This is a research guide for finding materials on philosophy and aesthetics in the Greenfield Library at The University of the Arts. Reference materials are listed first, followed by a list of suggested subject headings for searching library catalogs. Periodical indexes to magazine articles and newspapers are next, followed by style manuals and finally Web sites. If you have questions about this topic please see the librarian's e-mail address at the end of this document.


The first place to look when beginning research on a topic is in reference material: specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks. These allow you to check names, dates and places, find additional information, look up unknown terms, and check for the proper spelling of words. They are particularly helpful for finding basic background information on a topic, and are often the only place many students may need to look to find answers to their questions. They may include bibliographies (lists of additional materials on a topic, usually considered by the author to be the best materials on that topic) that you can use to find other materials.

Call numbers are for the Greenfield Library unless otherwise indicated.

Patin, Thomas and Jennifer McLerran. Artwords: A Glossary of Contemporary Art Theory. Greenwood Press, 1997.
REF N71 .P32 1997

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
REF B41 .C35 1995

The Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism. Edited by Joseph Childers and Gary Hentzi. Columbia University Press, 1995.
REF BH39 .C62 1995

The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy and Philosophers. New revised edition. Unwin Hyman, 1989.
REF B41 .C66 1989

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press, 1998.
REF BH56 .E53 1998 v. 1-4
Check the index in volume 4 for your topic. Since this encyclopedia is all about aesthetics, you may want to look up beauty. For beauty you will find a main entry plus many subheadings such as "ugliness and," "Wilde aesthetic of," and "Winckelmann on." Now available online to the UArts community as part of Oxford Art Online.

Encyclopedia of Creativity. editors in chief, Mark A. Runco, Steven R. Pritzker. Academic Press, 1999.
REF BF408 .E53 1999 v.1-2
"Runco and coeditor Pritzker have created a massive, 2-volume encyclopedia that attempts to survey and to a degree, define, this most important yet intangible psychological construct. ... All articles share several standard features: an outline, a glossary, cross-references, and a bibliography. Two appendixes are also found in the second volume... The first provides a timeline of notable events in the history of the formal study of creativity and the second describes major tests of creativity." Quoted from American Reference Books Annual 2000, p. 317, entry 684. Also available through ebrary.

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Macmillan, 1967.
REF B41 .E5 v. 1-8
Check the index in volume 8 for your topic or person. Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy available through ebrary.

Encyclopedia of Postmodernism / edited by Charles E. Winquist and Victor E. Taylor. Routledge, 2001.
REF B831.2 .E63 2000
Check the index for aesthetics, art, art history and criticism, art object, film studies, names of movements such as Minimalism, modernism, or for people's names.

Fifty Key Contemporary Thinkers: From Structuralism to Post-Humanism. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2008.
REF B804 .L37 2008
Provides overviews of each philosopher/thinker plus some biographical material and a bibliography. In the author's preface to the second edition he writes, "As with the first edition, the purpose of this book is not to serve as a substitute for reading the original material but to make the original more accessible to a wider public." (p. xiii)

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ted Honderich, editor. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 2005.
REF B51 .O94 2005
Also available through ebrary.

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 1994.
REF B41 .B53 1994

Searching the Catalog by Subject

Use the University Libraries catalog to find books, videos, CDs, scores, journal titles, etc. To locate all of the materials the library holds on a topic, it is most efficient to search by Subject. The subject headings below are linked to run in the University Libraries' online catalog. These subject headings are standard and are used in most libraries.

PHILOSOPHY, AMERICAN [and other geographic breakdowns]


Periodical indexes are research tools that allow you to search for articles in journals and magazines.

Go to the library's Article Databases and Indexes page for a list of Web-based periodical index subscriptions.

There are different ways to find an article once you pull up a citation in the index:

  • See if there is a link in the index you're using to a full-text article online and download it or e-mail it to yourself. Click the FindIt@UArts icon to see if our library holds the journal title. FindIt@UArts will also tell you if the full-text article is available in a different database.
  • Use interlibrary loan to request materials not owned by the UArts Libraries.

Style Manuals: Citing Your Sources

When you find information on a topic, no matter what format it takes (book, journal, Web page), there are style manuals to show you the correct way to give cite those sources in a paper.


Searching the Web can be overwhelming. If you are using the Internet for research you want to choose sites that meet the standards of accuracy, currency and authority.

Below are just a few philosophy-related sites that may be of interest to the University of the Arts community.

Aesthetics On-Line
The Web site of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Guide to Philosophy on the Internet by Peter Suber, Earlham College
Huge collection of links, nicely organized and searchable.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
"The purpose of the IEP is to provide detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy. The Encyclopedia is free of charge and available to all users of the Internet world-wide. The present staff of 25 editors and approximately 300 authors hold doctorate degrees and are professors at colleges and universities around the world, most notably from the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. The submission and review process of articles is the same as that with printed philosophy journals, books and reference works. The authors are specialists in the areas in which they write, and are frequently leading authorities. Submissions are peer reviewed by specialists according to strict criteria." from About the IEP. Named a "Best Reference Source" of 2001 by Library Journal.

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