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Philosophy: A Research Guide: Philosophy Reference

Includes print titles in the Olin Library reference collection, titles shelved in the general stacks, and online reference materials. Search or browse the our Catalog and Databases for more titles. Click on the TABS to see each topic.

Selected Philosophy Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Other Reference Sources

Five Core Reference Sources:

Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Borchet, Donald M., ed.
10 print vols. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006.
(Online; print version at Olin Ref B 51 .E56 2006 +)

Containing material from hundreds of highly distinguished contributors representing the world's top universities and institutions, the second edition has a truly global perspective.

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
Honderish, Ted, ed.
2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
(Online; print version at Olin Ref B 51 .O94 2005)

"Two hundred forty-nine contributors create the most authoritative and engaging philosophical reference work in English. It gives clear and reliable guidance to all areas of philosophy and to the ideas of all notable philosophers from antiquity to the present day. The scope of the volume is not limited to English-language philosophy: it surveys the foremost philosophy from all parts of the world. The book covers philosophical topics from animal souls, arthritis in the thigh, and brain in a vat to Zoroastrianism and vague objects. There are more than fifty extended entries of 3,000 words on the main areas of philosophy and the great philosophers." (Publisher).

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
Blackburn, Simon.
3rd ed., revised. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
(Online; print version of the 2nd ed. at Olin Ref B 41 .B53 2005)

This dictionary is meant to be a "resource for anyone interested in general intellectual movements." (Preface). It contains definitions to over 3000 philosophical terms and those from related disciplines (theology, physics, psychology, sociology) "where such terminology is heavily embedded in philosophical discussion." (Preface). It also includes historical philosophers and scientists whose work brought about major changes in philosophical thought. The definitions contain extensive cross-references.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Craig, Edward, ed.
10 print vols. London; New York: Routledge, 1998
(Online; print version at Olin Ref B 51 .R68 1998)

The Routledge Encyclopedia's coverage of ethics is noticeably better, making this a first choice for ethicists. Articles are followed by brief bibliographies. An excellent resource. The online version can be browsed by philosophical themes, philosophies, historical periods, and religions. Full text entries can be searched by keyword, title, contributor, or bibliography.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Craig, Edward, ed.
Stanford University, 1997- .
(Online only)

"[E]ach entry is maintained and kept up-to-date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and substantive updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public. Consequently, our dynamic reference work maintains academic standards while evolving and adapting in response to new research. You can cite fixed editions that are created on a quarterly basis and stored in our Archives (every entry contains a link to its complete archival history, identifying the fixed edition the reader should cite). The Table of Contents lists entries that are published or assigned." (About the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)



Additional Reference Sources in Philosophy:

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
Audi, Robert, ed.
Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
(Olin Ref B 41 .C35x 1999)

Comprehensive and up-to-date survey of ideas and thinkers written by an international team of 436 contributors. Includes the most comprehensive entries on major philosophers, 400 new entries including over 50 on pre-eminent contemporary philosophers, extensive coverage of rapidly developing fields such as the philosophy of mind and applied ethics, more entries on non-Western philosophy than any comparable volume, and increased coverage of Continental philosophy.

The Columbia History of Western Philosophy
Popkin, Richard H., ed.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
(Olin Ref B72 .P55x 1999 +; second copy in the Olin Stacks)

Origins of Western philosophic thinking -- Medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy -- Medieval Christian philosophy -- The Renaissance -- Seventeenth-century philosophy -- Eighteenth-century philosophy -- Nineteenth-century philosophy -- Twentieth-century analytic philosophy -- Twentieth-century continental philosophy. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Diccionario de filosofia
Mora, Jose Ferrater
4 Vols. 6th ed. Madrid: Alianza, 1979.
(Olin Ref B 45 .F37 1979)

The Diccionario is a standard reference work throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Dictionary of Continental Philosophy
Protevi, John, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
(Olin Ref B 41 .D46 2006)

Over 450 definitions and articles by an international team of specialists. Special care has been taken to explain complex ideas, methods, and figures.

A Dictionary of Philosophy
Lacey, Alan R.
3rd ed. London: Routledge, 1996.
(Olin Ref B 41 .L13 1996)

This third edition provides an informed introduction to the key issues, concepts and perspectives of philosophy.

A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations
Ayer, A.J. and Jane O'Grady
Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1992.
(Olin Ref B 21 .D54 1992z)

Includes quotations from over 300 western philosophers.

Directory of American Philosophers
Bahm, Archie J., ed.
Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1962 - .
(Latest edition in Olin Ref B 935 .D59; 1964/65 to next-to-latest edition in Olin Stacks B 935 .D59 +

"[T]he most comprehensive source of information on philosophical activity in North America in either print or electronic formats." (Publisher).

The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy
Glendinning, Simon, ed.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.
( Online; print version at Olin Stacks B 804 .E43x 1999 +)

"Provides extensive coverage of all the key thinkers, from Kant, Hegel, and Sartre, to Derrida and Baudrillard. Its scope is broad, ranging from Classical Idealism through Existentialism, Phenomenology, and Psychoanalysis, to Structuralism and Post Structuralism." (Publisher).

Enciclopedia Filosofica
6 vols. 2nd ed., interamente rielaborata. Firenze: G. C. Sansoni, 1968.
(Olin Ref B 44 .E56 1968 +)

Handsome illustrated production. Includes Oriental philosophy and philosophers, with emphasis on western philosophy.

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics
Kelly, Michael, ed.
4 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
(Olin Ref BH 56 .E53x 1998 +)

The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics surveys the full breadth of critical thought on art, culture, and society--from classical philosophy to contemporary critical theory. It includes cross references, bibliographies, and an index.

Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics
Chadwick, Ruth, ed.
4 Vols. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998.
(Olin Ref BJ 63 .E44x 1998 +)

A multi-disciplinary guide to the application of ethical principles in a wide variety of areas, including medicine, science, the environment, law, education, politics, business, media, social services, and society. Among the many specific issues addressed are animal research, infertility, biodiversity, vegetarianism, capital punishment, jury conduct, political correctness, gun control, broadcast journalism, disability rights, racism, and transsexualism. Signed entries are generally lengthy, and provide issue-specific glossaries as well as secondary references. A number of entries also define ethical theories and concepts.

Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy
Zeyl, Donald J., Daniel T. Devereaux and Phillip T. Mitsis, eds.
4 vols. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998.
(Olin Ref B 163 .E53x 1997; second copy in the Olin Stacks)

"The only encyclopedia in English specific to the field of Classical Philosophy, this work presents 270 articles on major and minor figures and on topics of importance to the philosophy of Greek and Roman antiquity." (Publisher).
Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy. 2nd ed. 2006.
(online; print version: Mann Library GE42 .E53 2009)

Articles address all aspects of environmenal ethics.


Encyclopedia of Ethics
Becker Lawrence C., and Charlotte B. Becker, eds.
3 vols. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2001.
(Olin Ref BJ 63 .E45x 2001 +; second copy in Olin Stacks)

The Encyclopedia of Ethics provides general, cross disciplinary scope, very theory based. Articles are signed with lists of references.

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Edwards, Paul, ed.
8 vols. New York: MacMillan, l967, plus supplement, 1996.
(Olin Stacks B51 .E56 and other locations)

The earlier edition of the 2006 title listed in Core Resources above. The work contains nearly 1,500 lengthy articles of value for the specialist as well as for the beginner.

Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon
Peters, F. E.
New York: New York University Press, 1967.
(Olin Ref B 49 .P47, also second copy in Olin Stacks at B 49 .P48)

Greek philosophical terms, transliterated into English spelling, with notes on their use by writers from Homer to Proclus.

Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie
Ritter, Joachim, ed.
12 vols. Basel: Schwabe, 1971-2004.
(Olin Ref B 43 .H67 +)

Covers philosophy as well as selected terms and concepts in individual scientific disciplines.

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics 

LaFollett, Hugh, ed.

9 vols. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

This set comprises over 700 entries, written by an international cast of subject experts.

Vocabulaire Technique et Critique de la Philosophie
Lalande, André
10th ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968.
(Olin Ref B 49 .L19 V8 1968)

Set of very carefully selected quotations from the works of great classical and modern philosophers defining their usage, or interpretation, of philosophical terms.


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