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
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.
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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.
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.
Contains over 5,000 entries from philosophy reference works such as:
- Biographical Encyclopaedia of Islamic Philosophy
- Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy
- Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century German Philosophers
- Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers
- Encyclopedia of Aesthetics
- Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought
- Art & Architecture
- Bilingual Dictionaries
- Classical Studies
- English Dictionaries & Thesauri
- Language Reference
- Media Studies
- Medicine & Health
- Names Studies
- Performing Arts
- Science & Technology
- Social Sciences
- Society & Culture
Search for Topics in Print & Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Searching the UCF library’s specialized subject encyclopedia collection helps refine your search; save time, and get to the book or journal you need more quickly and accurately.
Reference Universe contains over 35 million data elements to over 45,000 specialized reference works. The elements are matched to the UCF library's electronic or print holdings, offering you a customized view.
Basic Reference Sources
Use the following encyclopedias and dictionaries for finding background information, definitions, biographical information, and summaries.
Call Number: UCF ONLINE General Collection -- B 41.C35 2015
"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."
Contains entries of philosophers, philosophy-related terms, and subfields of philosophy. With very few exceptions it does not include main entries on philosophers living at time of publication. The Index of Selected Names identifies individuals not having headword entries but appearing in the text of other entries.
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.
Call Number: UCF Main Library General Collection -- B803.E45
NOTE: Online access is limited to 2 simultaneous users check availability of print version
"Reflecting the 'movements-based' nature of the Continental tradition, the Encyclopedia begins with the founding texts of Classical Idealism, and each subsequent chapter follows, in order of their emergence, the schools of thought that make up and characterise this distinctive and important tradition of philosophy."
"Featuring 815 articles by distinguished scholars from many fields and countries, the Encyclopedia is a comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts-from painting and sculpture to literature, music, theater, dance, television, film, and popular culture"
Call Number: UCF ONLINE General Collection -- BJ 63.E44 2012
NOTE: Use Elsevier ScienceDirect online version; the EBSCOhost online version is limited to 1 simultaneous user.
Contains entries on specific topics dealing with ethical theory, ethical concepts, medical and scientific ethics, environmental ethics, legal ethics, ethics and politics, business and economics ethics, media ethics, and social ethics. Each entry includes a glossary of important terms, a defining statement of the essay topic, cross-references to related essays, and a bibliography.
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. See also the "Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy," which contains lengthy thematic essays.
Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy
Call Number: UCF Main Library General Collection - 1st Floor -- B121.C66 1997
"The Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy is a unique one-volume reference work which makes richly varied philosophical, ethical and theological traditions accessible to a wide audience. Each of the six sections covers a specific tradition within Asian philosophy - Persian, Indian, Buddhist, Chinese, Japanese and Islamic."
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.
"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).
"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).
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.
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.