The Library will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024, in observance of Memorial Day.

Philosophy Research

Research & Homework

  • Gale eBooks: Search Gale’s collection of e-books for brief one to three page entries on philosophical topics. Available titles in this collection: Ancient Philosophy from 600 BCE to 500 CE; Medieval Philosophy from 500 CE to 1500 CE, and Modern Philosophy from 1500 CE to the present. Materials contain philosophical concepts as they relate to other fields of study such as religion, science, or political science.
  • Gale General OneFile: Under Search Tools, click on Subject Guide Search. To get an idea of the scope of articles available in General OneFile, enter "Philosophy" in the Subject Guide Search box. Under More Options enter further criteria as desired, e.g. “Full-text”, “Peer-reviewed”, or publication date range. The results page shows thousands of results for the simple search of “Philosophy”. To narrow the results further, click on related subjects to see a list of other accepted subject terms on philosophy in the General OneFile database.
  • Oxford Reference Online – Premium Collection: To see a title list of available philosophy reference e-books, click on the subject tab, then select Philosophy. To search for a specific philosophical concept or philosopher, enter your search terms in the search box at the top of the page. On the search results page, look for the Refine by Subject option, and click on Philosophy to limit results to this field.
  • Research Library (Proquest): To see a list of Proquest’s accepted subject terms on philosophy, click on Advanced Search. Next, click on Thesaurus. If the thesaurus doesn’t appear, disable your browser’s pop-up blocker. Search the thesaurus for “philosophy”. From the results list, click on philosophy to see narrower subject terms. Click on the checkbox next to the desired subject term, and click on the Add to Search button. The added subject term will appear on the advanced search page. Add any additional search terms and limit the search to full-text and/or peer-reviewed, if desired. Click search to get the search results. If none of the terms in the thesaurus are applicable to your search, return to the basic search page and search your concept or person by keyword. Enclose an exact phrase within quotation marks.

Web Resources

Library Catalog

  • Search by author for works by a particular philosopher.
  • For works about a particular philosopher or philosophy topic, search by subject on the philosopher’s name (e.g. Nietzsche) or the topic (e.g. Philosophy Asian or ethics).
  • Search by keyword, and include "dictionary" or "companion" with "philosophy", or search by the name of a particular philosopher or concept.
  • LAPL provides e-media resources which can be checked out and used on your laptop or smart device. On the left side of the search results page, under Format, click on Electronic Resource to limit the search results to e-AudioBook or e-Book.

Introductions and Surveys

The following are but a few of the titles on philosophy available at the library. Click on a title to view more information, such as summary, availability, and subject headings to follow for similar titles.

  • Bassham, Gregory. The philosophy book: from the Vedas to the new atheists, 250 milestones in the history of philosophy (book | e-book)
    Chronological overview of 250 milestones of the most important philosophical theories, events and publications over the last 3500 years.
  • Butler-Bowdon, Tom. 50 philosophy classics: your shortcut to the most important ideas on being, truth and meaning (book | e-book | hoopla e-audiobook | Overdrive e-audiobook)
    Essays summarizing influential philosophical texts from ancient times to present day.
  • Classics of western philosophy
    Complete text of twenty masterpieces and selections from others with biographical information and commentary.
  • Companion to world philosophies
    Introductory survey of major non-Western philosophies including Indian, Islamic, Buddhist, Polynesian, Chinese and Japanese.
  • Durant, Will. Story of philosophy (book | e-book | e-audiobook)
    Classic history of western philosophy.
  • Grayling, A.C. History of philosophy (book | e-book)
    Covers both Western and Eastern traditions.
  • How philosophy works: the concepts visually explained (book | e-book)
    Demystifies the key ideas of the world’s greatest philosophers using infographics and jargon-free text.
  • Joad, C. E. M. Guide to philosophy
    Discusses major philosophical theories in relation to basic questions, such as, "Is there a plan for the universe?"
  • Rooney, Anne. How the world works: Philosophy: from the ancient Greeks to great thinkers of modern times
    Overview of Western philosophy with biographies of influential philosophers, definitions of key concepts, and summaries of important texts. Explores concepts within the five major branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics and aesthetics.
  • Smart, Ninian. World philosophies
    Worldwide coverage of major philosophies throughout history, arranged geographically.
  • Williamson, Timothy. Doing philosophy: from common curiosity to logical reasoning (book | e-book)
    Williamson presents an accessible account of how modern philosophers think and work, an overview of philosophical methods and theories, and a history of philosophical thinking’s success and failures.


  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (10 vols.)
    Covers philosophies and philosophers worldwide. Issues affecting philosophy, such as feminist theology, predestination, and theories of psychology are included. Available for in-library use only at Central Library.
  • Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    One volume version of the 10-volume work above, available for circulation and in branches.
  • World Philosophers and Their Works (3 vols.)
    Each entry begins with a biographical section followed by an overview of representative works. Annotated bibliographies are useful for finding additional books in the online catalog. Available for in-library use only at Central Library.
  • Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (4 vols.)
    Includes articles on abortion, Aristotelian ethics, divorce, social security, stoicism, and nonviolence in film and television. Available for in-library use only at Central Library.

Biography Resources