Table of Contents
The Top Picks – “P” Is for Pithy
From historical minds like Marcus Aurelius, female philosophers like Hannah Arendt, and modern thinkers like Nigel Warburton and Sam Harris, these philosophy podcasts cover a wide range of topics that can inspire you and challenge how you see and interact with the world.
“Knowledge Expert” Melvyn Bragg discusses the history of ideas in this compelling podcast that covers the most salient topics in philosophy, science, religion, and culture. It is hosted on the BBC Radio platform in the UK. Each episode draws on a different historical concept or moment, and Bragg runs through the content with integrity and historical accuracy.
Superstar writer, thinker, and neuroscientist Sam Harris hosts this philosophy podcast, a complete lesson in modernity covering the most controversial ideas and issues of our time. Harris infuses the show with rationalism, subscribing to the belief that there is a logical progression that causally connects events and ideas. He draws on his experience as a leading philosopher to make sense of what’s happening in our world. A much-needed podcast, indeed.
This podcast was founded and hosted by four podcasters who set out to make a living being philosophers and then thought better of it. What came about from their deviation is a rich and robust show that features a different concept in philosophy in every episode. The show’s name is derived from Socrates’ famous quotation “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Formatted as an informal roundtable discussion, the podcast is sure to inspire and generate questions in its listeners as much as it provides answers.
Peter Adamson, a philosophy professor at King’s College London and LMU in Munich, hosts this spectacular podcast. This show chronicles a complete history of philosophical thought back to Ancient Greece and Rome. It covers all of the major philosophers as well as lesser-known figures. It also encompasses a wide geographical terrain, from Africa to India to the West.
In association with the University of Chicago and Emergent Ventures, Elucidations Podcast is hosted by Matt Teichman. Teichman sits down for a conversation with diverse guests every episode and discusses a big idea in philosophical thought. Some of his guests are philosophy professors or professors in other domains, but others are experts in different fields. It’s a very guest- and conversation-centric show that examines the dynamic makeup of unique perspectives.
This philosophy podcast, hosted by expert David Rutledge, is a foray into the vast and interconnected web of logic, metaphysics, and ethics. This weekly podcast is still in its infancy stages, but well worth your while for the specificity of its contents.
Very Bad Wizards is another unique and content-specific podcast hosted by philosopher Tamler Summers and psychologist David Pizarro. They cover pop culture, ethics, and cognitive science – an interdisciplinary field that studies the human brain and mind. Their focus is on morality from philosophical and neuroscientific viewpoints, both uniquely and in their overlap.
Contrary to its ironic name, Bad Philosophy is more of a well-reasoned examination of the nature of modern life and how mass digitization has influenced it. The show is hosted by two superb thinkers, Stephen Torrence and Kevin Saunders.
This podcast, hosted in partnership with Stanford University, celebrates the examined life. Its hosts are Stanford professors with a wealth of experience and knowledge about current and past philosophical history. It challenges listeners to “question their assumptions,” dive into their imaginations, and use reason to navigate complex philosophical topics.
Host David Runciman explores how philosophy and politics intertwine in modern life in this spectacular podcast. From Hobbes to Gandhi, John Locke to Karl Marx, this show challenges listeners to explore the philosophical underpinnings of how governance and politics are structured. Check it out if you want to be more informed about the structures and systems that make society function.
Philosophy is essential because Socratically speaking, knowing “why” and asking “how” are some of the most salient questions we as citizens of the body politic can ask. It’s also crucial because knowledge is power, and being empowered to understand systems at a deeper level and the people whose ideas gave rise to those systems is relevant to a rapidly shifting societal landscape.
Consider checking out these podcasts for a different aspect and dimension of philosophical inquiry. We highly recommend them as valuable tools to understand ourselves, our minds, and our relationships with one another in more profound ways.