The Philosopher’s Facebook – How to personalize and contribute to PhilPapers

PhilPapers is a very useful source of information and academic material – a community-driven and research focused ‘Facebook for Philosophy’. It functions as a database and open access archive, for journals, books, etc. It also includes thousands of personal pages of PhD students, professors and researchers. You can personalize your profile and focus on contents pertaining to your philosophical interests.

Once you sign up, you become part of the PhilPapers community, and you can enjoy the benefits of a structured index. You can start your research by typing the title of a paper or a book that you are looking for. Alternatively, you can start from the name of the author. In the first case, you will find all the titles containing the words you typed.In the second case, you will find the author’s personal page, containing all his or her publications.

If you are just looking for a paper on a certain topic, and you know nothing about titles and authors, then you can still use the categorization system. Just type a category in the search bar, or you can choose among the general categories listed at the bottom of the page. You can then explore general categories (e.g. “metaphysics and epistemology”, “value theory”, etc.) or more specific fields (e.g. “philosophy of action”, “philosophy of gender, race and sexuality”, etc.). You can dig deeper and deeper into dozens of subcategories, containing thousands of papers. It is worth looking around. You often find unexpected things and you can get a sense of how complex the tree of philosophical knowledge is nowadays.

However, a high percentage of papers are not well categorized or not categorized at all. That’s why PhilPapers needs your contribution! By putting papers into categories or by adding keywords and abstracts, you can create order and thus help the community to better navigate through the material available. The more structured information we have, the more fruitful our research will be!

Rosamaria Romanelli

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