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Subject guide


Overview of databases, reference works and websites for research in Philosophy

The first floor of the University Library houses a collection of reference works. These can not be borrowed, however it is possible to make copies or scans.

The reference collection is organized by the Library of Congress Classification (LCC). Book titles in the field of philosophy are usually placed under subject code B in study room 1:

B Philosophy General
BC Logic
BD Speculative philosophy
BF Psychology
BH Aesthetics
BL Ethics

Printed journals

Current journal issues of which no digital edition is available are placed in the round journal cabinets at the entrance of reading room 1. Back volumes are located in the closed stacks and can be requested via the catalogue.

Finding articles

The Philosopher's Index is a bibliographic database with abstracts published in journals and books since 1940, covering scholarly research in all fields of philosophy.

The International Philosophical Bibliography (IPB) lists philosophical literature as such, and is published by the Institut Supérieur de Philosophie and the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte at Louvain. The IPB consists of two databases, one for the period 1997-present (IPB full edition), whereas the retrospective period up to 1996 is in the process of being expanded backwards (IPB retrospective).

PhilPapers: international Open Access platform focusing on philosophy containing academic articles (mostly pre-prints).

Philosophy : a guide to the reference literature (Hans E. Bynagle 2006): describes almost 450 general and specialised reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, digital sources) for Eastern and Western philosophy. Very suitable for searching literature about well-known philosophers. Available in study room 8 under number Z7125 .B97 2006.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: this open access website publishes peer-reviewed reviews of scholarly books mostly within a few months after publication.

There are bibliographies available on almost every philosopher. Simply search on name + bibliography.

Primary sources

Filosofiebank: Dutch translations of philosopical texts and monographies of Dutch philosophers. The titles are not listed in the Catalogue.

Intelex Past masters:  electronic editions of classic works of leading philosophers, such as Aristoteles, Hume, Kant and Hegel.

Nietzsche Online Database: access to the Kritische Gesamtausgabe, the Nietzsche-Worterbuch and more then 80 monographies on Friedrich Nietzsche. The titles aren't listed in the Catalogue.


Cambridge Companions: essays on historical subjects and persons.

Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 3rd ed. (Robert Audi, Cambridge UP 2015) Online. Let op: de zoekbalk levert geen resultaten op. Lemma's kunnen worden opgezocht door de eerste letter op te zoeken en daarna op View HTML te klikken. Scroll daarna door de tekst tot het juiste lemma is gevonden.

Dictionary of untranslatables: a philosophical lexicon: dictionary containing translations and historical context of over 400 difficult-to-translate philosophical terms and concepts.

Oxford Reference Online Philosophy: dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference works, such as the Companion to Philosophy and the Dictionary of Philosophy).

Routledge Guidebooks: every elk deel uit deze serie richt zich op een belangrijke tekst van een invloedrijke filosoof.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: high quality encyclopedia published Open Access and updated continuously.

Books to start with

Cambridge History of Philosophy

Finding articles

L'Annee Philologique: bibliography with references to academic publications (starting 1969) on Greek and Roman history, language and culture from 200 BCE to 800 CE. For publications before 1969 see the printed edition: L'Annee Philologique (1928-...)

Gnonom Online: international bibliography on ancient history, archaeology and classical languages. References are from 1998 on. The database has an extensive hierarchical thesaurus, but searching on words and names is also possible. Some references contain abstracts.

Subject Guide Classics.

For an extended overview of reference works, monographies, primary sources and articles on all aspects of Greek and Roman philosophy see Oxford Bibliographies Classics.


The Greek philosophical vocabulary (J.O. Urmson, Duckworth 1990): explanation of over 500 philosophical terms. In the study room: PA455.P48 U76 1990   

Historical dictionary of ancient Greek philosophy (Anthony Preus, Rowman & Littlefield 2015: over 1500 lemmas concerning philosophers, concepts and events supplemented with a timeline and bibliography. Online

Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques (Richard Goulet, ECNRS 1989-): indispensible reference work on classical philosophy. More emphasis on biographies and works of philosophers then on ideas. In the study room: B172 .D53 1989   

A guide to Greek thought: major figures and trends (Jacques Brunschwig, Harvard UP 2000): essays on well-known philosophers and philosophical currents. Available in the study room: DF78 .S23213 2003 

Encyclopedia of classical philosophy (Donald J. Zeyl, Greenwood 1997): 269 alphabetically sorted articles on classical philosophers and philosophical concepts. In the study room: B163 .E53 1997

Books to start with

Finding articles

The International Medieval Bibliography is a well-known source for finding citations on medieval philosophy.

Bibliographie annuelle du moyen-age tardif: auteurs et textes Latins: vers 1250-1500 (Jean-Pierre Rothschild, 1991-...). In the study room of Special Collections (2nd floor): Z5579.5 .B5

Die Philosophie im lateinischen Mittelalter: eind handbuch mit einem bio-bibliographischen Repertorium (Peter Schulthess, Artemis & Winkler 1996): het eerste deel van deze serie bestaat uit een historisch overzicht van Latijnse middeleeuwse filosofie van Alcuin tot Nicolas van Cusa (ca. 800-1450), met een speciale focus op de receptie van klassieke teksten in de middeleeuwen. Het tweede deel geeft biografische details van een groot aantal, ook kleinere, filosofische auteurs, aangevuld met een bibliografie (primaire en secundaire literatuur). Staat op de studiezaal: B721 .S295 1996

Repertorium edierter Texte des Mittelalters aus dem Bereich der Philosophie und angrenzender Gebiete (Rolf Schönberger. Akademie Verlag 1994): met meerdere indices (auteurs/ uitgevers en vertalers, manuscripten enz.). Tijdelijk online is de herziene editie uit 2011.

International bibliography of humanism and the Renaissance (Brepols 2013): published since 1965, is a little behind in citations.

Iter Gateway to the Middle Ages & Renaissance: website containing amongst others the Iter Bibliography (more then 1.3 miljoen citations on secondary literature), Iter Italicum (list of uncatalogised manuscripts), and links to websites.

Renaissance humanism 1300-1550: a bibliography of materials in English (Benjamin Kohl, Garland 1985). In the study room: Z7128.H9 K64 1985   

The recovery of ancient philosophy in the Renaissance: a brief guide (James Hankins, Olschiki 2008).

Medieval Studies and Renaissance and Reformation of Oxford Bibliographies Online give an extended overview of usefull books, articles, primary sources and reference works for a large number of subjects.


Oxford Handbook of medieval philosophy (John Marenbon, Oxford UP 2012). Print

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, (P.F. Grendler, Scribner’s 1999): almost 1200 articles on all aspects of the renaissance supplemented by maps and timelines.

Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. 3 vols. (Peter G. Bietenholz, University of Toronto Press 1985–1987). In the study room: PA8500 .C66 1974

Books to start with


Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (Alan Charles Kors, Oxford UP 2005):  in 700 artikelen geven vooraanstaande wetenschappers een overzicht van de lange Verlichting, vanaf de opkomst van de leerlingen van Descartes in 1670 tot de restauratie van de Bourbon-monarchie in 1815. Online en op de studiezaal: B802 .E53 2003

Dictionary of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Dutch philosophers (Wiep van Bunge, Thoemmes Press 2003): rond de 365 biografieën van Nederlandse filosofen en bekende filosofen die in Nederland hebben verbleven, maar ook lemma's over Nederlandse universiteiten, uitgeverijen en tijdschriften. Staat op de studiezaal: B3871 .D53 2003

Primary sources

Early English Books Online: primary works of, amongst others, Malory, Bacon, More, Erasmus, Boyle, Newton and Galileo.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online: more than 135.000 texts published between 1701-1800 in Britain.

Books to start with


Encyclopedia of postmodernism (Victor Taylor & Charles Winquist, Routledge 2001): bevat uitleg van terminologie, biografieën en essays. Print

American philosophy: an encyclopedia (John Lachs & Robert Talisse, Routledge 2008): over 600 lemmas on philosophers, philosophical terms and history of American philosophy. In the study room: B850 .A43 2008

The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought (Lawrence Kritzman, Columbia UP 2006): articles on persons, movements and publications that shaped French philosophy. In the study room: DC33.7 .C575 2006

Edinburgh companion to twentieth-century philosophies (Constantin Boundas, Edinburgh UP 2007): introducties op alle grote filosofische stromingen binnen de continentale en analytische filosofie, aangevuld met enkele bijdragen over niet-westerse filosofie. Online

Edinburgh dictionary of continental philosophy (John Protevi, Edinburgh UP 2005. Online

Companion to analytic philosophy (A.P. Martinich & David Sosa, Blackwell 2001). Staat op de studiezaal: B808.5 .C555 2001   

Books to start with

Finding articles

EThxWeb: Literature in Bioethics: website containing an excellent bibliography on bioethics with references of articles, chapters, reports, newspaper articles and more published between 1974 and 2009. Also very useful is BELIT: Bioethics Literature Database with over 550.000 references.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts: references and abstracts of articles, books, chapters and dissertations published from 1975 onwards.

Globethics is an online community and provides access to a number sources on ethics. The aim of Globethics.net is to ensure that people in all regions of the world are empowered to reflect and act on ethical issues.

For older publications:
Bibliographie der Sozialethik: Grundsatzfragen des offentlichen Lebens  (Arthur Utz e.a., Herder 1960-1980): European publications in English, French, German and Spanish. The series where followed up by Sozialethik: mit internationaler Bibliographie of which parts can be found online: 1. Die prinzipien der Gesellschaftslehre (1958); 2. Rechtsphilosophie (1988); 3. Die Soziale Ordnung (1986); 4: Wirtschaftsethik (1994); 5: Politische Ethik (2000)

A Selected Bibliography on Values, Ethics and Esthetics in the Behavioral Sciences and Philosophy, 1920-1958 (Ethel Albert & Clyde Kluckhohn, Free Press 1959.


Encyclopedia of applied ethics (Academic Press 2012): this digital encyclopedia consists of twelf categories. The articles follow a structure: subject definition, table of contents, overview of important terminology and a bibliography.

International Encyclopedia of Political Science (Sage): articles on the theoretical background of political systems. Also lemmas on comparative politics, political economy and international relations. Online

Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Mark Bevir, Sage 2010): articles on history, persons, terminology and currents in political philosophy.

The Palgrave Macmillan dictionary of political thought (Roger Scruton, Palgrave MacMillan 2007): 1790 lemmas on political philosophy, from influential persons and important political events to explanations of terms as taboo and übermensch. In the library of Social Sciences: F.S.W. WRB. VII-48.

Books to start with

Medieval manuscripts: Philosophy works by Socrates, Plato, Aristoteles, Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, Augustinus, Boethius or Thomas van Aquino, among others.

Post-medieval manuscripts and private achives:
-Leiden professors lecture notes.
-Leiden philosophers archive: G.J.P.J. Bolland (incl. P.C.E. Meerum Terwogt), D.G. Jelgersma, W.B. Kristensen, J.H.J. van der Pot, D.A. Wyttenbach.
-Archive of non-governmental institutions: Legatum Stolpianum. See also the general information on the website.

Leiden University Archive: among others Senaat en Faculteiten, 1575-1877 (afd. II D), Faculteiten, 1815-1984 (afd. CA, DA)

Letters: from and to philosophers (search by name in the Letters catalogue)

Library collection G.J.P.J. Bolland

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