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Philosophy

The IU Bloomington Libraries' Philosophy collection supports research and teaching in all branches of philosophy.

Librarian for Media Studies, Gender Studies, & Philosophy

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Herman B Wells Library
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Land Acknowledgment & Resource Guide

Indiana University and the city of Bloomington occupy lands of enduring historical and cultural significance, and that for some was, is, and will always be home, to a number of Indigenous groups, including the Myaamiaki (Miami), Lënape (Delaware), saawanwa (Shawnee), kiikaapoa (Kickapoo), and Neshnabé/Bodwéwadmik (Potawatomi) peoples. We honor and acknowledge the ancestral and contemporary caretakers of this place, as well as our nonhuman spirits, elders, and guides, offer gratitude for being held and nourished by the land, and recognize the inherent sovereignty and resilience of all Native communities who have survived and still thrive to this day on Turtle Island in spite of the systemic subjugation, dispossession, and genocide that constitute the ongoing reality of settler-colonialism.

We encourage all, settlers and guests alike, to look beyond acknowledgement and engage with local Indigenous communities while also cultivating thoughtful relations of reciprocity with the sacred land you live on, as well as the many vibrant beings with whom you share it. 

Further Resources & Reading

If you'd like to learn more about the practice and history of Indigenous land acknowledgments and the tribes, nations, and communities with ties to this land colonially known as the state of Indiana, consult our full resource guide.

About Philosophy

Welcome to the Philosophy Subject Guide for Indiana University Bloomington

We're glad you're here. This guide contains information and resources pertaining to the field of philosophy. Here you'll find featured content, helpful resources and services for scholarsinstructional support informationresearch & writing tips, a list of relevant resources, and new titles. You can also hover over each item in the navigation menu to the left for a brief description of what you'll find there; if you're using a mobile device, there is also a summary on each page.

The subject specialist and collection manager for this area is nicholae cline. If you would like to contact them, please use the profile box located on the left-hand side of this page. If you would like to request a purchase for our collections, you can use this form.

To learn more about who we are and the services we offer, including links to key general library services, take a look at the About Us page of this guide.


About Philosophy

What is truth? What is knowledge? What is goodness? Philosophy (from the Greek for “love of wisdom”) is the discipline of asking such questions about the fundamental nature of the universe. The IU Bloomington Libraries’ Philosophy collection supports research and teaching in all branches of philosophy. Philosophy encompasses a wide range of subfields, from metaphysics and epistemology to ethics to the philosophy of science.

Historically, emphasis has been placed on Western philosophy (Western Europe, Great Britain, and America); coverage of the philosophy of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America is limited, but growing. The philosophy collection is housed on the 4th floor of the Herman B Wells Library.

To learn more about the IU Department of Philosophy, visit their website.

Recent Additions

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The Futility of Philosophical Ethics

The Futility of Philosophical Ethics puts forward a novel account of the grounds of moral feeling with fundamental implications for philosophical ethics. Using an analytic approach, James Kirwan engages in the ongoing debates among contemporary philosophers within metaethics and normative ethics. Instead of trying to erase the variety of moral responses that exist in philosophical analysis under one totalizing system, Kirwan argues that such moral theorizing is futile. His analysis counters currently prevalent arguments that seek to render the origins of moral experience unproblematic by finding substitutes for realism in various forms of noncognitivism. In reasserting the problematic nature of moral experience, and offering a theory of the origins of that experience in unavoidable individual desires, Kirwan accounts for the diverse manifestations of moral feeling and demonstrates why so many arguments in metaethics and normative ethics are necessarily irresolvable.

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Ernest Sosa Encountering Chinese Philosophy

A major figure in the Anglo-American analytic tradition, Ernest Sosa is a pioneer of contemporary virtue epistemology. Engaging with his important work for the first time, a team of renowned scholars of Chinese philosophy bring Western analytic epistemology into dialogue with themes and issues in the history of the Chinese tradition in order to reveal multiple points of connection. Drawing on thinkers and texts from Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism, chapters explore issues central to virtue epistemology, such as the reliabilist and responsibilist divide, the distinction between virtues constitutive of knowledge and virtues auxiliary to knowledge, epistemic competence, and the role of testimony. Including Sosa's constructive and systematic responses to each scholar's interpretation of his work, this volume demonstrates the value of cross-cultural dialogue, advancing the field of virtue epistemology, and paving the way for further engagement between philosophical traditions.

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Adorno's Rhinoceros

Throughout his work, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno repeatedly invokes the rhinoceros. Taking its cue from one of these passages in Aesthetic Theory, 'So a rhinoceros, the mute animal, seems to say: I am a rhinoceros', this book explores the life of this animal in Adorno's texts, and articulates the nuanced interconnections between art, nature and critique in his thought. By thus illuminating key elements of Adorno's work, this volume reveals the invaluable contributions that this 'classical' thinker can make to our current reflections on the various pressing natural and political crises of our times.

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Architecture of the Possible

As a philosopher and a novelist, Tristan Garcia inhabits two worlds, metaphysics and literary fiction, like an amphibious creature moving between the land and the sea, breathing in both air and water. He is drawn to metaphysics because, as he puts it, metaphysics is the edge of the abyss of thought, the unstable frontier of indeterminacy where thinking is no longer constrained by the principles of logic or the law of non-contradiction. Metaphysics seeks to describe the world from outside one's own point of view. It aims at an ecstatic reconstruction of what keeps us locked up in our conditions, in our time and place, here among the living, with our subjectivities and within our situations. It gives us an idea of all constraints from a point of view that posits the possible absence of the constraint of having a point of view. The ambition of this slender book is to help us grasp and transform the conditions of our existence by paying equal attention to what is ending and what is just beginning, to the dusk and to the dawn. Until we cannot hold our breath any longer.

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Comparing Husserl's Phenomenology and Chinese Yogacara in a Multicultural World

While phenomenology and Yogacara Buddhism are both known for their investigations of consciousness, there exists a core tension between them: phenomenology affirms the existence of essence, whereas Yogacara Buddhism argues that everything is empty of essence (svabhava). How is constructive cultural exchange possible when traditions hold such contradictory views? Answering this question and positioning both philosophical traditions in their respective intellectual and linguistic contexts, Jingjing Li argues that what Edmund Husserl means by essence differs from what Chinese Yogacarins mean by svabhava, partly because Husserl problematises the substantialist understanding of essence in European philosophy. Furthermore, she reveals that Chinese Yogacara has developed an account of self-transformation, ethics and social ontology that renders it much more than simply a Buddhist version of Husserlian phenomenology. Detailing the process of finding a middle ground between the two traditions, this book demonstrates how both can thrive together in order to overcome Orientalism.

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Consciousness

Consciousness is a thought-provoking collection of classic and contemporary philosophical literature on consciousness, bringing together influential scholarship by seminal thinkers and the work of emerging voices who reflect the diversity of the field. Editors Josh Weisberg and David Rosenthal have selected discussions that animate modern debates and connect consciousness to broader philosophical topics. Divided into five parts, Consciousness explores the nature of consciousness, consciousness and knowledge, qualitative consciousness, and theories of consciousness. A final section on agency and physicalism includes work by Galen Strawson and a previously unpublished article by Myrto Mylopoulos. Philosophically challenging yet accessible to students, Consciousness is an ideal reader for many undergraduate and graduate courses on consciousness or philosophy of mind, as well as a useful supplementary text for general classes in philosophy and a valuable reference text for philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists, and psychologists.

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Emotions in Korean Philosophy and Religion

This pioneering book presents thirteen articles on the fascinating topic of emotions (jeong) in Korean philosophy and religion. Its introductory chapter comprehensively provides a textual, philosophical, ethical, and religious background on this topic in terms of emotions West and East, emotions in the Chinese and Buddhist traditions, and Korean perspectives. Chapters 2 to 5 of part I discuss key Korean Confucian thinkers, debates, and ideas. Chapters 6 to 8 of part II offer comparative thoughts from Confucian moral, political, and social angles. Chapters 9 to 12 of part III deal with contemporary Buddhist and eco-feminist perspectives. The concluding chapter discusses ground-breaking insights into the diversity, dynamics, and distinctiveness of Korean emotions.

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The Essential Berkeley and Neo-Berkeley

The Essential Berkeley and Neo-Berkeley is an introduction to the life and work of one of the most significant thinkers in the history of philosophy and a penetrating philosophical assessment of his lasting legacy. Written in clear and user-friendly style, Berman provides: A concise summary of George Berkeley (1685-1753)'s life and writings; an accessible introduction to the structure of Berkeley's most authoritative work, The Principles of Human Knowledge; an overview of common misunderstandings of Berkeley's philosophy, and how to avoid them. Beyond solely an introduction, Berman also gives us a broader and deeper appreciation of Berkeley as a philosopher. He argues for Berkeley's work as a philosophical system with coherence and important key themes hitherto unexplored and provides an analysis of why he thinks Berkeley's work has had such lasting significance. With a particular focus on Berkeley's dualist thinking and theories of 'mental types', Berman provides students and scholars with a key to unlocking the significance of this work. 

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The Ethics of Generating Posthumans

Should transhuman and posthuman persons ever be brought into existence? And if so, could they be generated in a good and loving way? This study explores how society may respond to the actual generation of new kinds of persons from ethical, philosophical, and theological perspectives. Contributors to this volume address a number of essential questions, including the ethical ramifications of generating new life, the relationships that generators may have with their creations, and how these creations may consider their generation. This collection's interdisciplinary approach traverses the philosophical writings of Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, alongside theological considerations from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. It invites academics, faith leaders, policy makers, and stakeholders to think through the ethical gamut of generating posthuman and transhuman persons.

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Forms of the Left in Postcolonial South Asia

This book explores the aesthetic forms of the political left across the borders of post-colonial, post-partition South Asia. Spanning India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the contributors study art, film, literature, poetry and cultural discourse to illuminate the ways in which political commitment has been given aesthetic form and artistic value by artists and by cultural and political activists in postcolonial South Asia. With a focused conceptualization this volume asks: Does the political left in South Asia have a recognizable aesthetic form? And if so, what political effects do left-wing artistic movements and aesthetic artefacts have in shaping movements against inequality and injustice? Reframing political aesthetics within a postcolonial and decolonised framework, the contributors detail the trajectories and transformations of left-wing cultural formations and affiliations and focus on connections and continuities across post-1947/8 India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher of Time

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), a mathematician and logician by training, was the author of highly original works at the crossroads of science and philosophy which explore the nature of the world around us and its temporal flow. Convinced that everyday terms distort reality, Whitehead invented or borrowed terms more appropriate to his project. The word 'Process', which gives its title to his most famous work Process and Reality (1929), is central to his thinking. Whitehead's perspective allows for the occurrence of creative novelties, but necessitates that the world cooperates with a deity, the role of which is examined in this book's last chapter. In Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher of Time, the author mixes biographical elements with intellectual advances, from logicism to philosophies of nature. A compelling introduction to Whitehead's demanding work, this book deciphers a metaphysical landscape often considered too abstract to be approachable, but points out the philosopher's imperfections with respect to the scientific advances of our time.

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From Deleuze and Guattari to Posthumanism

Uncovering the theoretical and creative interconnections between posthumanism and philosophies of immanence, this volume explores the influence of the philosophy of immanence on posthuman theory; the varied reworkings of immanence for the nonhuman turn; and the new pathways for critical thinking created by the combination of these monumental discourses. As positions that insist, respectively, on the equal yet distinct powers of mind and body (immanence) and the urgent need to dismantle human privilege and exceptionality (posthumanism), each chapter reveals concepts for rethinking established notions of being, thought, experience, and life. The authors here take examples from a range of different media, including literature and contemporary cinema, featuring films such as Enthiran/The Robot (India, 2010) and CHAPPiE (USA/Mexico, 2015), and new developments in technology and theory. In doing so, they investigate Deleuzian and Guattarian posthumanism from a variety of political and ethical frameworks and perspectives, from afro-pessimism to feminist thought, disability studies, biopolitics, and social justice.

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Horos

In Horos, Thea Potter explores the complex relationship between classical philosophy and the 'horos', a stone that Athenians erected to mark the boundaries of their marketplace, their gravestones, their roads and their private property. Potter weaves this history into a meditation on the ancient philosophical concept of horos, the foundational project of determination and definition, arguing that it is central to the development of classical philosophy and the marketplace. Horos challenges many significant interpretations of ancient thought. With nuance and insight, Potter combines the works of Aristotle, Plato, Homer and archaic Greek inscriptions with the twentieth-century continental philosophy of Heidegger, Derrida and Walter Benjamin. The result is a powerful study of the theme of boundaries in classical Athenian society as evidenced by boundary stones, law and exchange, ontology, insurgency and occupation. The innovative book will be of interest to scholars in the fields of ancient Greek social history, philosophy, and literature, as well as to the general reader who is curious to know more about classical life and philosophy.

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Introduction to Field-Being Philosophy

This text is the first concise anthology of Lik Kuen Tong’s Field-Being philosophy. In addressing the ontology of both Eastern and Western thought, Field-Being philosophy offers a new metaphysics. Inclusively, it makes room at the table of philosophy for indigenous philosophy, and, foundationally, it rethinks the universe and the global world ontologically as “activity” and “relationality.” A comprehensive philosophy, it considers what is as movement, as well as the what of movement, and inventively adds the concept of “betweenness.” This philosophy of movement or “activity,” being future-oriented, is timely in the practical world, lending itself to the addressing of current issues such as climate change, global relations, and difference.

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Knowledge, Number and Reality

Throughout his career, Keith Hossack has made outstanding contributions to the theory of knowledge, metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics. This collection of previously unpublished papers begins with a focus on Hossack's conception of the nature of knowledge, his metaphysics of facts and his account of the relations between knowledge, agents and facts. Attention moves to Hossack's philosophy of mind and the nature of consciousness, before turning to the notion of necessity and its interaction with a priori knowledge. Hossack's views on the nature of proof, logical truth, conditionals and generality are discussed in depth. In the final chapters, questions about the identity of mathematical objects and our knowledge of them take centre stage, together with questions about the necessity and generality of mathematical and logical truths. Knowledge, Number and Reality represents some of the most vibrant discussions taking place in analytic philosophy today.

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Michel Henry's Practical Philosophy

Providing theoretical and applied analyses of Michel Henry's practical philosophy in light of his guiding idea of Life, this is the first sustained exploration of Henry's practical thought in anglophone literature, reaffirming his centrality to contemporary continental thought. This book ranges from the tension between his methodological insistence on life as non-intentional and worldly activities to Henry's engagement with the practical philosophy of intellectuals such as Marx, Freud, and Kandisky to topics of application such as labor, abstract art, education, political liberalism, and spiritual life. An international team of leading Henry scholars examine a vital dimension of Henry's thinking that has remained under-explored for too long.

Featured | Introduction to Queer Theory

Welcome! This guide offers a brief introduction to Queer Theory and resources available at Indiana University. This guide is divided into four sections:

  1. A brief introduction to the field of queer theory and a history of the word "queer." 
  2. A selection of queer theory resources in the form of anthologies/readers and databases to assist you in your research. We have also included a small selection of influential queer theory articles.
  3. A selection of some foundational queer theorists and their key works.
  4. A collection of a few sub-topics of queer theory and further reading in these areas.

This guide will not contain all of the key figures/texts in the field but we hope that it can serve as a jumping-off point for future research whether you are a seasoned academic or completely new to queer theory.

To access the full feature, hover over the "Features" tab on the right and select "Introduction to Queer Theory"

Protestors holding a sign that says "Queer Nation: Get Used To It!"

Photograph: Queer Nation activists march at a New York City peace rally in October 1990. Tracey Litt, KQED.


Additional Guides

The Libraries have curated a number of interrelated resources and features to continue and deepen the conversation. You'll find these below: