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Philosophy: Websites

Subject support from Library Services for staff and students in Philosophy

Evaluating web sources

Anyone can put information on the web, so how can you tell if it's reliable and accurate?

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the author?  Do they have qualifications/a reputation in the relevant area?
  • Is the web site affiliated with anorganisation?  If so, what is the mission of that organisation?
  • Has the information been properlyreferenced?  Are the references authoritative?
  • When was the site last updated?
  • Is there any reason for bias on this web site?
  • Has the website been well presented in an appropriately academic style?
  • Has anyone recommended this web site to you?
  • Does the information match what you have learned from other sources?

Internet for Philosophy

Internet for Philosophy is an online tutorial designed to help you make the most of searching the web effectively

Using websites to find information in your field

Useful websites that are relevant to Philosophy include:

The American Philosophical Association
The APA supports the professional development of philosophers at all levels and works to foster greater understanding and appreciation of the value of philosophical inquiry.

The Bentham Project (UCL)
This website of the world centre for Bentham studies at University College London

Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names

Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind

Hartlib Papers Project (University of Sheffield)
A complete electronic edition, with full-text transcription and facsimile images, of all 25,000 seventeenth-century manuscripts of the `intelligencer´ and man of science, Samuel Hartlib.

The Logic Server
Maintained by Vienna University

Philosophers' Imprint
Philosophers' Imprint is a refereed series of open access original papers in philosophy published by University of Michigan.

The Royal Institute of Philosophy
A good starting point for resources and links to university philosophy departments in the United Kingdom. The Institute, founded in 1925, aims to promote the study and discussion of philosophy and original work through its journals Philosophy and Think and by arranging and sponsoring programmes of lectures and conferences.

The Schopenhauer Archive
The Schopenhauer-Archive at Goethe University, Frankfurt, comprises a part of the literary remains of Arthur Schopenhauer and other important material which benefits research on the life, work and effects of the philosopher.

Finding information on the internet

There is a huge range of information on the Internet, but you need to be vigilant about the quality of what you find. Using subject gateways and sites which are created by subject specialists will ensure that you find information that has been evaluated for its academic quality.

Wikipedia - good or bad?

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, written collaboratively by anyone who wishes to contribute. Many people are constantly editing Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour. For more information, see About Wikipedia.

Anyone with access to the internet can edit almost every page, and this is both the strength and the weakness of the site: 

  • Because there are so many people willing to freely give their time and expertise to Wikipedia, the content can be an excellent introduction to a topic, well-referenced, and mistakes are often corrected quickly. 
  • However, because edits can be made anonymously, we cannot know whether the author is an expert on the subject or whether they have a particular agenda to push.

Wikipedia is not considered to be a suitably authoritative source of information for academic study.

It is not a good idea to reference Wikipedia in your assignments. If you choose to use Wikipedia as a starting point for your topic, however, the article will introduce you to the key vocabulary for the topic which will be useful for further searching in and bibliographic databases.

For guidance on how to evaluate the quality of Wikipedia articles, see Evaluating Wikipedia article quality.