Note: This provisional syllabus is illustrative, not exhaustive! It is subject to change, as it serves to guide my planning and your expectations! Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions, criticisms, and ideas!

1.     The Liberal Arts   ✔     Listen

2.     Western Civilization, The Dialectic, and our Syllabus   ✔     Listen [UNDER REVISION!] 

2.1     C&C – Written Language and Academic Idealism   ✔     Listen

3.     A Primer on Logic   ✔     Listen

3.1     C&C – Rhetoric   ✔     Listen

4.     History and Historiography   ✔     Listen

5.     Paleolithic Man   ✔     Listen

6.     The Neolithic Revolution & Climate Change   ✔     Listen

7.     Mythistory & Comparative Mythology   ✔     Listen

7.1     C&C – Four River Valleys and Civilization   ✔     Listen

8.     Ancient China: Xia to Han   ✔     Listen

9.     Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism   ✔     Listen

10.     Indus, Aryans, and India   ✔     Listen

11.     Hinduism, its Literature, and Intro to Religion   ✔     Listen

12.     Buddhism   ✔     Listen

13.     Introduction to Egypt   ✔     Listen

13.1     C&C – Memorial Day Update   ✔     Listen

14.     Mesopotamia: Sumerians to Chaldeans   ✔     Listen

15.     The Epic of Gilgamesh   ✔     Listen

16.     The Ancient Hebrews & Monotheism   ✔     Listen [UNDER REVISION!] 

17.     The Book of Job and The Problem of Evil   ✔     Listen

18.     The Hebrew Bible: Genesis   ✔     Listen [UNDER REVISION!] 

18.1     C&C – Fourth of July Update   ✔     Listen

19.     Minoans & Mycenaeans   ✔     Listen

20.     Homer and the Epic   ✔     Listen [UNDER REVISION!] 

21.     Greek Mythology and The Odyssey   ✔     Listen

22.     Greek Warfare   ✔     Listen

23.     Polis, Politics, and Persians   ✔     Listen

24.     The Persian War   ✔     Listen

24.1     C&C – Cyrus, Cambyses, and Persia   ✔     Listen

25.     Greek Drama & Aristotle’s Poetics   ✔     Listen

26.     Introduction to Western Philosophy   ✔     Listen

27.     Pre-Socratic Philosophers: The Ionians   ✔     Listen

28.     Pre-Socratic Philosophers: Italian Rationalists   ✔     Listen

28.1     C&C – More Parmenides, Xenophanes   ✔     Listen

29.     Pre-Socratic Philosophers: Atomists and Pluralists   ✔     Listen

30.     The Sophists, Skepticism, and Relativism   ✔     Listen

31.     Socrates   ✔     Listen

32.     Plato: Biography and Introduction   ✔     Listen [LOW QUALITY – SCHEDULED FOR RE-RECORDING!]

33.     Plato’s Metaphysics: The Theory of Forms   ✔     Listen [LOW QUALITY – SCHEDULED FOR RE-RECORDING!]

34.     Plato’s Allegory of the Cave   ✔     Listen

35.     Plato’s Epistemology and Religion   ✔     Listen

35.1     C&C – Mail, Shout-Outs, and More   ✔     Listen

36.     The Peloponnesian War: Sparta & Thucydides   ✔     Listen

37.     The Peloponnesian War: Lessons Learned   ✔     Listen

38.     Alexander the Great   ✔     Listen

39.     Introduction to Aristotle   ✔     Listen

40.     Aristotle on Forms and Knowledge   ✔     Listen

41.     Aristotle on God, Cosmology, and Ethics   ✔     Listen

42.     Origins of Political & Economic Thought, Part 1   ✔     Listen

43.     Origins of Political & Economic Thought, Part 2   ✔     Listen

44.     Hellenistic Philosophy   ✔     Listen

44.1     C&C – New Microphone – Shout Outs   ✔     Listen

45.     Introduction to Rome   ✔     Listen

46.     Roman Government   ✔     Listen

47.     Roman Patronage, Warfare, and Virtues   ✔     Listen

48.     Roman Expansion to the Punic Wars   ✔     Listen

49.     Syracuse, the Third Punic War, and Aftermath   ✔     Listen

50.     Last Days of the Roman Republic, Part 1   ✔     Listen

50.1     SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!   ✔     Listen

51.     Last Days of the Roman Republic, Part 2   ✔     Listen

52.     Last Days of the Roman Republic, Part 3   ✔     Listen

53.     Virgil’s Aeneid   ✔     Listen

53.1     C&C – Podcast Shoutouts   ✔     Listen

54.     Souls and Cities   ✔     Listen

55.     Republic Revisited, Book 1   ✔     Listen

56.     Republic Revisited, Book 2   ✔     Listen

XX.     Context of Early Christianity

XX.     Life of Jesus

The New Testament: Gospel of Matthew

Spread of Christianity

Early Christian Writers

Late Roman Empire
~ 3rd Century Crisis
~ Constantine to the 4th Century
~ Early Medieval Political and Religious Structures
~ Barbarian and Roman Transformations

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Philo and Middle Platonism

Plotinus and Neoplatonism

Augustine, Biography: Confessions

Augustine, Legacy: City of God

Early Middle Ages / Feudalism

Arthur, Beowulf, and Bede

The Heirs of the Roman Empire:
~ Frankish / Germanic Kingdoms
~ The Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire
~ Islam

A Tale of Three Cities: Constantinople, Byzantium, & Istanbul
~ Question “Did Rome Ever Fall?”
~ The Byzantine Empire

Life of Mohammad

The Rise of Islam

Islamic Art, Literature, and Philosophy
~ The 1001 Arabian Nights

~ Clovis to Martel
~ Pepin to Charlemagne

Medieval History [Parts?]


The Crusades

The Monastic Tradition
~ Medieval Art, Music, and Chant
~ Scholasticism and the Medieval Synthesis

Medieval Philosophers [Parts?]
~ Eriugena
~ Conceptualism
~ Scotus
~ William of Occam

St. Anselm

Spanish Literature
~ Cervantes’ Don Quixote
~ Et al.

The Vikings, Norse Mythology, & Eddas

Norman Conquest of England

The Medieval University

The Magna Carta and Origins of Constitution

Genghis Khan and the Mongols

Thomas Aquinas

Marco Polo: What’s China Been Up To?

The Ottoman Empire

Dante’s Divine Comedy

The Plague

Boccaccio’s The Decameron

Chaucer & The Canterbury Tales

The Hundred Years War
~ Joan of Arc

The War of the Roses

Henry the VIII

Transition to Modernity: A Revolutionary Roadmap
~ Early Modern Intellectual Overhauls
~ The Age of Discovery
~ The Renaissance
~ The Protestant Reformation
~ The Enlightenment
~ The Scientific Revolution

The Age of Discovery [Parts]
~ New World Civilizations
~ De Las Casas

The Renaissance [Parts]

The Protestant Reformation [Parts]

The Enlightenment [Parts]

The Scientific Revolution [Parts]

Machiavelli’s The Prince

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!
~ 1492
~ Expulsion of the Jews

Thomas More and Utopia Revisited
~ Compare to Republic, New Atlantis

Queen Elizabeth I
~ The Spanish Armada
~ Origins of the British Empire

Edward Spenser’s Faerie Queene

William Shakespeare
~ Bastard Prince Theory
~ Committee Theory

Tragedy: Hamlet

Comedy: Twelfth Night

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Faustus, M.D.

Luther and the Reformation
~ Preceding History (Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, etc.)
~ Tour of Christian Denominations

The Medicis of Florence

The Thirty Years’ War

Catholics, Huguenots, and the Edict of Nantes

Francis Bacon
~ Shakespeare Theory
~ The Scientific Method

Seventeeth-Century Rationalism
~ Descartes
~ Baruch Spinoza
~ G. W. Leibniz

Descartes, and Dualism, and Theories of Mind
~ Dualism
~ Epiphenomenalism
~ Emergent Materialism
~ Neuroscience
~ John Searle paper

Oliver Cromwell

English Reformation and the Glorious Revolution
~ Supremacy of Parliament
~ Lex over Rex
~ Legacy and implications

Thomas Hobbes
~ Leviathan
~ Hobbesian Political Legacy

Reformation Era Literature
~ Donne
~ Herbert
~ Milton’s Paradise Lost
~ Areopagitica

John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

Blaise Pascal

Copernicus, Galileo, Brahe, Kepler, Newton

An Introduction to Astronomy

Mental Math: Leibniz and Newton
~ Euthyphro Revisited

Baroque Masters
~ Bach
~ Handel
~ Vivaldi, et al.

Royalty-Free Music Episode I: Baroque Period

The Enlightenment [Parts 1-2-3?]
~ Jonathan Israel’s Radical Enlightenment Paradigm
~ Diderot’s Encyclopedia
~ Legacy
~ Politics, The Social Contract, and the State of Nature
~ ~ Hobbes
~ ~ Locke
~ ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

British Empiricism [Parts 1-2-3?]
~ Locke
~ Berkeley
~ Hume – Skepticism

Immanuel Kant [Parts?]
~ Epistemology
~ Ethics, Categorical Imperative
~ Implications in Neuroscience (paper)

Adam Smith
~ Ricardo’s Comparative Advantage

Economics 101

The Social Contract from Hobbes to Locke
~ States of Nature
~ Hobbes
~ Rousseau
~ Locke

The American Colonies [Parts]

American Political Thought & Founding Documents [Parts?]
~ Folk Right vs. Noble Privilege
~ The English Common Law
~ The Magna Carta
~ Continental Idealism vs. British Realism, Hobbes
~ Learning from Greek Democracy and the Roman Republic
~ Institutional Design – Federalist Papers
~ Inefficiency vs Tyranny of the Majority

~ Institutional Virtue
~ Separation of powers / imperium

Common vs. Civil Law: Compare and Contrast

Political Science 101
~ The Median Voter Theorem
~ Duverger’s Law –> 2-Party System

Benjamin Franklin, a word on Self-Education
~ Case Study: Benjamin Franklin
~ Such a boss
~ The Junta
~ Public Domain Resources
~ The Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin

Agricultural Revolution

What’s Russia Been Up To?

Royalty-Free Music Episode II: Classical Period

Beethoven Biography

9th Symphony: The Complete Fourth Movement with Commentary

Jonathan Swift

Continental Drama

The French Revolution


Alexander Dumas

Late Modernity: An Outline of “isms”
~ Social Darwinism
~ Racism
~ Nationalism
~ Imperialism
~ Communism / Marxism
~ Fascism
~ Post-Modernism

G. W. F. Hegel [Parts?]

DeTocqueville’s Democracy in America

The Industrial Revolution


Karl Marx [Parts?]
~ Socialism
~ Communism
~ Neo-Marxism
~ Merits & Criticisms
~ Marx as History
~ E. O. Wilson


She Blinded Me With Science! [Many Parts]
~ Farraday, Kelvin, Pasteur, Lyell, Lister, Jenner, Holmes, Maxwell, &al.
~ Dalton (Throwback to Leucippus and Democritus)
~ Wohler
~ Medicine: Hippocrates to Harrison


The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire [Parts?]

Soren Kierkegaard [Parts?]

Charles Darwin & Natural Selection
~ NOT = Social Darwinism

The American Civil War

The Progressive Era

Friedrich Nietzsche
~ Bio
~ The Parable of the Madman – God is Dead
~ Nihilism
~ Transvaluation of Values
~ The Übermensch and the Will to Power

Nietzsche’s Legacy
~ Rust Cohle Philosophy
~ Reactions – Avoiding Nihilism: Existentialism, Anti-realism

Freud and Friends

Introduction to Psychology

World War I [Parts?]

Hemingway & the Lost Generation

The Interbellum Period

World War II [Many Parts]

Ethics of a “Just War”

Albert Einstein

Dystopian Literature
~ Orwell
~ Huxley
~ Bradbury

~ Foucault
~ Literary Deconstruction
~ Derrida
~ Explosion of Critical Theories
~ Richard Rory

Bertrand Russell

~ Heidegger
~ Sartre

Ayn Rand & Objectivism

The State of the Field / Future Directions:
~ Classical Studies
~ History
~ Music
~ Philosophy
~ Modern Languages
~ Literature, Critical Theory
~ Religion
~ Mathematics
~ Social Sciences
~ Physical Sciences
~ Life Sciences

Emergent Properties

In Conclusion / Great Themes /
Humanity’s Future Challenges /
Stakes of Cultural Illiteracy

Comments (12)

  1. A

    hello. I am glad I found this and your podcast. I am just wondering if you are going to deal with the origin of anglo saxon and celt / european people / caucasian. and if they are related to the lost tribe of Israel. and the origin of european monarchy as well.
    I think you are doing a great job and thank you for all this!

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Hi, A,
      Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for listening!

      As for the origins of the Celts, I was planning on doing a brief survey of Celtic history and mythology much later, where I could possibly work in some of their alleged origins based on linguistic analysis. As for the Anglo-Saxons (the Angles and Saxons being Germanic tribes), I will probably give them an even more thorough treatment, seeing as so much of the Anglo-American culture and its institutions can be traced back to these peoples’ tribal practices.

      As for Caucasian Europeans in general, that’s a very culturally and historically diverse bunch! We’ll probably start with the Mediterranean civilizations before moving on to Greece and Rome, and then see how the Roman latifundia system transitions into Feudal Europe during the Dark Ages. I’ve never heard of any theories about the lost tribes of Israel, but I do believe that bronze age proto-Germanic and proto-Celtic tribes, as well as people from the Caucasus, had settled in Europe long before Israel fell to the Assyrians. (Try this article, here.)

      Does that more or less answer your question? I’m looking forward to more European history, too!

      Best wishes,

  2. Matthew M.

    This syllabus is fantastic in its breadth for a podcast. I will be looking forward to following your program over the years as the content is great.

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Thank you very much! I’ll look forward to hearing any syllabus suggestions that you may have!

  3. Anon

    Hi can you please create an RSS feed for these podcast episodes so they can be subscibed to and used
    in podcast programs such as gPodder?
    Thank you and thank for putting these podcasts together!

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Sure! I’ve added a “Subscribe to RSS Feed” button to the homepage. You can also subscribe by going to Thanks for listening!

  4. Ross

    What a lofty goal! The podcast is great, just finished “job and the problem of evil” that alternate view at the end there…. Blew. My. Mind. Really looking forward to listening to all of these. You are providing a real service and a real quality podcast, please don’t give it up. The future episodes in the syllabus sound very very interesting. Thank you sir.

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Thanks, Ross! It blew my mind, too, when I heard it. (Spine-chilling!) I’m looking forward to getting back to recording. Thanks for sticking with it!

  5. Scott Chester

    Hi Will. I recently discovered your podcast via Sharyn Eastaugh. I’m really enjoying it. I think I’m caught up to the 53 episode and wondering when you’re going to resume. Also wondering when you’re going to post the revised episode of #2(I think?) and the episode on the Hebrews and the Old Testament. You’re doing a great job and it really benefits a guy like me who is more interested in learning now than when I was younger! Thanks, Scott

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Hi Scott, thanks for the message! I’ll be sure to get the revisions up shortly after the holidays. Work has been crazy, but I do intend to keep making new episodes. They may come slower, but they will come! Thanks again, Will

  6. Alex

    You sir, I must pay homage to for such a worthy endeavor. Listened to your first episode & I love it! I’ve always wanted to acquire a Great Books Program education, which is very costly, but this is the next best thing. Thanks for providing access to such a fine & badly needed education to us all!

    1. Will Webb (Post author)

      Alex, thanks for the kinds words, and thanks for listening! I hope I can live up to that standard in some measure. Don’t hesitate to write in with feedback! Best, Will


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