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Philosophy Resources: Databases

There is are wide variety of works on philosophers and philosophy. Some of this material is primary, which means that it is original and is directly dealing with a particular subject. Other books are secondary, and contain explanations or interpretations of the work of others. To locate primary and secondary works, use library catalogs, bibliographies, and indexes, as well as reference lists in encyclopedias, books, and articles. When using a library catalog, look up books by a writer under the author listing; look for books about a philosopher under the subject listing, and look for specific titles under the title listing.

To the greatest extent possible, I have tried to include a wide variety of works. This is not a listing of primary sources, but rather a place for a researcher to begin working. Each of the sources that I have listed give references to more works. By using these materials, you will be able to find much more.

The overwhelming prevalence of Western philosophy sometimes leads students to the mistaken belief that the thought of other cultures is not relevant or worthy of study. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. For that reason, I have included a separate section of works on the philosophy and thought of non-Western cultures.

One interesting thing about the study of philosophy is that it overlaps with some other fields. For example, no discussion of jurisprudence (philosophy of law) would be complete without examining some basic concepts of political theory. Similarly, some of the great economic theorists, such as John Stuart Mill, Daid Ricardo, and Adam Smith, are also represented in the annals of philosophy. I have included some basic political theory works in the section on jurisprudence.