struggle for independence, and clash over the competing values of national unity and ethnic diversity.

Jun 26, 2022
HAP 102 - From Cuba with Love - Juan Rene Betancourt

The Cuban activist and author Juan Rene Betancourt urges racial solidarity and reckons with the revolution under Castro and the island’s turn towards Communism.

Jun 12, 2022
HAP 101 - Crossing Paths - the Last Years of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr

After 1963, the views of Malcolm X and MLK came closer together, on topics including internationalism, political engagement, and economics.

May 29, 2022
HAP 100 - Chike Jeffers on the Early Twentieth Century

Chike joins Peter to look back at our coverage of Africana philosophy in the first half of the 20th century.

May 15, 2022
HAP 99 - American Nightmare - Malcolm X

The life and career of Malcolm X up to 1963, with a focus on his separatist black nationalism and his critique of non-violent protest.

May 01, 2022
HAP 98 - Meena Krishnamurthy on Martin Luther King Jr

An interview about the role of the emotions, including anger and feelings of dignity, with MLK expert Meena Krishnamurthy.

Apr 17, 2022
HAP 97 - American Dream - Martin Luther King Jr.

The story of Martin Luther King Jr. up to 1963, focusing on the development of his philosophy of nonviolence.

Apr 03, 2022
HAP 96 - A Lover’s War - James Baldwin

In "The Fire Next Time" and other writings, the essayist and novelist James Baldwin seeks to dispel the illusions surrounding racial and sexual difference.

Mar 20, 2022
HAP 95 - Black and Blue - Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison provides a new metaphor for the experience of racism in his Invisible Man and tackles topics of art and identity in his essays.

Mar 06, 2022
HAP 94 - How Did You Happen? - Richard Wright

Famous for his incendiary novel Native Son, Richard Wright responds in his multifaceted writings to sociology, communism, colonialism, and existentialism.

Feb 20, 2022
HAP 93 - Carole Boyce Davies on Claudia Jones

Interview guest Carole Boyce Davies joins us to talk about the radical ideas of Claudia Jones. 

Feb 06, 2022
HAP 92 - Half the World - Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones argues that Communism provides the remedy for racism and imperialism.

Jan 23, 2022
HAP 91 - Massa Day Done - Oliver Cox and Eric Williams

Two Trinidadian political thinkers: sociologist Oliver Cox analyzes the nature of racial prejudice, and historian Eric Williams connects capitalism to slavery.

Jan 09, 2022
HAP 90 - Move Fast and Break Things - C.L.R. James

The Trinidadian historian and cultural critic C.L.R. James applies Marxist analysis to the Haitian Revolution, American cinema, and Shakespeare.

Dec 26, 2021
HAP 89 - Separate but Unequal - E. Franklin Frazier

Sociologist E. Franklin Frazier critiques the Harlem Renaissance and the “black bourgeoisie” for failing to embrace values that will empower black Americans.

Dec 12, 2021
HAP 88 - The Surreal Deal - Aimé and Suzanne Césaire

Negritude thinkers Aimé and Suzanne Césaire embrace surrealism and reflect on the relationships between poetry, knowledge, and identity.

Nov 28, 2021
HAP 87 - Call It Intuition - Leopold Senghor

Leopold Senghor compares different ways of knowing while developing his theory of Negritude and combining the roles of poet and politician.  

Nov 14, 2021
HAP 86 - French Connection - The Negritude Movement

Our first look at the emergence of the Negritude movement in Paris in the 1930s, with a focus on the early leadership of the Nardal sisters and Leon Damas.

Oct 31, 2021
HAP 85 - Liam Kofi Bright on Du Bois‘ Philosophy of Science

Guest Liam Kofi Bright discusses Du Bois' ideal of value-free science and the place of science within his wider thought.

Oct 17, 2021
HAP 84 - Live Long and Protest - W.E.B. Du Bois, 1920-1963

Du Bois moves to the left, and revisits and refines older positions during the latter half of his very long life.

Oct 03, 2021
HAP 83 - Songs of the People - Paul Robeson and the Negro Spiritual

The career of the multi-talented activist and performer Paul Robeson, and the place of the Negro spiritual in the Harlem Renaissance.

Sep 19, 2021
HAP 82 - The Florida Project - Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston’s interest in Africana folklore feeds into her great novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Sep 05, 2021
HAP 81 - Making History - Carter G. Woodson

Pioneering historian Carter G. Woodson argues for a new approach to education and economic uplift.

Jul 25, 2021
HAP 80 - Scholarly Contributions - African American Professional Philosophers

From the latter half of the nineteenth century to the 1970s, African Americans only rarely obtain jobs as philosophy professors but bring distinctive perspectives to the profession.

Jul 11, 2021
HAP 79 - Leonard Harris on Alain Locke

Leonard Harris explains how Locke's value theory was the basis for his aesthetics and theories of democracy and race. 

Jun 27, 2021
HAP 78 - Freedom Through Art - Alain Locke

The aesthetics of Alain Locke and its basis in his theory of value judgments.

Jun 13, 2021
HAP 77 - A Race Capital - The Harlem Renaissance

The artistic flowering of the 1920s known as the Harlem Renaissance raises important questions about identity and the purpose of art.

May 30, 2021
HAP 76 - Michael Dawson on Garvey and Black Nationalism

An interview with Michael Dawson, who explains Marcus Garvey's black nationalism and how this and other political ideologies, like socialism and liberalism, have fared from the time of Garvey down to the present day.

May 16, 2021
HAP 75 - Now I Have a Rival - The Two Amy Garveys

Marcus Garvey’s two wives, Amy Ashwood Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey, establish themselves as activists in their own right and bring feminism into the Pan-African movement.

May 02, 2021
HAP 74 - Black Star - Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey leads a powerful movement, inspires racial pride, and feuds with other thinkers like Du Bois.

Apr 18, 2021
HAP 73 - Vanessa Wills on Africana Marxism

Vanessa Wills speaks  to us about Marx and his Africana legacy, with a special focus on black women Marxists.

Apr 04, 2021
HAP 72 - In A Class of Their Own - Early African American Socialism

Around the time of World War One, Hubert Harrison, A. Philip Randolph, and other black socialists argue that racial oppression is caused by capitalism.

Mar 21, 2021
HAP 71 - In Blyden’s Wake - West African Intellectuals of the Early Twentieth Century

West African intellectuals like J.E. Casely-Hayford and Mojola Agbebi build upon Edward Blyden’s ideas at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Mar 07, 2021
HAP 70 - Tommy Curry on the Early 20th Century

We chat with Tommy Curry about African-American thought between the turn of the century and the Harlem Renaissance.

Feb 21, 2021
HAP 69 - The Best We Have - The American Negro Academy

The ANA unites leading African American scholars of the early 20th century, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, William Ferris, Archibald Grimké, and Kelly Miller.

Feb 07, 2021
HAP 68 - The Problem of the Color Line - Introducing the Twentieth Century

By exploring the work and activities of W.E.B. Du Bois around the turn of the twentieth century, we introduce some of the themes of our coverage of that century.

Jan 24, 2021
HAP 67 - Chike Jeffers on Slavery and Diasporic Philosophy

Co-host Chike joins Peter to look back at series 2 and ahead to series 3.

Jan 10, 2021
HAP 66 - Lifting the Veil - Introducing W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois emerges as a historian, sociologist, and innovative philosophical thinker in the 1890s, and introduces his famous idea of "double consciousness."

Dec 27, 2020
HAP 65 - Separate Fingers, One Hand - Booker T. Washington

Was Booker T. Washington’s “accomodationist” approach to race relations a failure to stand up to injustice or a cunning strategy for incremental change?

Dec 13, 2020
HAP 64 - God is a Negro - Henry McNeal Turner

A late 19th-century churchman tries to explain how slavery fit into God’s plan, and decide whether the future for African-Americans lies in Africa or America.

Nov 29, 2020
HAP 63 - Brittney Cooper on Black Women Activists

Brittney Cooper on activists connected to the National Association of Colored Women, including Fannie Barrier Williams, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida B. Wells.

Nov 15, 2020
HAP 62 - American Barbarism - Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells, her tireless crusade against lynching, and her analysis of the underlying purpose of racial violence.

Nov 01, 2020
HAP 61 - When and Where I Enter - Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper’s "A Voice from the South", an unprecedented contribution to black feminist theory. 

Oct 18, 2020
HAP 60 - Though Late, It Is Liberty- Abolitionism in Brazil

Abolitionists Luiz Gama and Joaquim Nabuco, and the great novelist Machado de Assis, react to the injustices of slaveholding in Brazil.

Oct 04, 2020
HAP 59 - Frowning at Froudacious Fabrications - J.J. Thomas and F.A. Durham

John Jacob Thomas argues for self-government in the English colonies of the Caribbean but his fellow Trinidadian Frederick Alexander Durham recommends repatriation to Africa instead.

Sep 20, 2020
HAP 58 - A Common Circle - Anténor Firmin

Haitian anthropologist Anténor Firmin debunks racist pseudo-science and argues that inequalities among humans are caused by social, not biological, factors.

Sep 06, 2020
HAP 57 - Race First, Then Party - T. Thomas Fortune

T. Thomas Fortune uses newspaper editorials to put forth a theory of civil rights and set out a plan of political action for protecting them.

Jul 19, 2020
HAP 56 - African Personality - Edward Blyden

Edward Blyden gains appreciation for Islam in West Africa and gradually moves from political nationalism to cultural nationalism.

Jul 05, 2020
HAP 55 - Planting the Seeds - James Africanus Beale Horton

Africanus Horton looks toward a future of self-government for West Africa beyond slavery and colonialism.

Jun 21, 2020
HAP 54 - Wilson Moses on the Roots of Black Nationalism

Wilson Moses speaks to us about his research into early black notionalism, as represented by Crummell, Douglass, and others.

Jun 07, 2020
HAP 53 - Pilgrim’s Progress - Alexander Crummell

Alexander Crummell moves from pan-Africanism to reform of African American culture, identifying progressive “civilization” as a means of liberation.

May 24, 2020
HAP 52 - Great White North - Emigration to Canada

Mary Ann Shadd and Samuel Ringgold Ward reflect on what Canada can offer African Americans, differing on the problem of racism.

May 10, 2020
HAP 51 - I Read Men and Nations - Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper

The moral crusades of Sojourner Truth and Frances Harper, activists against racial and gender oppression.

Apr 26, 2020
HAP 50 - Nation Within a Nation - Martin Delany

He is called a “father of black nationalism,” but Martin Delany also promoted integration in American society. Can the apparent tension be resolved?

Apr 12, 2020
HAP 49 - Let Your Motto Be Resistance - Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet encourages, or actually demands, that enslaved Americans throw off their chains and debates Douglass over how best to resist slavery.

Mar 29, 2020
HAP 48 - Happy Holidays - Two Speeches by Frederick Douglass

In two speeches marking holidays, Frederick Douglass champions the idea of world citizenship, the power of appeals to conscience to bring change, and the role of violence.

Mar 15, 2020
HAP 47 - Written by Himself - the Life of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass' journey from slave to leading figure of 19th century American thought.

Mar 01, 2020
HAP 46 - Melvin Rogers on 19th Century Political Thought

Melvin Rogers joins us to discuss Hosea Walker, Maria Stewart, and Hosea Easton.

Feb 16, 2020
HAP 45 - Unnatural Causes - Hosea Easton’s Treatise

Hosea Easton’s Treatise provides an overlooked but fascinating theory of race and racism.

Feb 02, 2020
HAP 44 - Religion and Pure Principles - Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart’s public addresses bring the concerns of African American women into the struggle against racial prejudice.

Jan 19, 2020
HAP 43 - Kill or Be Killed - David Walker’s Appeal

David Walker defends violent resistance and encourages self-improvement in his incendiary and influential Appeal.

Jan 05, 2020
HAP 42 - James Sidbury on African Identity

An interview with James Sidbury about the emergence of a self-conscious African identity in the diaspora.

Dec 22, 2019
HAP 41 - Should I Stay or Should I Go? - The Colonization Controversy

Questions of political autonomy and group identity in the emigration movement led by Paul Cuffe, Daniel Coker, John Russwurm and others.

Dec 08, 2019
HAP 40 - American Africans - Early Black Institutions in the US

Building black institutions in early American history, with Prince Hall and the Masons in Boston, and Richard Allen and the Methodists in Philadelphia.

Nov 24, 2019
HAP 39 - Doris Garraway on the Haitian Revolution

An interview with Doris Garraway on the background, intellectual basis, and legacy of the Haitian Revolution.

Nov 10, 2019
HAP 38 - My Haitian Pen - Baron de Vastey

The Baron de Vastey unveils the horror of colonialism as a system and defends the monarchy of King Christophe in the tense early years of Haiti’s independence.

Oct 27, 2019
HAP 37 - Liberty, Equality, Humanity - The Haitian Revolution

In an age of revolutions and revolutionary ideas, the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 stands out as the most radical of them all.

Oct 13, 2019
HAP 36 - Sons of Africa - Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano

Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano advance the goals of the abolitionist movement through a groundbreaking political treatise and an influential autobiography.

Sep 29, 2019
HAP 35 - Letters from the Heart - Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker

Ignatius Sancho and Benjamin Banneker make their mark on the history of Africana thought through letters that reflect on the power of sentiment.

Sep 15, 2019
HAP 34 - New England Patriot - Lemuel Haynes

Preacher and Revolutionary War soldier Lemuel Haynes argues that the principles of the American Revolution demand the abolition of slavery.

Sep 01, 2019
HAP 33 - Young, Gifted, and Black - Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley astonishes colonial Americans with her exquisite and precocious poetry and reflects on the liberating power of the imagination.

Jul 21, 2019
HAP 32 - Talking Book - Early Africana Writing in English

18th century black authors touch on philosophical themes in autobiographical narratives, poetry, and other literary genres.

Jul 07, 2019
HAP 31 - Justin Smith on Amo and Race in Early Modern Philosophy

Justin E.H. Smith joins us to discuss Anton Wilhelm Amo against the background of ideas about race in early modern philosophy, including Leibniz.

Jun 23, 2019
HAP 30 - Dualist Personality - Anton Wilhelm Amo

Anton Wilhelm Amo, brought to Germany from his native Ghana, defends a rigorous dualism of mind and body. Was this philosophy connected to his African origins?

Jun 09, 2019
HAP 29 - Out of Africa - Slavery and the Diaspora

An introduction to Africana philosophical thought as it emerged from the modern experience of slavery and colonization by Europeans.

May 26, 2019
HAP 28 - Chike Jeffers on Precolonial African Philosophy

Co-host Chike Jeffers and Peter chat about the themes and questions raised by the podcast so far.

May 12, 2019
HAP 27 - Beyond the Reaction - The Continuing Relevance of Precolonial Traditions

As the twentieth century draws to a close, the critique of ethnophilosophy gives way to approaches that continue to privilege the study of precolonial traditions.

Apr 28, 2019
HAP 26 - Kai Kresse on the Anthropology of Philosophy

An interview with Kai Kresse who discusses his efforts to do "anthropology of philosophy" on the Swahili Coast.

Apr 14, 2019
HAP 25 - Wise Guys - Sage Philosophy

Henry Odera Oruka’s new method for exploring philosophy in Africa, based on interviews with wise individuals.

Mar 31, 2019
HAP 24 - Professionally Speaking - The Reaction Against Ethnophilosophy

Paulin Hountondji and other African philosophers criticize ethnophilosophy and advocate a universalist approach.

Mar 17, 2019
HAP 23 - Nkiru Nzegwu on Gender in African Tradition

An interview with Nkiru Nzegwu on matriarchy and gender fluidity in Africa.

Mar 03, 2019
HAP 22 - Women Have no Tribe - Gender in African Tradition

What archeology and ethnography tell us about the diverse and often ambiguous roles of men and women in traditional African societies.

Feb 17, 2019
HAP 21 - The Doctor Will See You Now - Divination, Witchcraft, and Knowledge

Special forms of knowledge and the explanation of misfortunes in African tradition.

Feb 03, 2019
HAP 20 - I Am Because We Are - Communalism in African Ethics and Politics

Emphasis on the value of community as a major theme in African philosophy.

Jan 20, 2019
HAP 19 - Behind the Mask - African Philosophy of the Person

Traditional African ideas about personhood, which challenge assumptions about the relation between mind and body, self and other.

Jan 06, 2019
HAP 18 - One to Rule Them All - God in African Philosophy

Is traditional African religion in some sense monotheist, despite the worship of many divinities?

Dec 23, 2018
HAP 17 - Event Horizon - African Philosophy of Time

John Mbiti’s influential and controversial claim that traditional Africans experience time as having “a long past, a present, and virtually no future.”

Dec 09, 2018
HAP 16 - Samuel Imbo on Okot p'Bitek and Oral Traditions

A conversation with Sam Imbo on approaching oral traditions as philosophy and the Ugandan thinker and poet Okot p'Bitek.

Nov 25, 2018
HAP 15 - Heard it Through the Grapevine - Oral Philosophy in Africa

An introduction to the “ethnophilosophy” approach inaugurated by Placide Tempels, its promises and potential pitfalls.

Nov 11, 2018
HAP 14 - Souleymane Bachir Diagne on Islam in Africa

Peter speaks to Souleymane Bachir Diagne about Islamic scholars in West Africa.

Oct 28, 2018
HAP 13 - Renewing the Faith - the Sokoto Caliphate

Uthman Dan Fodio and his family were scholars, poets, and warriors whose jihad in 19th century Nigeria created the Sokoto Caliphate.

Oct 14, 2018
HAP 12 - From Here to Timbuktu - Subsaharan Islamic Philosophy

The spread of Islamic scholarship in subsaharan Africa, focusing on intellectuals of the Songhay empire around the Niger River in the 15th-17th centuries.

Sep 30, 2018
HAP 11 - Teodros Kiros on Ethiopian Philosophy

Teodros Kiros discusses the history of Ethiopian thought and how it has influenced his own work in political philosophy.

Sep 16, 2018
HAP 10 - Think for Yourself - Walda Heywat

Walda Heywat’s reaction to the thought of his teacher Zera Yacob, and the dispute over the authenticity of these two Ethiopian philosophers.

Sep 02, 2018
HAP 09 - In You I Take Shelter - Zera Yacob

The 17th century Ethiopian rationalist Zera Yacob, hailed as the first modern Africana philosopher.

Jul 22, 2018
HAP 08 - Solomon, Socrates, and Other Sages - Early Ethiopian Philosophy

Philosophy in Ethiopia, with translations of religious and philosophical texts into Ge’ez and a national epic called the Kebra Nagast.

Jul 08, 2018
HAP 07 - Richard Parkinson on Egyptian Poetry

Egyptioogist Richard Parkinson joins us to talk about the context and meaning of the Eloquent Peasant and other literary works of ancient Egypt.

Jun 24, 2018
HAP 06 - Heated Exchanges - Philosophy in Egyptian Narratives and Dialogues

Demands for ma’at (justice or truth) and a confrontation with the soul, in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant and Dispute Between a Man and his Ba.

Jun 10, 2018
HAP 05 - Father Knows Best - Moral and Political Philosophy in the Instructions

Ethical reflection in ancient Egyptian grave inscriptions and in works of instruction, such as the Maxims of Ptahhotep and the Instructions named for Amenemope, Ani, and Merikare.

May 27, 2018
HAP 04 - Pyramid Schemes - Philosophy in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian figures and writings including the Pyramid Texts, Imhotep, and the "first monotheist" Akhenaten reflect on the nature of things and questions of morality.

May 13, 2018
HAP 03 - Fertile Ground - Philosophy in Ancient Mesopotamia

Do the cuneiform writings of Babylonian culture show that it had its own philosophy?

Apr 29, 2018
HAP 02 - It’s Only Human - Philosophy in Prehistoric Africa

Might philosophy be as old as humankind as we know it? We investigate the implications of findings concerning the origins of humankind in Africa.

Apr 15, 2018
HAP 01 - Something Old, Something New - Introducing Africana Philosophy

Chike Jeffers and Peter Adamson kick off the new series by explaining the scope and meaning of "Africana philosophy".

Apr 01, 2018
HPI 62 - Kit Patrick on Philosophy and Indian History

The host of the History of India podcast joins us for the final episode on India. Coming next: Africana philosophy!

Mar 18, 2018
HPI 61 - What Happened Next - Indian Philosophy After Dignaga

A whirlwind tour of developments in Indian philosophy after Dignāga and a few words about the contemporary relevance of the tradition.

Mar 04, 2018
HPI 60 - The Buddha and I - Indian Influence on Islamic and European Thought

The impact of ancient Indian thought upon the Muslim scholar al-Bīrūnī and upon European thinkers like Hume, Hegel, and Schopenhauer.

Feb 18, 2018
HPI 59 - Looking East - Indian Influence on Greek Thought

Did Indian ideas play a role in shaping ancient Greek philosophy?

Feb 04, 2018
HPI 58 - Amber Carpenter on Animals in Indian Philosophy

An interview with Amber Carpenter about the status of nonhuman animals in ancient Indian philosophy and literature.

Jan 21, 2018
HPI 57 - Learn by Doing - Tantra

Philosophy is put into practice in Kashmir Śaivite Tantra and Buddhist Tantra.

Jan 07, 2018
HPI 56 - Who’s Pulling Your Strings? - Buddhaghosa

Buddhaghosa, a major figure in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, argues against the need for a self to control and coordinate mental activities.

Dec 24, 2017
HPI 55 - Doors of Perception - Dignaga on Consciousness

Dignāga argues that all perception is accompanied by self-awareness.

Dec 10, 2017
HPI 54 - Graham Priest on Logic and Buddhism

Graham Priest joins Peter to discuss non-classical logic and its connections with Buddhist patterns of reasoning.

Nov 26, 2017
HPI 53 - Follow the Evidence - Dignaga's Logic

Dignāga’s trairūpya theory, which sets out the three conditions required for making reliable inferences.

Nov 12, 2017
HPI 52 - Under Construction - Dignaga on Perception and Language

The great Buddhist thinker Dignāga argues that general concepts and language are mere constructions superimposed on perception.

Oct 29, 2017
HPI 51 - Change of Mind - Vasubandhu and Yogacara Buddhism

Vasubandhu’s path to Yogācāra Buddhism, a form of idealism which holds that nothing can be mind-independent.

Oct 15, 2017
HPI 50 - Marie-Hélène Gorisse on Jain Epistemology

We're joined by Marie-Hélène Gorisse for a look at the Jain theory of knowledge.

Oct 01, 2017
HPI 49 - Well Qualified - the Jains on Truth

Does the Jain theory of seven predications (saptabhaṇgī) land them in self-contradiction, or help them to avoid it?

Sep 17, 2017
HPI 48 - Taking Perspective - the Jain Theory of Standpoints

The Jain theory of standpoints or non-onesidedness (anekāntavāda) makes truth a matter of perspective.

Aug 06, 2017
HPI 47 - Jan Westerhoff on Nagarjuna

A discussion with Jan Westerhoff, an expert on the great Buddhist thinker Nāgārjuna.

Jul 23, 2017
HPI 46 - No Four Ways About It - Nagarjuna’s Tetralemma

Nāgārjuna’s four-fold argument scheme, the tetralemma (catuṣkoṭi).

Jul 09, 2017
HPI 45 - Motion Denied - Nagarjuna on Change

Nāgārjuna applies his emptiness theory to motion, change, and cognition.

Jun 25, 2017
HPI 44 - It All Depends - Nagarjuna on Emptiness

Nāgārjuna founds the Madhyāmaka (“middle way”) Buddhist tradition by “relinquishing all views” and arguing that everything is “empty.”

Jun 11, 2017
HPI 43 - We Beg to Differ - the Buddhists and Jains

An introduction to philosophical developments in Buddhism and Jainism up to the time of Dignāga in the sixth century AD.

May 28, 2017
HPI 42 - In Good Taste - The Aesthetics of Rasa

Bharata’s Nāṭya-Śāstra and later works from Kashmir explore the idea of rasa, an emotional response to drama, music, and poetry.

May 14, 2017
HPI 41 - Monima Chadha on Indian Philosophy of Mind

Monima Chadha takes Peter through Buddhist-Hindu debates over mind and self.

Apr 30, 2017
HPI 40 - Mind out of Matter - Materialist Theories of the Self

Pāyasi and the Cārvāka anticipate modern-day theories of mind by arguing that there is no independent soul; rather thought emerges from the body.

Apr 16, 2017
HPI 39 - The Wolf’s Footprint - Indian Naturalism

The Cārvāka or Lokāyata tradition rejects the efficacy of ritual and belief in the afterlife, and restricts knowledge to the realm of sense-perception.

Apr 02, 2017
HPI 38 - A Day in the Life - Theories of Time

Ancient Indian cosmology and the Vaiśeṣika defense of the reality of time and space.

Mar 19, 2017
HPI 37 - The Whole Story - Vaisesika on Complexity and Causation

The Vaiśeṣika response to Buddhist skepticism about wholes made up of parts.

Mar 05, 2017
HPI 36 - Fine Grained Analysis - Kanada's Vaisesika-Sutra

The Vaiśeṣika school offers a metaphysical analysis of the world and an atomistic physics.

Feb 19, 2017
HPI 35 - Ujjwala Jha and V.N. Jha on Nyaya

Prof Jha and Prof Jha discuss the theories and later influence of the Nyāya school.

Feb 05, 2017
HPI 34 - The Truth Shall Set You Free - Nyaya on the Mind

Nyāya proposes that each of us has both a self and a mind, in addition to the body.

Jan 22, 2017
HPI 33 - Standard Deductions - Nyaya on Reasoning

Gautama and his commentators tell us how to separate good inferences from bad ones.

Jan 08, 2017
HPI 32 - What You See Is What You Get - Nyaya on Perception

Nyāya philosophers explain how perception can bring us knowledge.

Dec 25, 2016
HPI 31 - Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire - Gautama’s Nyaya-Sutra

The Nyāya-Sūtra inaugurates a tradition of logical and epistemological analysis.

Dec 11, 2016
HPI 30 - Philipp Maas on Yoga

A leading expert on the founding text of Yoga tells us why, when, and by whom it was written.

Nov 27, 2016
HPI 29 - Practice Makes Perfect - Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra

Yoga as presented by Patañjali offers a practical complement to the Sāṃkhya theory of the cosmos and the self.

Nov 13, 2016
HPI 28 - Who Wants to Live Forever? - Early Ayurvedic Medicine
Philosophical aspects of Ayurveda, focusing on the oldest surviving medical treatise, the Caraka-Samhita.
Oct 30, 2016
HPI 27 - The Theory of Evolution - Isvarakrsna’s Samkhya-karika
The oldest treatise of Sāṃkhya enumerates the principles of the cosmos and of the human mind.
Oct 16, 2016
HPI 26 - Francis Clooney on Vedanta
Francis Clooney joins us to discuss the religious and philosophical aspects of Vedānta.
Oct 02, 2016
HPI 25 - Communication Breakdown - Bhartrihari on Language
The grammarian Bhartṛhari argues that the study of language is the path to liberation, because the undivided reality underlying language is brahman.
Sep 18, 2016
HPI 24 - No Two Ways About It - Sankara and Advaita Vedanta
Śaṅkara and his “non-dual” (Advaita) Vedānta, which teaches that only brahman is real, and the world of experience and individual self are mere illusion.
Sep 04, 2016
Summer Reading
How to fill the month of August while the podcast is on summer break. Buy the book versions of the podcast at Oxford University Press.
Aug 06, 2016
HPI 23 - Source Code - Badarayana’s Vedanta-sutra
The founding text of the Vedānta school, the Vedānta- or Brahma-Sūtra, interprets the Upaniṣads as teaching that all things derive from brahman.
Jul 24, 2016
HPI 22 - Elisa Freschi on Mimamsa
Mīmāṃsā expert Elisa Freschi speaks to Peter about philosophical issues arising from the interpretation of the Veda.
Jul 10, 2016
HPI 21 - Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Mimamsa on Knowledge and Language
The Mīmāṃsā school put their faith in sense experience, and argue that the Veda, and hence language itself, had no beginning.
Jun 26, 2016
HPI 20 - Master of Ceremonies - Jaimini’s Mimamsa-Sutra
In the Mīmāṃsā school’s founding text, Jaimini systematizes Vedic ritual and explores its theoretical basis.
Jun 12, 2016
HPI 19 - When in Doubt - the Rise of Skepticism

Skeptical tendences in Indian thought and responses to skepticism from the Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta schools.

May 29, 2016
HPI 18 - A Tangled Web - the Age of the Sutra
Rival philosophical schools proliferate and subdivide in our second major historical period, the “age of the sūtra.”
May 14, 2016
HPI 17 - Jessica Frazier on Hinduism and Philosophy
An interview with Jessica Frazier about philosophical ideas and arguments in the Vedas, Upanisads and later Hindu texts.
May 01, 2016
HPI 16 - Better Half - Women in Ancient India
Women philosophers and ideas about women in Buddhism, the Upanisads, and the Mahabharata.
Apr 17, 2016
HPI 15 - Mostly Harmless - Non-Violence
Vegetarianism and non-violence (ahimsa) in ancient Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
Apr 03, 2016
HPI 14 - World on a String - The Bhagavad-Gita
The Bhagavad-Gītā or “Song of the Lord” from the Mahābhārata ties its theory of detached action to an innovative conception of the divine.
Mar 20, 2016
HPI 13 - Grand Illusion - Dharma and Deception in the Mahabharata
The great Hindu epic Mahābhārata explores moral dilemmas and the permissibilty of lying, against the background of the ethical concept of dharma.
Mar 06, 2016
HPI 12 - Rupert Gethin on Buddhism and the Self
Peter speaks to Rupert Gethin about the no-self theory, and its implications for Buddhist ethics and meditation practices.
Feb 21, 2016
HPI 11 - Carry a Big Stick - Ancient Indian Political Thought
Two figures from the Mauryan dynasty, Kautilya and the king Ashoka, set out contrasting ideas about the ideal political rule.
Feb 07, 2016
HPI 10 - Crossover Appeal - The Nature of the Buddha’s Teaching
The Buddha offers two parables to explain the purpose of his philosophical teaching.
Jan 24, 2016
HPI 09 - Suffering and Smiling - the Buddha
The Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, and the function they are supposed to play in our lives.
Jan 10, 2016
HPI 08 - Case Worker - Panini's Grammar
The pioneering Sanskrit grammar of Pāṇini and its implications for philosophy of language.
Dec 27, 2015
HPI 07 - Brian Black on the Upanisads
An interview with Brian Black about the philosophical and social aspects of the Upanisads.
Dec 13, 2015
HPI 06 - You Are What You Do - Karma
The origins of the idea of karma, its moral significance in the Upanisads, and an alternative conception in the Bhagavad Gita.
Nov 29, 2015
HPI 05 - Do it Yourself - Indra’s Search for the Self in the Upanisads
The god Indra learns patience and something about the self in a famous passage from the Upanisads.
Nov 15, 2015
HPI 04 - Hide and Seek – The Upanisads
The ancient texts known as the Upanisads claim to expose the hidden connections between things, including the self and the world.
Nov 01, 2015
HPI 03 - Kingdom for a Horse - India in the Vedic Period
The Vedic period sets the context of the Upanisads, Buddhism and Jainism.
Oct 18, 2015
HPI 02 - Sages, Schools and Systems – a Historical Overview
A whirlwind tour of philosophical literature in India.
Oct 04, 2015
HPI 01 - Begin at the End - An Introduction to Philosophy in India
In this introduction to the series, Peter Adamson and Jonardon Ganeri propose that Indian philosophy was primarily a way of life and search for the highest good.
Sep 14, 2015