Philosophy Research Guide
Choose a topic that is interesting to you and which will work within your assignment's parameters. Usually your research goal is to locate published scholarship (books and journal articles) to read on your topic.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their arguments. When in doubt, check with your Philosophy instructor.
First, read a good summary of a philosophy topic in a philosophy encyclopedia, like those listed in the Books section. Second, once you know the basics on your topic, search for more published scholarship, such as books in the CUNY Catalog or other catalogs.
If you need to critique a particular philosophical text, you can use the CUNY Catalog to search for Companion books, which provide an overview of a philosopher's work, that may contextualize the text you are reading (eg. Cambridge Companion to Plato). Perform a Title Search for Cambridge Companion to, or perform a Keyword Search using the philosopher's name (eg. Aristotle) and the word Companion.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Ref. B51 .E53 2006, 10 vols., 2nd edition.)
- Comprehensive encyclopedia with long essays covering all periods and movements of philosophy. Some of the essays date from the original edition (1967) and have not been revised.
- Great Thinkers of the Western World (Ref. B72 .G74 1992)
- Brief five page summaries of the major ideas and philosophical contributions of 100 Western thinkers.
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Dr. James Fieser & Dr. Bradley Dowden
- New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Ref. CB9 .N49 2005, 6 vols., 2nd edition)
- Best multi-volume encyclopedia on intellectual history. Places ideas and concepts within their historical context. Includes excellent cross-references and reading lists.
- Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Ref B51. O94 1995)
- A dictionary of short entries on terms, concepts, and philosophers. Contains multi-page essays on broad topics, such as philosophical movements and intellectual eras.
- Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Ref B51. R68 1998, 10 vols.)
- Premier reference tool, with extensive essays on concepts, movements, and philosophers. Includes excellent reading lists.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Stanford University
- World Philosophy: Essay Reviews of 225 Major Works (Ref. B29 .W68 1982, 5 vols.)
- For each philosophy text reviewed, the entry includes a brief list of the “Principal Ideas Advanced” at the opening, then a five-page summary of the text, reviews of at least two important critiques of the text, and a short reading list. The critiques and reading list are now somewhat dated.
- CUNY Catalog
- Search for books at the Queens College libraries, as well as other CUNY libraries.
- Library Catalogs
- Search the library catalogs of regional libraries such as the Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library, New York University, Columbia University, etc.
- New York Public Library
- Search CATNYP, the catalog of the research libraries at NYPL. Books at the research libraries are non-circulating and must be consulted on site. NYPL has one of the premier research collections in the country and is open to all New York State residents.
- Search for books in the national catalog for the United States and Canada. Includes holdings from libraries in other parts of the world, primarily European or English-speaking.
Articles (Search Databases)
A journal article is written by a scholar or an expert, and provides a detailed analysis of a topic. It is written in the specialized language of a scholarly discipline (such as Philosophy). It documents the resources the writer used by providing bibliographic citations such as footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography so a reader can check or repeat the research the scholar has completed.
A scholarly journal is edited by scholars, and any article published in the journal has usually been approved by the author's peers or by referees (other scholars expert in the subject who serve as editors or readers and critique the article before it is accepted for publication). This is why most scholarly journals are referred to as a Peer-Reviewed or Refereed journals. Here is a comparison between popular and scholarly periodicals. Use the following databases to search for journal articles on a topic. You can use other Databases depending what topic you are researching.
- Humanities Full Text
- English-language journals in the major humanities fields, such as literature, philosophy, drama. For textual and biographical critiques of an author's life and work. Abstracts to journal articles and citations to book reviews.
- Literature Resource Center
- Full text of summaries, reviews, critiques, biographies from authoritative literary reference books. For textual and biographical critiques of an author's life and work.
- MLA International Bibliography
- Citations to articles from international journals, and to essays in books. Covers literature, philosophy, drama. For textual and biographical critiques of an author's life and work.
- Philosopher's Index
- Scholarly research in major fields of philosophy, such as aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics. Abstracts to journal articles and book essays, and citations to book reviews.
- Sociological Abstracts
- International literature in all topics of sociology, including related social sciences such as philosophy. Covers social theory. Abstracts to journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers, and citations to book reviews.
Journals (Browse E-Journals)
- 25+ core journals in philosophy. Cover-to-cover full-text from a journal's first issue until about five years ago.
- Project Muse
- 20+ journals in philosophy, from 2000-present.
Reports and studies are sometimes available from the major scholarly organizations for the study of philosophy.
- American Philosophical Association
- Aesthetics Online: American Society for Aesthetics
- Ayn Rand Society
- Bertrand Russell Society
- British Society for Ethical Theory
- Hegel Society of America
- International Association for Philosophy and Literature
- International Society for Environmental Ethics
- Radical Philosophy Association
- Society for Philosophy and Psychology
- Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
- Society for Women in Philosophy
- Society of Christian Philosophers
- William James Society
Continue your search for reports, studies, data, statistics, and information by browsing these philosophy web gateways.
- EpistemeLinks: Philosophy Resources on the Internet (Thomas Ryan Stone)
- Erratic Impact: Philosophy Research Base (Dianne Polk, Villanova University)
- Philosophy at Large (University of Liverpool)
- Philosophy Pages (Garth Kemerling)