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This research guide identifies materials for basic and advanced research in philosophy. It lists a variety of sources, including databases, reference works, and Internet sites useful for the study of philosophy.

About Reference Sources

Reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks provide summary and factual information. These sources generally contain well established knowledge and can provide a basic understanding on which to build. Use reference sources to:

> Find basic concepts of a topic;

> Get historical context and relationships to other topics;

> Identify and define special terms used to discuss the topic; or

> Find or verify data, facts, formulas, etc.

Basic Reference Sources

"Written by a team of more than 550 experts and now widely translated, it contains approximately 5,000 entries ranging from short definitions to longer articles. It is designed to facilitate the understanding of philosophy at all levels and in all fields" (publisher's description). Contains entries of philosophers, philosophy-related terms, and subfields of philosophy. With very few exceptions it does not include entries on philosophers living at time of publication, 2015. The Index of Selected Names identifies individuals not having headword entries but whose names appear in the text of other entries.
Dictionary of Logical Term and Symbols
Main Library Reference QA 9 .G698
According to the preface, the primary objective of this source is to "present compactly, concisely, and side by side a variety of notational systems currently used by logicians, computer scientists, and engineers. Includes a glossary of logical terms.
Entries are drawn from West African, Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Latin American, Maori, and Native American philosophy.
"Reflecting the 'movements-based' nature of the Continental tradition, the Encyclopedia begins with the founding texts of Classical Idealism, and each subsequent chapter, in order of their emergence, the schools of thought that make up and characterize this distinctive and important tradition of philosophy" (preface).
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2d ed.
Main Library Reference BH 56 .E53 2014
Features 815 articles by distinguished scholars from many fields and countries. A comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts -- from paitng and sculpture to literature, music, theater, dance, television, film, and popular culture.
The 376 chapters fall into the following subject categories: Applied Ethics; Bioethics; Computers and Information Management; Economics/Business; Environmental Ethics; Ethics and Politics; Legal; Medical Ethics; Philosophy/Theories; Social; and Social/Media. Each article features suggested readings pointing to additional sources for more information, a list of related websites, a 5-10 word glossary and a definition paragraph, and cross-references to related articles in the Encyclopedia.
Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy
Main Library Reference B 121 .E53 2001
Alphabetically arranged entries range from ancient times through the twentieth century and include individuals (Gandhi, Mencius), schools of thought (Kagyu, Yoga), texts (Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads), and concepts (free will,, subject and object). Topics are drawn from the traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Shinto, and Zoroastrianism.
Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3d ed.
Main Library Reference QH 332 .E52 2004
An interdisciplinary, multi-volume work covering not only philosophical aspects, but also the historical, theological, scientific, and legal ramifications of a wide variety of bioethical topics and issues. The 464 essays were written by 437 scholars. Volume 5 contains an appendix of  "Codes, Oaths, and Directives Related to Bioethics." Use the index in volume 5 to identify specific topics and individuals.
Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy
Main Library Reference B 163 .E53 1997
"Presents 270 articles on major and minor figures and on topics of importance to the philosophy of Greek and Roman antiquity" (Credo Reference description).
Encyclopedia of Empiricism
Main Library Reference B 816 .E53 1997
"Entries on key figures, topics, and doctrines examine Empiricism both as a specific movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, and as a broader tendency that reflects the influence of various forms of empirical thought throughout history. Entries include extensive cross-referencing and brief bibliographies" (publisher's description).
"...covers all areas of philosophy in the Middle Ages and part of the Renaissance, ranging from 500 to 1500 CE. It contains general entries on medieval philosophers and medieval philosophies and on the key terms and concepts in the subject area, but it also provides more in-depth details and analyses of particular theories" (publisher's description).
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Main Library Reference B 51 .E53 2000
Aims to cover "the full spectrum of philosophical topics" (preface). Nearly 1,500 signed articles —about 900 of them on individual philosophers —were contributed by an international group of scholars. Volume 10 includes an index to the set.
Encyclopedia of Semiotics
Main Library Reference P 99 .E64 1998
"A comprehensive reference guide to concepts in semiotics, sign theory, and cultural studies. Three hundred entries by leading scholars in a variety of fields —from anthropology and literary theory to linguistics and philosophy —survey the study of signs and symbols in human culture. The articles cover key concepts, theories, theorists, schools of thought, and issues in communications, cognition, and cultural theory" (publisher's description).
Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
Main Library Reference B 802 .E53 2003
Contains over 700 signed articles by scholars which examine Western society from the rise of Descartes' disciples in 1670 to the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Topical outline in volume 1; subject index in volume 4.
The International Encyclopedia of Ethics
Main Library Reference BJ 63 .I58 2013
A nine-volume set comprised of over 700 alphabetical entries, ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 words in length, written by an international roster of subject experts. Alphabetical list of entries in volume 1; subject index in volume 9.
The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences
Main Library Reference BF 311 .M556 1999
Contains 471 essays, arranged alphabetically, relating to mind and cognition, including philosophy, psychology, neurosciences, computational intelligence, linguistics and language, and culture and cognition. Each entry has an extensive list of reference and/or further readings. Name and subject indexes.
New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
Main Library Reference CB 9 .N49 2005
While not confined to philosophical subject matter, nonetheless philosophical ideas (e.g., "Free Will, Determinism, and Predestination," "Stoicism," "Time," "Utilitarianism") are some of the topics covered in this six-volume set. Articles appear in alphabetical sequence, with bibliographies included. Volume 6 contains the index.
The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
Main Library Reference B 31 .O94 1995
Covers philosophers, philosophical and related terms, and philosophical movements. The focus is on Western philosophy, although non-Western philosophy is included. Includes appendices of logical symbols, maps of philosophy, and a chronology of philosophy.
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Main Library Reference B 51 .R68 1998
A ten-volume set that is an excellent starting point for comprehensive, interdisciplinary coverage of philosophical topics and philosophers. Entries include bibliographies of suggested reading for additional information. Volume 10 is the index to the set. Available online is the Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, an abridged version of the ten-volume set.
While far from complete, this refereed source is intended to be constantly evolving, with new entries added regularly. Many entries have lengthy bibliographies.

Search for Topics in Print and Online Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Reference Universe
Contains over 35 million data elements to over 45,000 specialized reference works. The elements are matched to the UCF Libraries' electronic or print holdings, offering a customized view.