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Subject guide

Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives

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

The majority of the Philosophy collection can be found at the University Library. Most of the books are in closed stacks and can be requested through the Catalogue. Reference works and other relevant books are available on the first floor.

Reference collection

Items from the reference collection can not be borrowed, but it is possible to make copies or scans. The reference collection comprises:

  • Reference works and bibliographies
  • Primary and secondary literature on an array of subjects
  • A selection of the most important dictionaries
  • Journals (only current issues)

The reference collection is organized by the Library of Congress Classification (LCC). Books in the field of comparative philosophy are mostly found in these classes:


Current issues of printed journals in the field of comparative philosophy which are not available digitally are placed in the round journal cabinets at the entrance to reading room 1. Back volumes are generally located in the Closed Stacks can be requested through the Catalogue.



Oxford handbook of world philosophy (Jay L. Garfield et al., Oxford UP 2011): essays on non-European philosophical traditions, such as Chinese philosophy, Indian Philosophy, African Philosophy, and recent trends in global philosophy. Print

Dictionary of World Philosophy (Pablo Iannone, Routledge 2001): covers the terminology, concepts, schools and traditions of the vast field of world philosophy. Also covers subdisciplines such as aesthetics, ethics, and philosophy of culture. Online

Books to start reading

Finding articles and books

Bibliography of Islamic Philosophy and Supplement (Hans Daiber, Brill 1999-2007): more than 9500 primary and secondary sources for the study of Islamic Philosophy. The Alphabetical List (volume I) includes all known publications in western and non-western languages from the 15th century to the present, including Greek and Syriac sources. The Index (volume 2) covers information on authors, texts, translations and commentaries, and philosophical terms and concepts. Placed in the study room: Z7128 .I57 D53

Brief Bibliographical Guide in Medieval and Post-Classical Islamic Philosophy and Theology (1998-2016): website by Thérèse-Anne Druart (Catholic University of America)

Islamic Philosophy Online: website containing the updated Dictionary of Islamic Philosophical Terms, individual pages on major Islamic philosophers including links to online versions of their work, and a calendar of events. Online

Oxford bibliographies - Islamic Studies: extended overview of encyclopedias, bibliographies, dictionaries and useful literature for a wide array of subjects within Islamic Studies. Online

For other useful sources check the subject guide Middle Eastern Studies.


The biographical encyclopaedia of Islamic Philosophy (Oliver Leaman, Thoemnes Continuum 2006): contains details about the lives of significant legal thinkers, theologians, political thinkers and even geographers where their lives are relevant indicators of the progress of philosophy in the Islamic world. Placed in the study room: B741 .B56 2006

Encyclopaedia of Islamic Philosophy (M.R.K. Afridi, Pentagon Press 2006):  five-volume set describing the history of islamic philosophy, Islamic schools of thought and the social en educational philosophy of the Islam. Print.

Cambridge companion to Arabic Philosophy (Peter Adamson, Cambridge UP 2005): collection of essays on individual thinkers (such as al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes) or groups, especially during the 'classical' period from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. Also includes chapters on areas on ethics and metaphysics, later Islamic thought, and on the connections between Arabic philosophy and Greek, Jewish, and Latin philosophy. Online

Encyclopaedia of Islam 2nd edition (1960-2005) and 3rd edition (2007-....): the second edition of this standard reference work contains articles on mostly culturally focused subjects as biographies of distinguished Muslims of every age and land, on tribes and dynasties, on the crafts and sciences, on political and religious institutions. The third edition is completely revised, and has a social scientific focus, for example by giving attention to Muslim minorities all over the world. Online

Books to start reading

Searching for articles

The Bibliography of Asian Studies is a large database with thousands of articles on various subjects on East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. It contains the full content of the whole twenty years of the annual printed Bibliography of Asian Studies (from 1971–1991), plus citations for all articles from 1992–present in 100+ of the most important journals in Asian studies, as well as numerous other citations from recent years.

Handbook for Asian Studies Specialists (Noriko Asato, ABC-CLIO 2013): extended overview and description of reference sources for East Asia, China, Korea and Japan, among which separate sections on philosophy and religion. Online

Dutch Studies on South Asia, Tibet and classical Southeast Asia: overview of Dutch scholarly activities in the field of South Asia, Tibet and classical Southeast Asia from the early 17th century up to the present. It presents biographic data of authors and their works.

For older references to bibliographies and essays in confucianism, taoism and buddhism see the overviews Chinese Religions: the State of the Field, Part I and Part II (1995) in the Journal of Asian Studies.


Classic Asian Philosophy: a guide to the essential texts (Joel Kupperman, Oxford UP 2006): revised edition of Kupperman's introduction to Asian philosophy via its canonical texts, from the Upanishads to the Bhagavad Gita and through Confucius to Zen Buddhism, explaining their philosophical roots. Print en tijdelijk online

Encyclopedia of Asian philosophy (Oliver Leaman, Routledge 2001): covers the main concepts and thinkers in Asian philosophy - starting with Abhidharma and ending with Zurvan. The main philosophical trends and thinkers in each geographical area are featured, with an emphasis on temporary developments and movements. Placed in the study room: B121 .E53 2001

Companion encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Brian Carr et al., Routledge 1997): covers the main traditions within Asian thought: Persian; Indian; Buddhist; Chinese; Japanese; and Islamic philosophy. Each section provides comprehensive coverage of the origins of the tradition, its approaches to, for example, logic and languages, and to questions of morals and society. Also contains useful histories of the lives of the key influential thinkers, as well as a thorough analysis of the current trends. Placed in the S-UB: M 1997 B 121

Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Damien Keown, Routledge 2007). Over 400 articles with bibliographies cover history, doctrines, texts, persons, schools, and practices. The appendix includes timelines of Buddhist history in India, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea, and Tibet and the Himalayas. Users should refer to the index, as coverage of many individuals and topics is found within larger articles. Placed in the S-UB: BQ128 .E617 2007

Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy (Oliver Leaman, Routlegdge 1999): covers all of the main terms and concepts used in Eastern philosophy. It clearly defines the essential philosophical ideas linked to the traditions of Persia, the Islamic world, Japan, India, China and Tibet, and discusses the major principles of Zoroastrianism, Sufism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, and beyond. Each entry includes a lively and authoritative critical analysis of the term or concept covered. On order.

Lexikon der östlichen Weisheitslehren: Buddhismus, Hinduismus, Taoismus, Zen (Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber, Barth 1986): more than four thousand entries and over one hundred illustrations, this encyclopedia offers a complete survey of the four major religious traditions of Asia Placed in the study room: BL1005 .L48 1986

Fifty Eastern Thinkers (Diane Collinson, Routledge 2000): analysis of the work of fifty major thinkers in the field of Eastern philosophy. Includes introductions to major traditions and a glossary of key philosophical terms.


Finding wisdom in East Asian Classics (Theodore De Bary, Columbia UP 2011):  guide to core texts of East Asian culture. Essays address frequently read, foundational texts in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as early modern fictional classics and nonfiction works of the seventeenth century. Opvraagbaar

De series "Introduction of Asian Civilizations" of Columbia University Press contains translated texts from Chinese, Japanees, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and East Asian sources.

Books to start reading


Finding articles

Confucian Traditions Bibliography: website by Joseph Adler on English-language resources


Encyclopedia of Confucianism (Xinzhong Yao, RoutledgeCurzon 2003). Placed in the Asian Library:

Neo-Confucian terms explained: the Pei-hsi tzu-i (Chen Chun, Columbia UP 1986): explanatory dictionary of Neo-Confucian terminology. Placed in the S-UB: B127.N4 C46813 1986   

East Asian Confucianisms: Texts in Contexts (Chun-chieh Huang, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2015): tells the story of the importance of the Confucian traditions and why and how Confucian texts were reinterpreted within the different ambiances and contexts around East Asia. Placed in the Asian Library: B5168 .C6 H83 2015


Among the many translations:

Books to start reading


Finding articles

Westliche Taoismus-Bibliographie, 5th rev.ed. (Knut Walf, Verlag Die Blaue Eule 2003): references of book-length publications in western languages.

A select bibliography of Taoism (Julian Pas, The Institute for Advanced Studies in World Religions 1988)

Chronicle of Taoist Studies in the West 1950-1990 (Anna Seidel, in Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie, vol. 5, 1989. Numéro spécial Etudes taoïstes II). OA Online

Daoist Studies Bibliography: website by James Miller of Queen's University with an extensive bibliography and listing of research tools.


The Taoist Canon: a historical companion to Daozang (Kristofer Schipper, University of Chicago Press 2006) : three-volume reference work which catalogs and describes all existing texts within the Taoist canon in chronological and thematical order. The third volume offers biographical sketches of frequently mentioned Taoists, multiple indexes, and an extensive bibliography. Placed in the Asian Library

Historical Dictionary of Taoism (Julian Pas, Scarecrow Press 1998): extensive historical introduction, but almost no attention for Chinese and Japanese work. Placed in the Asian Library: BL1923 .P37 1998

Encyclopedia of Taoism (Fabrizio Pregadio, Routledge 2007). Over 800 entries on all aspects of Daoism. Placed in the Asian Library: BL1923 .E63 2007

Daoism handbook (Livia Kohn, Brill 2000): essays on the main features and development of Daoism. Retrievable

A survey of Taoist literature : tenth to seventeenth centuries (Judith M. Boltz, 1987): analytical description of numerous Daoist texts from the Song onwards, arranged by types of literature (biographies, geographical works, anthologies), then by schools. OA Online


  • Early Daoist Scriptures (Stephen Bokenkamp, University of California Press 1997): translations of six major Daoist scriptures from the third to the fifth centuries C.E., covering all major schools, arranged in chronological order. Print
  • The Taoist Experience: An Anthology (Livia Kohn, State University of New York 1993). Placed in the S-UB
  • Daoist Iconography Project: database for the study of visual representations of the Daoist pantheon and their contexts of use in Daoist ritual traditions, illustrated scriptures, and popular culture.

Books to start reading


Buddhist Texts through the ages (Edward Conze, Oneworld 1995): Anthology of excerpts and analysis of the canonical texts from the Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric traditions of Buddhism.

 Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations: Deals with the doctrinal foundations of Mahayana Buddhism from India, China, and Japan.

Finding articles

Finding articles

Oxford Bibliographies - Chinese Studies: comprehensive guide to literature on a wide range of subjects in Chinese studies.

Other useful bibligraphies are:

For other useful sources check the subjectguides Chinese Studies and Korean Studies.


Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (Antonio Cua, Routledge 2003): covers the complex and increasingly influential field of Chinese thought, from earliest recorded times to the present day. Descriptions of an extensive range of concepts, movements, philosophical works, and thinkers that populate the field. It includes a thorough survey of the history of Chinese philosophy. Placed in the study room: B126 E496 2003

Grundbegriffe der altchinesischen Philosophie: ein Wörterbuch für die klassische Periode (Ulrich Unger, WBG 2006). Placed in the S-UB: B126 .U544 2000   

Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism (Ven Hyewon, Unjusa Publishers 2013). Print

Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy:  introductions to various aspects of Chinese philosophy as well as philosophical traditions heavily influenced by it. Each volume in this series focuses on an individual school, text, or person.


Books to start reading

Finding articles

A bit outdated and limited to books: Japanese Religion and Philosophy : a Guide to Japanese Reference and Research materials (Donald Holzman, University of Michigan Press 1959). Also available online.

Also check the subjectguide Japanese Studies.


Japanese philosophy: a sourcebook (James Heisig e.a., University of Hawai’i Press 2011). Print

Sourcebook for Modern Japanese Philosophy: Selected Documents (David Dilworth, Greenwood Press 1998)

Books to start reading


Finding articles

Bibliographie du Shintô et des sectes shintôïstes (Jean Herbert, Brill 1968). Print

Shintō-bibliography in western languages : bibliography on shintō and religious sects, intellectual schools and movements influenced by Shintōism (Arcadio Schwade, Brill 1986). Print


An encyclopedia of Shinto (Norman Haven & Inoue Nobutaka, Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 2001-2006. 3 parts consisting of various volumes: 1: Kami, 2: Jinja and 3: Groups, organizations and personalities. Paper & online

Historical Dictionary of Shinto (Stuart Picken, Rowman & Littlefield 2010). Chronology, extensive bibliography and over 800 dictionary entires on Shinto concepts, figures, places, activities and periods. Online

A popular dictionary of Shintō (Brian Bocking, Curzon Press 1996): more then a thousand entries on Shinto explaining Shinto ideas and practices. Studiezaal Asian Library: BL2216.1 .B63 1996 

Om mee te beginnen

A year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine (John Nelson, 1996)

Finding articles

Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies / Bibliography (Karl H. Potter, Motilal Banarsidass 1995): an expanded version of the Bibliography which appeared as Volume I of the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. By far the most exhaustive compilation of citations of Indian philosophy. Both classical texts and secondary materials are included.

Indic Philosophy: Orthodox and Non-Orthodox - A basic bibliography of Books in English: Open Access published list of books and articles made by Patrick O'Donnell (Santa Barbara City College) in 2014.

Epic and Puranic Bibliography: this website "publishes the work of over a decade of the "Tübingen Purana-Project". The online bibliography contains all entries of the printed version Epic and Puranic Bibliography (up to 1985) annotated and with indexes (Harrassowitz 1992) as well as the yet unpublished work of the second phase and the new entries which are now added to the more than 13,000 entries available from the first two phases."

National Bibliography of Indian Literature: a compilation of works "of literary merit, and important and significant books on Philosophy, Religion, History and the other aspects of the Humanities". The Bibliography covers the period from 1901-1953.


Dictionary of Indian Philosophical concepts (B.N. Singh, Asha Prakashan, 1988). Staat in de S-UB: B131 .S549 1988

The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies (Karl Potter et al., Motilal Banarsidass 1970-...): initiated forty years ago, the series is planned to consist of some 27 volumes: a bibliography, and 26 volumes dealing with particular philosophical systems (darsana) in India. Each volume contains an introduction, followed by summaries of the philosophical texts of the system known to exist in Western language translation in chronological order. Placed in the S-UB: B131 .E5 1970


Classical Indian Philosophy: a reader (Deepak Sarma, Columbia UP 2011). On order

A source book in Indian philosophy (Sarvepalli Radhakrsnarna, Princeton UP 2015). Print

The series Historical Sourcebooks in Classical Indian Thought (Columbia UP) provide translations in a wide range of subjects.

Pandit: web-based repository aiming to store, curate, and share reliable data on works, people, places, institutions, and manuscripts from premodern South Asia, in addition to relevant secondary sources, across period, language, discipline, and subject matter.

Books to start reading