Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Last updated
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
SEP logo.png
Type of site
Online encyclopedia of Philosophy
OwnerThe Metaphysics Research Lab, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University
Created by Edward N. Zalta
EditorEdward N. Zalta
Launched1995;26 years ago (1995)
ISSN 1095-5054
OCLC  number 643092515

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) combines an online encyclopedia of philosophy with peer-reviewed publication of original papers in philosophy, freely accessible to Internet users. [1] [2] It is maintained by Stanford University. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from many academic institutions worldwide. [3] Authors contributing to the encyclopedia give Stanford University the permission to publish the articles, but retain the copyright to those articles. [4]


Approach and history

"The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Issues Faced by Academic Reference Works That May Be of Interest to Wikipedians" by Edward N. Zalta. Wikimania 2015, Mexico City

As of March 2018, the SEP has nearly 1,600 published entries. [5] Apart from its online status, the encyclopedia uses the traditional academic approach of most encyclopedias and academic journals to achieve quality by means of specialist authors selected by an editor or an editorial committee that is competent (although not necessarily considered specialists) in the field covered by the encyclopedia and peer review. [6]

The encyclopedia was created in 1995 by Edward N. Zalta, [2] with the explicit aim of providing a dynamic encyclopedia that is updated regularly, and so does not become dated in the manner of conventional print encyclopedias. [1] [7] The charter for the encyclopedia allows for rival articles on a single topic to reflect reasoned disagreements among scholars. Initially, the SEP was developed with U.S. public funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. A long-term fundraising plan to preserve open access to the encyclopedia is supported by many university libraries and library consortia. These institutions contribute under a plan devised by the SEP in collaboration with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, the International Coalition of Library Consortia, and the Southeastern Library Network, with matching funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Philosophy of perception Branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of perceptual experience and the status of perceptual data

The philosophy of perception is concerned with the nature of perceptual experience and the status of perceptual data, in particular how they relate to beliefs about, or knowledge of, the world. Any explicit account of perception requires a commitment to one of a variety of ontological or metaphysical views. Philosophers distinguish internalist accounts, which assume that perceptions of objects, and knowledge or beliefs about them, are aspects of an individual's mind, and externalist accounts, which state that they constitute real aspects of the world external to the individual. The position of naïve realism—the 'everyday' impression of physical objects constituting what is perceived—is to some extent contradicted by the occurrence of perceptual illusions and hallucinations and the relativity of perceptual experience as well as certain insights in science. Realist conceptions include phenomenalism and direct and indirect realism. Anti-realist conceptions include idealism and skepticism. Recent philosophical work have expanded on the philosophical features of perception by going beyond the single paradigm of vision.

Social epistemology refers to a broad set of approaches that can be taken in epistemology that construes human knowledge as a collective achievement. Another way of characterizing social epistemology is as the evaluation of the social dimensions of knowledge or information.

The problem of other minds is a philosophical problem traditionally stated as the following epistemological question: Given that I can only observe the behavior of others, how can I know that others have minds? It is a major issue of the philosophical idea known as solipsism: the notion that for any person only one's own mind is known to exist. Solipsism maintains that no matter how sophisticated someone's behavior is, behavior on its own does not guarantee the presence of mentality.

Academic publishing Subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

Open access Research publications that are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined, or libre open access, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright.

In logic and philosophy, a property is a characteristic of an object; a red object is said to have the property of redness. The property may be considered a form of object in its own right, able to possess other properties. A property, however, differs from individual objects in that it may be instantiated, and often in more than one thing. It differs from the logical/mathematical concept of class by not having any concept of extensionality, and from the philosophical concept of class in that a property is considered to be distinct from the objects which possess it. Understanding how different individual entities can in some sense have some of the same properties is the basis of the problem of universals.

Alibris is an online store that sells new books, used books, out-of-print books, rare books, and other media through an online network of independent booksellers.

Edward N. Zalta American philosopher

Edward Nouri Zalta is an American philosopher who is a senior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. He received his BA at Rice University in 1975 and his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1981, both in philosophy. Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland. Zalta is also the Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Susan Stebbing

Lizzie Susan Stebbing was a British philosopher. She belonged to the 1930s generation of analytic philosophy, and was a founder in 1933 of the journal Analysis. and was the first woman to hold a philosophy chair in the United Kingdom, as well as the first female President of Humanists UK.

Digital humanities

Digital humanities (DH) is an area of scholarly activity at the intersection of computing or digital technologies and the disciplines of the humanities. It includes the systematic use of digital resources in the humanities, as well as the analysis of their application. DH can be defined as new ways of doing scholarship that involve collaborative, transdisciplinary, and computationally engaged research, teaching, and publishing. It brings digital tools and methods to the study of the humanities with the recognition that the printed word is no longer the main medium for knowledge production and distribution.

Wissenschaft is the German language term for any study that involves systematic research. The term is sometimes roughly translated as science, although Wissenschaft is much broader and includes every systematic academic study of any area, for example, humanities like art or religion. Wissenschaft incorporates scientific and non-scientific inquiry, learning, knowledge, scholarship and implies that knowledge is a dynamic process discoverable for oneself, rather than something that is handed down. It did not necessarily imply empirical research.

Ann Shumelda Okerson American librarian

Ann Shumelda Okerson is an internationally distinguished librarian and expert on the place of new digital technologies in libraries. She serves as Senior Advisor on Electronic Strategies for the Center for Research Libraries. She served as Associate University Librarian at Yale University, following 15 years of academic library and library management experience, experience in the commercial sector, and service as founding senior program officer for scholarly communications at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). She has made major contributions to understanding of serials pricing, electronic journals, licensing of electronic resources, and consortial purchasing of electronic materials. She has been a leader in international projects to build a Middle Eastern digital library and has worked broadly with libraries in the region.

Haworth Press was a publisher of scholarly, academic and trade books, and approximately 200 peer-reviewed academic journals. It was founded in 1978 by the publishing industry executives Bill Cohen and Patrick Mcloughlin. The name was taken from the township of Haworth in England, the home of the Brontë sisters. Many of the Haworth publications cover very specialized material, ranging from mental health, occupational therapy, psychology, psychiatry, addiction studies, social work, interdisciplinary social sciences, library & information science, LGBT studies, agriculture, pharmaceutical science, health care, medicine, and other fields.

Scholarly communication involves the creation, publication, dissemination and discovery of academic research, primarily in peer-reviewed journals and books. It is “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use." This primarily involves the publication of peer-reviewed academic journals, books and conference papers.

In economic theory, the money pump argument is a thought experiment intended to show that rational behavior requires transitive preferences: If one prefers A to B and B to C, then one should not prefer C to A. Standard economic theory assumes that preferences are transitive.

A K Peters, Ltd. was a publisher of scientific and technical books, specializing in mathematics and in computer graphics, robotics, and other fields of computer science. They published the journals Experimental Mathematics and the Journal of Graphics Tools, as well as mathematics books geared to children.

A philosophy encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference work that seeks to make available to the reader a number of articles on the subject of philosophy. Many paper and online encyclopedias of philosophy have been written, with encyclopedias in general dating back to the 1st century AD with Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia.

<i>The Degrees of Knowledge</i> 1932 book by Jacques Maritain

The Degrees of Knowledge is a 1932 book by the French philosopher Jacques Maritain, in which the author adopts St. Thomas Aquinas’s view called critical realism and applies it to his own epistemological positions. According to critical realism, what we know is identical with what exists, and to know a thing is for its ‘essence’ to exist immaterially in the mind. In The Degrees of Knowledge, Maritain applies this view as he seeks to explain the nature of knowledge, not only in science and philosophy, but also in religious faith and mysticism. Maritain argues that there are different ‘kinds’ and ‘orders’ of knowledge and, within them, different ‘degrees’ determined by the nature of the thing to be known and the ‘degree of abstraction’ involved. The book is divided into two parts: Part one discusses the degrees of knowledge for science and philosophy – or ‘rational knowledge,’ and part two discusses the degrees of knowledge for religious faith and mysticism – or ‘super-rational knowledge.’

Jennifer Lackey American philosopher

Jennifer Lackey is a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University. She is known for her research in epistemology, especially on testimony, disagreement, memory, the norms of assertion, and virtue epistemology. She is the author of Learning from Words: Testimony as a Source of Knowledge and of numerous articles and book chapters. She is also co-editor of The Epistemology of Testimony and The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays.

In semantics, pragmatics, and philosophy of language, the common ground of a conversation is the set of propositions that the interlocutors have agreed to treat as true. For a proposition to be in the common ground, it must be common knowledge in the conversational context. The set of possible worlds compatible with the common ground is often called the context set.


  1. 1 2 Sonnad, Nikhil. "This free online encyclopedia has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of". Quartz . Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  2. 1 2 Zalta, Edward (2006-09-01). "The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A university/library partnership in support of scholarly communication and open access". College & Research Libraries News. 67 (8): 502–504. doi: 10.5860/crln.67.8.7670 . ISSN   2150-6698.
  3. 1 2 Allen, Colin; Jagodzinski, Cecile (2013-11-04). "From SEP to SEPIA: How and Why Indiana University is Helping the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Against the Grain. 18 (4). doi: 10.7771/2380-176x.4919 . ISSN   2380-176X.
  4. "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Copyright Information" . Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  5. "About the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  6. Tananbaum, Greg (2006). "I Hear the Train A Comin' -- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Against the Grain. 18 (1). doi: 10.7771/2380-176x.4863 . ISSN   2380-176X.
  7. Allen, Colin; Nodelman, Uri; Zalta, Edward N. (2002). "The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Developed Dynamic Reference Work". Metaphilosophy. 33 (1&2): 210–228. doi:10.1111/1467-9973.00225. ISSN   0026-1068.