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

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, instructional support informationresearch tips, a list of relevant resources, and new titles.

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.

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.

Featured | In Memoriam: bell hooks

Image of bell hooks speaking into a microphonebell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is one the most influential theorists, social activists, and feminists of the latter 20th and early 21st centuries. She was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky to a working-class African-American family in 1952. She spent the early part of her childhood under the long shadow of segregation, attending a segregated elementary school. Later, she moved on to an integrated school, graduating from Hopkinsville High School. She obtained a BA in English from Stanford University in 1973, an MA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976, and a PhD in the same subject from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983. She then taught at several colleges and universities including Santa Cruz, Oberlin College, and Yale. She passed away in 2021.

We have curated a series of her writings, as well as a few documentaries to which she contributed, in order to provide an introduction to her work.

To learn more her work and life, please enjoy a selection of online resources we've gathered to celebrate bell:

Recent Additions

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Mirabilis Dubitatio

St. Thomas Aquinas placed the formal cause on prominent display as the foundation for his metaphysics of esse. Yet nowhere did he offer a systematic presentation of the key elements for this central doctrine. In response to this absence, Mirabilis dubitatio presents a systematic analysis of the doctrine which Aquinas himself called “a topic of wondrous difficulty.” Kaiser's work argues this central feature of Aquinas's thought, the formal cause, must be reintegrated into any metaphysical analysis in the 21st century. Such a reintegration can only begin through a presentation and understanding of Aquinas's coherent account as presented here.

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The Bloomsbury Handbook of Fichte

A founding figure of German idealism, Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) developed a radically new version of transcendental idealism. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Fichte follows his intellectual life and presents a comprehensive overview of Fichte's dynamic philosophy, from his engagement with Kant to his rigorously systematic and nuanced Wissenschaftslehre and beyond. Covering a variety of topics and issues in epistemology, ontology, moral and political philosophy, as well as philosophy of right and philosophy of religion, an international team of experts on Fichte explores his important contributions to philosophy. This is an invaluable research resource for all Fichte scholars and a reliable guide for anyone undertaking a study of Fichte and German idealism.

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The Bloomsbury Companion to Arendt

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) remains a touchstone in innumerable debates about the use of violence in politics, the responsibility one has under dictatorships and totalitarianism, and how to combat the repetition of the horrors of the past. The Bloomsbury Companion to Arendt offers the definitive guide to her writings and ideas, her influences and commentators, as well as the reasons for her lasting significance, with 66 original essays taking up in accessible terms the myriad ways in which one can understand her work and her continuing importance. These essays, written by an international set of her best readers and commentators, provide a comprehensive coverage of her life and the contexts in which her works were written.

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Apperception and Self-Consciousness in Kant and German Idealism

In Apperception and Self-Consciousness in Kant and German Idealism, Dennis Schulting examines the themes of reflexivity, self-consciousness, representation and apperception in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and German Idealism more widely. Central to Schulting's argument is the claim that all of human experience is irreversibly self-referential and that this is part of a self-reflexivity, or what philosophers call transcendental apperception, a Kantian insight that was first apparent in the work of Christian Wolff and came to inform all of German Idealism. The author establishes the historical roots of Kant's thought and traces it through to his immediate successors Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

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A revised second edition of the bestselling anthology on the major figures and themes in aesthetics and philosophy of art, the ideal resource for a comprehensive introduction to the study of aesthetics. Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology offers a well-rounded and thorough introduction to the evolution of modern thought on aesthetics. In a collection of over 60 readings, focused primarily on the Western tradition, this text includes works from key figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Danto, and others. Broad in scope, this volume also contains contemporary works on the value of art, frequently-discussed continental texts, modern perspectives on feminist philosophy of art, and essays by authors outside of the community of academic philosophy.

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Aesthetics in Dialogue

The impact of aesthetics is increasing again. For today's scholars, aesthetic theories are a significant companion and contribution in studying and analyzing cultural phenomena and production. Today's scene of aesthetics is more global than what it is in most disciplines, as it does not just include scholars from all over the world, but also keeps on applying philosophical traditions globally.

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Advancing the Human Self

Do technologies advance our self-identities, as they do our bodies, cognitive skills, and the next developmental stage called postpersonal? Did we already manage to be fully human, before becoming posthuman? Are we doomed to disintegration and episodic selfhood? This book examines the impact of radical technopoiesis on our selves from a multidisciplinary perspective, including the health humanities, phenomenology, the life sciences and humanoid AI (artificial intelligence) ethics. Surprisingly, our body representations show more plasticity than scholarly concepts and sociocultural narratives. Our embodied selves can withstand transplants, bionic prostheses and radical somatechnics, but to remain autonomous and authentic, our agential potentials must be strengthened - and this is not through 'psychosurgery' and the brain-computer interface.

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Adorno and Neoliberalism

The first book to investigate the relevance of Theodor W. Adorno's work for theorizing the age of neoliberal capitalism. Through an engagement with Adorno's critical theory of society, Charles Prusik advances a novel approach to understanding the origins and development of neoliberalism. Offering a corrective to critics who define neoliberalism as an economic or political doctrine, Prusik argues that Adorno's dialectical theory of society can provide the basis for explaining the illusions and forms of domination that structure contemporary life. Prusik explains the importance of Marx's critique of commodity fetishism in shaping Adorno's work and focuses on the related concepts of exchange, ideology, and natural history as powerful tools for grasping the present.

Tanabe Hajime and the Kyoto School

This introduction to Tanabe Hajime (1885-1962), the critical successor of the "father of contemporary Japanese philosophy" Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), focuses on Tanabe's central philosophical ideas and perspective on self, world, knowledge, and the purpose of philosophizing. Addressing Tanabe's life-long study of the history of Anglo-European philosophy, Takeshi Morisato explores his notable philosophical ideas including the logic of species, metanoetics, and philosophy of death. He sets out Tanabe's belief that the Anglo-European framework of thinking is incapable of giving sufficient answers to the philosophical questions concerning the self and the world together and discusses the central ideas he developed while working in both Judeo-Christian and Mahayana Buddhist traditions.

Contributors' Notes

Dean Ericksen (he/him) - Reference Services Public Services Assistant

Rachel Brill (she/her) - Arts & Humanities Library Assistant

McLain Chadsey (he/him) Arts & Humanities Library Assistant