88 Philosophy Podcasts to Help You Answer the Big Questions in Life

The big ques­tions of phi­los­o­phy, sim­mer­ing since antiq­ui­ty, still press upon us as they did the Athe­ni­ans of old (and all ancient peo­ple who have phi­los­o­phized): what oblig­a­tions do we real­ly owe to fam­i­ly, friends, or strangers? Do we live as free agents or beings con­trolled by fate or the gods (or genes or a com­put­er sim­u­la­tion)? What is a good life? How do we cre­ate soci­eties that max­i­mize free­dom and hap­pi­ness (or what­ev­er ulti­mate val­ues we hold dear)? What is lan­guage, what is art, and where did they come from?

These ques­tions may not be answered with a brute appeal to facts, though with­out sci­ence we are grop­ing in the dark. Reli­gion takes big ques­tions seri­ous­ly but tells con­verts to take its super­nat­ur­al answers on faith. “Between the­ol­o­gy and sci­ence there is a No Man’s Land,” writes Bertrand Rus­sell, “exposed to attack from both sides; this No Man’s Land is phi­los­o­phy.” Phi­los­o­phy reach­es beyond cer­tain­ty, to “spec­u­la­tions on mat­ters as to which def­i­nite knowl­edge has, so far, been unascer­tain­able.” And yet, like sci­ence, “it appeals to human rea­son rather than author­i­ty.”

The con­cerns of phi­los­o­phy have nar­rowed since Russell’s time, not to men­tion the time of Socrates, put to death for lead­ing the youth astray. But pro­fes­sors of phi­los­o­phy still raise the ire of the pub­lic, accused of seduc­ing stu­dents from the safe spaces of sacred dog­ma and sec­u­lar util­i­ty. “To study phi­los­o­phy,” wrote Cicero, “is noth­ing but to pre­pare one­self to die.” It is a poet­ic turn of phrase, and yes, we must con­front mor­tal­i­ty, but phi­los­o­phy also asks us to con­front the lim­its of human knowl­edge and pow­er in the face of the unknown. Dan­ger­ous indeed.

Should you decide to embark on this jour­ney your­self, you will meet with no small num­ber of fel­low trav­el­ers along the way. Bring some ear­phones, you can hear them in the trove of 88 phi­los­o­phy pod­casts com­piled on the phi­los­o­phy web­site Dai­ly Nous. “How many phi­los­o­phy pod­casts are there?” asks Dai­ly Nous, who brings us this list. “Over 80, and they take a vari­ety of forms.” See 15 below, with descrip­tions, see the rest at Dai­ly Nous, and enjoy your sojourn into “no man’s land.”

See the full list here. And explore our col­lec­tion of 200 Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es here.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Learn Phi­los­o­phy with a Wealth of Free Cours­es, Pod­casts and YouTube Videos

Oxford’s Free Intro­duc­tion to Phi­los­o­phy: Stream 41 Lec­tures

Dis­cov­er the Cre­ative, New Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast Hi-Phi Nation: The First Sto­ry-Dri­ven Show About Phi­los­o­phy

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Kolby Granville says:

    This a won­der­ful list! We have lis­tened to, and love, many of these pod­casts, but you left us out! If you get a chance, maybe check­out our bi-week­ly pod­cast, After Din­ner Con­ver­sa­tion (www.afterdinnerconversation.com/podcastlinks)

    We dis­cuss orig­i­nal short sto­ries with a focus on the ethics and philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions the sto­ry brings up.

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