Philosophers in the Midst of History

This excellent series by Professor Gregory B. Sadler helps put some major thinkers in the Western tradition into historical context. Context is key when attempting to properly interpret a writer’s intentions, motives, influences, and thought processes.

These are video recordings from sessions in a quarterly lecture/discussion series, hosted by the Frank Weyenberg Library. Each of these talks takes a philosopher and places him or her within the historical context informing his or her work and life.

Videos in this series include:

  • Aristotle, Athens, and Alexander the Great
  • Anselm of Canterbury, the Church, and the Normans
  • Rene Descartes, Early Modernity, and the Wars of Religion
  • Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Holocaust
  • Plato, Athenian Democracy, and the Greek Enlightenment
  • Boethius, King Theodoric, and the Middle Ages
  • Thomas Hobbes, English Civil War, and Modern Political Theory
  • Nietzsche, the Apex of the West, and the Threat of Nihilism
  • Cicero, Greek Philosophy, and the Fall of the Roman Church
  • Augustine of Hippo, Struggles in the Church, and Rome’s Fall
  • John Locke, Absolute Monarchy, and Constitutional Government
  • Albert Camus, Absurd World, Resistance to Evil
  • Epictetus, Slavery, Stoicism, and the Roman Empire
  • Thomas Aquinas, Mendicant Orders, and High Middle Ages
  • J-J Rousseau, Barbarism, Civilization, and Revolutions

The video series is ongoing, so expect more to come in the future!

After a decade in traditional academic positions, Dr. Sadler started ReasonIO and began doing philosophical work in more practical contexts. He is an APPA-certified philosophical counselor, a public speaker, an author, an ethics trainer, and an executive coach (among other things!). He is also the editor of Stoicism Today and the producer of the Half Hour Hegel series.

Want to support this public philosophy work? Become a Patreon backer!

Interested in booking Dr. Sadler for a talk, interview, workshop, consultation, or tutoring? Check out ReasonIO!

Should contemporary philosophers read Ockham? Or: what did history ever do for us?

If you are a historian of philosophy, you’ve probably encountered the question whether the stuff you’re working on is of any interest today. It’s the kind of question that awakens all the different souls in your breast at once. Your more enthusiastic self might think, “yes, totally”, while your methodological soul might shout, “anachronism ahead!” And your humbler part might think, “I don’t even understand it myself.” When exposed to this question, I often want to say many things at once, and out comes something garbled. But now I’d like to suggest that there is only one true reply to the main question in the title: “No, that’s the wrong kind of question to ask!” – But of course that’s not all there is to it. So please hear me out…

Read the rest at Handling Ideas, “a blog on (writing) philosophy”

The Map of Philosophy

This video is such an excellent and comprehensive introduction to the various areas of philosophical interest. The narrator explains the intricate relations that each area has with the others. Also included in each section of the video are links to more videos about each specific subject. really did a great job creating this. They are also selling a full-sized poster of the Map of Philosophy on Zazzle.

Description from YouTube: A comprehensive map of all of the disciplines, areas and subdivisions of philosophy. Including logic, History of philosophy, philosophical traditions, value theory, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of action, ethics, aesthetics, social philosophy, political philosophy, philosophical methods and more! This video breaks down and offers a brief explanation of each area of study, and should serve as a good introduction for beginners, a solid refresher for journeymen and a cool illustration for experts. Enjoy!

map-of-philosophy also maintains a website with videos and more. The website has an interesting stated goal:

“ was created with the simple purpose of searching for knowledge.  The hope is to provide a place for anyone to submit beliefs and arguments for consideration and then subject those beliefs to rigorous criticism with the intent of finding those arguments which can withstand a skeptical eye.  Renowned and amateur arguments alike will be put to the test with the hope that some may pass. does not assent to or endorse any beliefs, but rather cultivates a disposition to seek wisdom through rigorous argument.  In true skeptical fashion, suspension of judgement is encouraged whenever certain knowledge is unattainable.  An attempt will be made to find ways to doubt and challenge any and all arguments, beliefs, positions, or conclusions.”

You can find them on twitter at @CarneadesCyrene.


A Taxonomic Map of Philosophy