In September 2015, Peter Adamson and Jonardon Ganeri began producing a new podcast series on the History of Philosophy in India. Peter is Professor of Philosophy at the LMU in Munich and at King’s College London, and has been hosting a podcast since October 2010 that takes listeners through the history of philosophy, “without any gaps.” This original podcast is still running and has built up to over 240 episodes! Jonardon is Professor of Philosophy at NYU, Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Professorial Research Associate at SOAS and author of numerous books and articles on Indian philosophy.

The plan is for the podcasts to cover the first thousand years of the history of Indian philosophy, beginning with Vedic literature (including the Upanisads) and ending with the Buddhist thinker Dignaga who died in 540 AD. This timespan will be divided into three ages:

  • the early period of the Vedas and classical Hindu epics, and the emergence of critique from the Buddhists and Jainas;
  • the Age of the Sutras, a period of increasing systematicity in which so-called “orthodox” Hindu schools of thought faced increasingly sophisticated challenges from skeptical and naturalist thinkers;
  • and finally a period of Buddhist analysis and Jaina synthesis.

To date, the first six episodes have covered the following topics…

  • The Origins of Philosophy in India: Orientation concerning the nature of philosophy in India and the historical context in which it emerged. Peter and Jonardon go on to discuss the Vedic literature, focusing especially on the Upanisads with their proposal of the unity of self and world, and the notion of karma. These ideas, and the knowledge claims of the brahmans who feature in the Upanisads, were criticized by the emerging traditions of Buddhism and Jainism. In addition to charting this conflict, these podcasts deal with philosophical ideas in ancient Indian literature, especially the epic Mahabharata. Also to be featured are interviews with guests Laurie Patton, Rupert Gethin, and Jessica Frazier.
    1. Begin at the End: Introduction to Indian Philosophy
      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. Download episode 1
    2. Sages, Schools and Systems: a Historical Overview
      A whirlwind tour of philosophical literature in India. Download episode 2
    3. Kingdom for a Horse: India in the Vedic Period
      The Vedic period sets the historical context of the Upaniṣads, Buddhism and Jainism. Download episode 3
    4. Hide and Seek: The Upanisads
      The ancient texts known as the Upaniṣads claim to expose the hidden connections between things, including the self and the world. Download episode 4
    5. Do it Yourself: Indra’s Search for the Self in the Upaniṣads
      The god Indra seeks to learn the nature of his own self from another god, Prajāpati, and receives an answer worth waiting for. Download episode 5
    6. 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. Download episode 6

Episodes are usually released on every other Saturday and are about 20 minutes long.

To get every episode, the History of Philosophy in India podcast can be subscribed to on iTunes, and further reading and info is at www.historyofphilosophy.net.