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Philosophy

A general guide to philosophy resources found at Spiva Library and on the Web.

Philosophy & related Websites

  • Stanford Encyclopdia of Philosophy
    A detailed and complete resource, where each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field.
  • The American Philosophical Association
    Resources, publications, services, etc.
  • Bioethics.net
    Bioethics blog for resources and information.
  • Continental Philosophy
    This page is intended to provide resources and links for researchers and students in the various areas of continental philosophy.
  • Electronics Texts of 17th and 18th Century Philosophers
    This page will link you to electronic texts of some of the great philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
  • Ethics Updates
    Designed primarily to be used by ethics instructors and their students. It is intended to provide resources and updates on current literature, both popular and professional, that relates to ethics.
  • History of Philosophy
    "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."
    -Alfred North Whitehead
  • Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project
    The Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project provides a conceptual map or subject taxonomy of the entire discipline of philosophy. You can use InPhO to search Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and other resources by subject and by name.
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    A non-profit organization dedicated to providing open access to detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy. Peer reviewed.
  • A Miniature Library of Philosophy
    Tracing the development of ideas on the relation between consciousness and matter through the words of 140 philosophers over 400 years.
  • Philosophy Collection
    This collection contains canonical philosophic texts and links to scholarly philosophic organizations. The English Server has other collections in addition in critical theory, history, and in eighteenth century studies.
  • Philosophy Resources from the University of Northern Colorado
    UNC provides links to information about philosophy, including undergraduate philosophy journals, guides to writing good philosophical papers, and pursuing graduate school.
  • Postmodern Thought
    Resources, readings, and other information focusing on postmodern thought.

Evaluating Websites

The World Wide Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable!

Consider the following when evaluating a website:

Criterion #1: Purpose

Consider the main purpose of the page. Web pages are not always easy to categorize and some may combine some of these categories.

Extensions(domains) on addresses can sometimes indicating reliability:

a .edu extension indicates a college or university

a .org extension indicates an organization

a .com indicates a commercial enterprise

These extensions are used in the U. S. only. Foreign sites, and some in the U.S., use a geographical extension or domain. These "extension" rules should only be applied in a general way. Some commercial sites contain high quality information but many are advertising a product or service and, therefore, are not objective sources. A person who works for the commercial enterprise may be reliable, although a person who is merely "renting" space on their web server may not be. Government sites usually have reliable information but remember that government also deals in propaganda and partisan views. Academic sites will most likely contain quality information suitable for research, but you must still check the author's background. An organization may be a legal entity that has an interest in providing reliable information. However, the information found on an organization's homepage may also be highly biased and one-sided


Criterion #2: Authority

An author's affiliation is an important clue to the reliability of the information:

Look for any biographical statement about the author.

Look for an e-mail address or site address to determine affiliation.

Questions to ask about the author:

  • Is the author even listed?
  • Is the author the original creator of the information?
  • Did the author list his/her occupation, educational background, expertise?
  • Do you think this person is qualified to present this information?
  • Did the author cite his/her sources?
  • Can you verify the author's credentials from another source?
  • Has the author also published in professional or scholarly journals?

Criterion #3: Accuracy

Don't take the information presented at face value. Web sites are rarely refereed or reviewed, as are scholarly journals and books:

Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed so they can be verified in another source? (If not, the page may still be useful to you as an example of the ideas of the organization, but it is not useful as a source of factual information).

Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors? (These kinds of errors not only indicate a lack of quality control, but can actually produce inaccuracies in information.)

Criterion #4: Objectivity

Are the sponsor's biases clearly stated?

If there is any advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?

Criterion #5: Currency

Are there any indications that the material is kept current?

Is there an indication that the page has been completed, and is not still under construction?

Are there dates on the page to indicate:

-When the page was written?

-When the page was first placed on the Web?

-When the page was last revised?


Don’t see any date information on the page?

-In Netscape pull down “View” from the menu bar and select “Page information”

-In Internet Explorer pull down “File” from the menu bar and select “Properties”

-In Mozilla Firefox pull down “Tools” from the menu bar and select “Page Info”

Criterion #6: Coverage

Is it clear what topics the page intends to address?

Does the page succeed in addressing these topics, or has something significant been left out?

Is the point of view of the sponsor/author presented in a clear manner with its arguments well supported?

Are the links on the page relevant to the subject?

Does the content cover a specific time period or aspect of the topic, or strives to be comprehensive?

Criterion #7: Style and Functionality

Is the site laid out clearly and logically with well organized subsections?

Is the writing style appropriate for the intended audience?

Is the site easy to navigate?

Is a search function offered?

Is the homepage easy to navigate?

Is the homepage logically organized?

Is the writing clear?

Are there numerous spelling or grammatical errors?

Are there errors in the use of HTML tags?

Do the links work?

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