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PHIL 440 - Philosophy and Public Life: Finding Background Information

This guide identifies library resources to support your research related to Philosophy 440 course work.

Why is background information important?

Background information can be found in reference books like those provided in links on this page.  It's always a good idea to learn about your topic before you proceed to narrowing it.  Doing background research seems like more work, but it actually provides you with important information that makes the rest of your research project more efficient.  When you do background research in reference books you can find the following kinds of information:

  • a concise history and general orientation to your subject
  • definitions of terms important to your topic
  • a discussion of the issues and/or research being done on your subject (These are natural paper topics.)
  • a mention of the key players or researchers dealing with your topic
  • an introduction to the vocabulary (jargon) of your topic

If you "front-load" your research, you'll actually save yourself time by orienting yourself to your subject and discovering possible paper topics in the reference works you consult.

Oxford Reference Online (Online)

Oxford University Press offers many of its fine reference works online.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Online)

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Print)

Essays on important philosophical theories and philosophers. Includes extensive list of both primary and secondary literature related to the philosopher or philosophical theory. 

Finding Books Using the USD Catalog

To find Reference books, search for "philosophy".  Then filter the results to the Reference Collection by choosing 'USD: University Libraries - REFERENCE COLLECTION'.  You may have to click 'Show More' to find this location.

Note that many of our 'books' are ebooks, not physical books.

McKusick Law Library Resources

When the location starts with 'USD: McKusick Law Library', the resources reside in the Law Library.  They are available for in-house use from Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

Items with the location is listed as ''USD: McKusick Law Library: LOWER LIBRARY CIRCULATING COLLECTION' are also available for 4-week checkout.


WorldCat Catalog

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