Introduction to PhilPapers

PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online academic philosophy. To sample the large number of functions associated with PhilPapers, we suggest you try the following:

  • 1. Set up a user account. User accounts are not compulsory, and you can browse PhilPapers listings without one. But creating an account enables many useful functions, including personal reading lists and bibliographies, participation in the discussion forums, submission and editing of items, and much else. Every user has a profile page, which contains lists of the user's works and their areas of interest, among other things, and which can be made public or private as the user chooses.
  • 2. Browse recent work. Via the "New items" menu above, you can browse the latest articles from philosophy journals, from personal websites, from online archives, and from user submissions to the PhilPapers database.
  • 3. Browse older journals. In our journal archive, you can browse all online issues of more than over 1000 philosophy journals in philosophy. If you belong to a university with access to commercial journals but are currently off-campus, you can set up automatic proxy browsing for these journals via a box in the right column of most pages.
  • 4. Browse by area. Philpapers aims to categorize every item into up to three areas of philosophy, according to a fine-grained taxonomy. The "Browse by area" menu takes you to pages for about 40 broad areas of philosophy, falling under five major clusters. From here you can select more fine-grained topics and subtopics. The categorization project is in its early stages, so many items are as yet uncategorized, but you can contribute by categorizing some items yourself, as discussed below.
  • 5. Search for items. You can search for items containing a given keyword via the search box at the top of each page. Via the advanced search page, you can set up much more complex searches. Advanced searches can be saved for later use, can be used to build bibliographies (see below), and can be monitored for new material.
  • 6. Filter displayed items. In most pages of listings, you can filter what is displayed using boxes in the right column. For example, you can choose published work only, or freely available work only. You can also set up your own list of preferred journals and display only items from those journals.
  • 7. Submit items. You can submit items (papers or books) to the PhilPapers database using the "Submit" menu. You can submit a link to an item hosted elsewhere, you can submit information about a published item, and/or (if you have the right to do so) you can submit a file containing the item itself. Note that PhilPapers is largely dedicated to professional-quality work in academic philosophy, and we reserve the right to reject any submissions.
  • 8. Edit items. If you see mistakes in any PhilPapers entry (whether regarding author, title, publication information, or something else), please correct it by clicking "Edit". Most information in PhilPapers is gathered by the automatic harvesting of websites, and some errors are to be expected. We particularly encourage authors to ensure that entries for their own works are correct. All edits will be monitored by PhilPapers editors.
  • 9. Categorize items. As discussed above, we aim to classify each item in PhilPapers in up to three areas of philosophy. Users can help with this process, either by clicking "categorize" under a paper to select fine-grained categories, or by using the categorization tools on the browse-by-area pages. For much more information, see the Categorization Project page.
  • 10. Discuss philosophy. By clicking the "Discuss" button under any paper, you can discuss that paper in our discussion forums. Every item can in principle be the subject of its own forum, typically associated with larger forums devoted to various areas of philosophy. There are also forums for various other topics, including discussion of PhilPapers itself, all available at the forums page. These forums are primarily intended for discussion by professional philosophers and graduate students.
  • 11. Set up bibliographies. In addition to using the public categories, you can set up any number of personal bibliographies into which entries can be filed, by clicking on "File Under" under a given item. You can make these bibliographies available publically if you choose. In addition, clicking "to read" under a given entry will add that entry to your personal reading list.
  • 12. Set up content alerts. You can set up RSS feeds or e-mail alerts for new items satisfying any criteria you choose. To set up such a feed, simply go to a page where those criteria are operative (by using search boxes and/or the filter boxes on the right-hand side of the page), and click on the relevant link in the "monitor this page" box at the bottom right.

For further information about PhilPapers, see: