Philosophy Education Resources

Why Study Philosophy?

Philosophy is thought to be a useless major and a useless discipline. This is a thoroughly undeserved reputation; a philosophy education can help you to succeed in many seemingly-unrelated career paths. Here are a few resources for students.

Reading Philosophy

It’s a bit odd to say at first, but one of the difficult skills you should learn in a philosophy course is how to read. Of course philosophy students will know how to read, but many beginning students will not know how to read critically, and reading philosophy is hard.

Philosophical Writing

Writing is an important part of learning philosophy. Philosophy students don’t just write so that they can get graded; it forces students to engage more with details of their arguments, and to think through their own intuitions. However, writing good philosophy papers can be difficult, and is different from other kinds of writing. I am collecting some resources here that my students might find useful.

Plagiarism

A lot of current students don’t seem to understand precisely what plagiarism is or how to avoid it. Here are a few resources that might help.

Research

There are also some good resources for advanced students. These are NOT recommended for students looking to pump up short papers for introductory classesthey’re unlikely to be helpful at that level, and at worst may raise your instructor’s suspicions concerning plagiarism. Still, for the advanced and the curious, these are excellent tools.

  • The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the best free resource for sophisticated introductions to topics in academic philosophy. It is especially helpful as a way to discover important papers, so you can look them up and read the original text.
  • PhilPapers, an outgrowth of Chalmers’ MindPapers project, is an excellent discovery tool for scholarly articles (though you often need library access to view the articles).

Practical Typography for Academics

It should be noted, first, that tinkering with typesetting is a devious trap that will distract you from the important work of producing text that is worth setting well! That said, academic writers should be familiar with the basics of typography and typesetting, and a little effort as you write may save you a lot of effort when you revise. (Just don’t get distracted when you have a deadline coming up.) Someday I may put together my own guide. If you’re looking for typographical advice in the meantime, I strongly recommend Butterick’s Practical Typography.