Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) is an online encyclopedia that attempts to provide high-quality introductory articles on topics within philosophy. It's published by Stanford University's Metaphysics Research Lab and the Center for the Study of Information and Language (CSIL). It was started in 1995 by John Perry, and implemented by Edward N. Zalta. The project has had a number of grants and donations during its existence from the National Endowement for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Friedrich Hayek Fund, the American Philosophical Association, the Canadian Philosophical Assocation and the Philosophy Documentation Center.

The current principal editor is Edward N. Zalta. The senior editor is Uri Nodelman (Stanford) and the associate editor is Colin Allen (Indiana University). The encyclopedia is edited by a large number of subject editors in the various disciplines and areas of study.

Updates are posted frequently, and a few new articles are posted every month. The Encyclopedia also publish an RSS feed so that readers can subscribe to updates.

The Encyclopedia is hosted on the servers of Stanford University in the United States, and is mirrored in Australia by the University of Sydney's Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service, in the Netherlands by the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam, and in the United Kingdom by the Subject Center for Philosophical & Religious Studies at the University of Leeds.

The SEP is not the only encyclopedia of philosophy online - the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides similar coverage, although it tends to be more introductory while Stanford is slightly more scholarly. SEP also competes with online collaborative encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia and Citizendium, and printed philosophy encyclopedias like the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Many librarians and philosophers rate the article quality of SEP very highly. Larry Sanger has used the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as an example of the sort of quality that Citizendium should aspire to[1].


  1. Larry Sanger, Dear philosophers, Citizendium Blog, 2007-10-16