This month I have been mostly listening to Peter Adamson’s podcast History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. I have posted on this before, when I first started, and Adamson was still on Greek thinkers. Since then the podcast has powered on, through the Islamic world, through Medieval Christendom (reaching the end of the 14th century recently, at episode 300). Side series covering India, the Byzantines and pre-colonial Africa are also ongoing.
I’m not up to date on all that. I listened to the show until the 12th century and then realised I had got lost about the universals and the forms of logic. This month I borrowed Anthony Kenny’s A New History of Western Philosophy from the library – the second volume on the Medieval stuff and I’ve been working through.
Kenny writes clearly with just enough conciseness and just enough general interest to get the basic concepts across. Adamson presents a lot of context and some difficult ideas through running jokes and analogies – Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers, his non-existent sister and a giraffe called Hiawatha all feature regularly. I won’t pretend to have mastered Aquinas, but I’ve enjoyed both of these anyway, and repeated listening after some extra-curricular reading seems to be the way forward.