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Philosophy: Library Resource Guide

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Subject Headings

Subject headings "collocate" (bring together) all materials that the library owns on a particular topic or in a particular format.  While simple keyword searches are sufficient to locate most of these resources, a subject heading search will often have much greater recall -- it will bring back everything on a topic -- and much higher precision -- it will bring back only those things related to a topic.  In other words, your results will be fewer and successful hits will be higher.

The subject headings used in the card catalog and online catalog are standardized Library of Congress terms, which may be “subdivided” (made more specific) by geographic area, chronological period, genre, or sub-topic. The language of subject headings is not at all intuitive or natural, so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a librarian for help in finding the correct subject headings.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the catalog using terms you think describe the topic in order to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.

As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. Most likely you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.

Examples of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

Applied Ethics

Metaphysics -- History

Philosophy of nature -- United States -- History -- 19th Century

God, proof of

Logic, Symbolic and mathematical -- Congresses

Art -- Philosophy

Rationalism in religion

Philosophy, Ancient -- Poetry


If you're having trouble formulating search terms, the Library of Congress Subject Headings in Philosophy: A Thesaurus might be helpful.  Written by Barabara L. Berman, this book gathers together all of the Library of Congress Subject Headings relavent to philosophy and related topics.  Like a traditional thesaurus, it is arranged with broader, narrower, and related terms, in addition to "nodes," which indicate the field of philosophy under which the subject heading falls (e.g. metaphysics, ethics, etc.)  It is available in the Reference section of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, on the north wall, call no. Q. 025.491 L616.

Browsing Books

If you would like to browse through the books in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, below you will find a breakdown of the Dewey call numbers.  Currently, these books can be found on the second and third row shelving units; the first unit contains books in both philosophy and history that have been recently acquired, so be sure to look there as well.  Because space is limited here in the HPNL, most of our collection is in the Main Stacks, just around the corner.  UIUC faculty, graduate students, and staff can access the stacks by presenting a valid I-Card, while undergraduate students can request a Bookstacks pass at the Main Circulation Desk or in Room 202 Main Library.

100 Philosophy
        101-109 Standard divisions of philosophy
                   100 Philosophy, parapsychology, and occultism
                   101 Theory of philosophy
                   102 Miscellany of philosophy
                   103 Dictionaries, encyclopedias, concordances of philosophy
                   105 Serial publications of philosophy
                   106 Organizations and management of philosophy
                   107 Education, research, related topics of philosophy
                   108 History and description of philosophy with respect to kinds of persons
                   109 History and collected persons treatment of philosophy
        110 Metaphysics
                   110 Metaphysics
                   111 Ontology
                   113 Cosmology (Philosophy of nature)
                   114 Space
                   115 Time
       120 Epistemology
                   121 Epistemology (Theory of knowledge)
                   122 Causation
                   123 Determinism and indeterminism
                   124 Teleology
                   126 The self
                   127 The unconscious and the subconscious
                   128 Humankind
                   129 Origin and destiny of individual souls

       130 Parapsychology & occultism
                   131 Parapsychological and occult methods for achieving
                           well-being, happiness, and success
                   133 Specific topics in parapsychology and occultism
                   135 Dreams and mysteries
                   137 Divinatory graphology
                   138 Physiognomy

       140 Philosophical schools of thought
                   141 Idealism and related systems and doctrines
                   142 Critical philosophy
                   143 Bersonism and intuitionism
                   144 Humanism and related systems and doctrines
                   145 Sensationalism
                   146 Naturalism and related systems and doctrines
                   147 Pantheism and related systems and doctrines
                   148 Dogmatism, eclecticism, liberalism, syncretism, traditionalism
                   149 Other philosophical systems and doctrines

       150 Psychology
                   152 Sensory perception, movement, emotions, psyiological drives
                   153 Conscious mental processes and intelligence
                   154 Subconscious and altered states and processes
                   155 Differential and developmental psychology
                   156 Comparative psychology
                   158 Applied Psychology

       160 Logic
                   161 Induction
                   162 Deduction
                   165 Fallacies and sources of error
                   166 Syllogisms
                   167 Hypotheses
                   168 Argument and persuasion
                   169 Analogy

       170 Ethics
                  171 Ethical systems
                  172 Political ethics
                  173 Ethics of family relationships
                  174 Occupational ethics
                  175 Ethics of recreation, leisure, public performances, communication
                  176 Ethics of sex and reproduction
                  177 Ethics of social relations
                  178 Ethics of consumption
                  179 Other ethical norms
       180 Ancient, medieval, and eastern philosophy
                  181 Eastern philosophy
                  182 Pre-Socratic Greek philosophies
                  183 Sophistic, Socratic, and related Greek philosophies
                  184 Platonic philosophy
                  185 Aristotelian philosophy
                  186 Skeptic and Neoplatonic philosophies
                  187 Epicurean philosophy
                  188 Stoic philosophy
                  189 Medieval western philosophy

       190 Modern western and other non-eastern philosophy
                  191 United States and Canada
                  192 British Isles
                  193 Germany and Austria
                  194 France
                  195 Italy
                  196 Spain and Portugal
                  197 Former Soviet Union
                  198 Scandinavia and Finland
                  199 Other geographic areas

In the Stacks

The Library has also established specific call numbers for indivudal philosophers.  Below is just a sampling.  You can find a much more complete list upon request.

Aristotle: 185 Ar4
George Berkeley: 194 B45
Albert Camus: 845 C15
Confucius: 181.1 C76
Jacques Derrida: 194 D4482
Rene Descartes: 194 D45
Gottlob Frege: 193 F88
G.W.F. Hegel: 193 H36
Martin Heidegger: 193 H362
Thomas Hobbes: 192 H65
David Hume: 192 H88
Edmund Husserl: 193 H96
Immanuel Kant: 193 K13
John Locke: 192 L79
Karl Marx: 193 M36
Friedrich Nietzsche: 193 N55
Plato: 184 P69
Jean-Paul Sartre: 194 Sa7
Benedictus de Spinoza: 193 Sp4
Ludwig Wittgenstein: 193 W78

Find Book Reviews


Don't forget to explore our rich microform holdings, in the back of the library and up the stairs (Deck 6).  Although there isn't much film classified in the 100's, you will find surprises scattered throughout the collection. These range from works by Kant and his commentators in the 830s (German literature) to Heraclitus' fragments in the 880s (Greek literature).