There are lots of ways to start searching REP Online:

Advanced Search
Browse All
Browse Overviews
Browse Topics
Browse Periods
Browse Regions
Browse Religions

To see details on using these different ways to search REP Online please view the information below. 

The Advanced search page can be accessed by clicking the Advanced Search link at the top of the page.

To perform an Advanced search, enter your term in the search box and select one of the options from the drop-down menu to limit your search to instances within:

  • - Anywhere in the text;
  • - Article title;
  • - Contributor/Author;
  • - Bibliography (title);
  • - Bibliography (author)

To add or exclude further search terms, click 'Add row' and select an operator from the drop-down menu: And; Or; Not.

For example, searching for 'existentialism' in Bibliography (title) Not 'sartre' in Bibliography (author) will find all bibliographic items which include existentialism in the title, excluding those written by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Searches may also be limited by instances within one or more topics by clicking the check box(es) next to each topic description.

Special Characters
Special characters, for example accented characters e.g. Lévi-Strauss should be replaced with ordinary letters, e.g. Levi-Strauss, when searching.

In Browse All you will find an A-Z listing of all the REP Online articles and glossary terms. Browse through the articles by clicking on a letter in the A-Z box on the left.

  • - The Glossary sign indicates that this item is a term included in the REP Online glossary.
  • - The Overview sign indicates that this is one of the Overview articles giving an introduction and guide to the subject.
  • - The New sign indicates that this is an article that has been recently added to REP Online and will be dated accordingly.
  • - The Revised sign indicates that this article has been significantly revised since being published in REP Online. It will be marked with the date of the revision.

Inverted Titles
Title of entries consisting of more than one word are often inverted so that the key term (in a thematic entry) or the surname (in a biographical entry) determines the place of the entry in the alphabetical sequence. For example:

  • - Law, philosophy of
  • - Market, ethics of
  • - Hart, Herbert Lionel Adolphus (1907-93)

Conceptual Organization

Several issues have had a bearing on the sequence of entries where there is more than one key term. In deciding on the sequence of entries we have tried, wherever possible, to integrate philosophy as it is known and studied in the USA and Europe with philosophy from around the world. This means that the reader will frequently find entries from different philosophical traditions or approaches to the same topic close to each other. For example, in the sequence:

  • - Political philosophy
  • - Political philosophy, African
  • - Political philosophy, history of
  • - Political philosophy in classical Islam
  • - Political philosophy, Indian

Similarly, in entries where a philosophical tradition or approach is surveyed we have tried, whenever appropriate, to keep philosophical traditions from different countries together. For example, in the sequence:

  • - Confucian philosophy, Chinese
  • - Confucian philosophy, Japanese
  • - Confucian philosophy, Korean
  • - Confucius (551-479 BC)

Finally, historical entries are usually placed with contemporary entries under the topic rather than the historical period. For example, in the sequence:

  • - Language, ancient philosophy of
  • - Language and discrimination
  • - Language and gender
  • - Language, conventionality of
  • - Language, early modern philosophy of
  • - Language, Indian theories of
  • - Language, innateness of

To browse the introductory articles to key themes across philosophy simply Browse Overviews. The results will be listed in alphabetical order and you can use the headings on the left to narrow your search or browse the articles at your leisure.

These articles provide an accessible overview of the sub-disciplines or regional coverage within REP Online; they provide a 'map', directing the readers towards and around the many articles relating to each topic. For example: Metaphysics; Science, philosophy of; East Asian philosophy. Overview articles are free to all users.

To browse the contents of the encyclopedia by theme, choose one of the subjects under Browse on the navigation bar. Choose a category from among Topics, Periods, Regions and Religions, to see the subjects in each category, e.g. Ethics, Twentieth century philosophy, African philosophy, Buddhist philosophy. Then click on one of the subject headings on the left to see a list of articles corresponding to that theme, region or period.

The first article(s) in any list will be the Overview for that subject; then will follow an alphabetical list of all the other articles classified under the subject.

The Browse by Topics, Periods, Regions and Religions lists are intended as a means of leafing through the many different areas of philosophy within REP Online. The emphasis of the organization of articles has been upon inclusivity, with the aim of offering the greatest number of potential access routes to the material.

The glossary is a resource offering short definitional entries, alphabetically organized, on terms used in the most technical areas of philosophy, philosophical logic and the philosophy of mathematics. Access the Glossary of Logical and Mathematical Terms by going to Browse Topics.

The share tools on the website enable users to share articles and shortlists by email or social media. These links will take the recipient to the page visited, non-subscribers will see the free content. The functionality enables instructors to share articles with their students in the form of reading shortlists.

The minimum recommended screen resolution for REP Online is 800 x 600 pixels. The recommended number of colours is at least 256.

If the content of REP Online is too small to read comfortably, increase the text size setting in your browser application.

The site supports the following browsers:

Firefox 35
IE 9+10
Safari 7
Chrome 40

Apple: Mobile Safari iOS7 & 8
Android: Android Lollipop and Nexus 5

The Search box is available at the top of every page of the site and often provides the quickest way to access specific information. Type keywords or names into the box, then click on the magnifying glass icon or press ENTER.

Stemming: by default, if you search for philosophy this will also find hits for grammatically related words such as philosophical, philosopher or philosophies. Exact matches in the title of an article will appear higher up in the search results than stemmed matches.

Truncation: use an apostrophe for truncation searching to find words starting with the same string of letters, e.g. psych' will find hits for psyche, psychology, psychiatry or psychoanalysis

Exact phrase search: use quotation marks to find exact matches for a phrase such as "I think therefore I am"

Boolean searches

Simple boolean searches can be entered directly into the quick search box at the top of every page. For more complex searches involving multiple operators (AND / OR / NOT) please use the Advanced Search.

AND (Boolean operator): searching for Kant AND Wollstonecraft will find articles that include both search terms. NB searching for Kant Wollstonecraft will have the same effect

NOT (Boolean operator): search for Kant NOT Wollstonecraft to find articles which mention Kant but do not mention Wollstonecraft

OR (Boolean operator): search for Kant OR Wollstonecraft to find articles which mention either Kant or Wollstonecraft (or both)

The Search Results page indicates the total number of results found and the number of matches e.g. a keyword search for 'Plato' returns the following information in the search results page: 1-25 of 558. Results contain 1,196 matches. This means each page lists 25 results. Plato is mentioned 1,196 times across 558 articles and sections.

The Search Results page lists them in descending order of correspondence to the search term.

If the result you require is not found, specify narrower search criteria in the search box or refine your search as described below.

Clicking on a result links to the relevant article page.

Filter Your Search
It is possible to filter search results by selecting the options on the left-hand side of the page. Search results may be filtered by Availability, Topics, Periods, Regions, Religions, Contributor, Article Type and Status. By clicking on one of these you will be returned a list of the articles which contain your search term within that criterion.

For example, to refine your search for 'Particularism' click on Topic to display the list of subjects within which the term occurs. Selecting Philosophy of language will return a list of articles which contain the term 'Particularism' and are relevant to that subject area. Filters may be used in combination, for example by then selecting Article Type > Overview.

All names and terms from non-roman alphabets have been romanized in the Encyclopedia. Foreign names have been given according to the conventions within the particular language.

Arabic has been transliterated in a simplified form, that is, without macrons or subscripts. Names of philosophers are given in their Arabic form rather than their Latinate form, for example, Ibn Rushd rather than Averroes. Arabic names beginning with the prefix 'al-' are alphabetized under the substantive part of the name and not the prefix. For example:

  • - Al-Kindi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Ishaq (d. c.866-73)

Arabic names beginning with the prefix 'Ibn' are alphabetized under 'I.'

Chinese, Korean and Japanese
Chinese has been transliterated using the Pinyin system. Dummy titles in the older Wade-Giles system are given in the text for names and key terms; these direct the reader to the Pinyin titles. Japanese has been transliterated using a modified version of the Hepburn system. Chinese, Japanese and Korean names are given in Asian form, that is, surname preceding forenames. For example:

  • - Wang Fuzhi
  • - Nishitani Keiji

The exception is where an author has chosen to present their own name in conventional Western form.

Hebrew has been transliterated in a simplified form, that is, without macrons or subscripts.

Cyrillic characters have been transliterated using the Library of Congress system. Russian names are usually given with their patronymic, for example, Bakunin, Mikhail Aleksandrovich.

A guide to the pronunciation of Sanskrit can be found in the Indian and Tibetan philosophy signpost entry.

Tibetan has been transliterated using the Wiley system. Dummy titles in the Virginia system are given in the text for names and key terms. A guide to Tibetan pronunciation can be found in the Indian and Tibetan Philosophy signpost entry.

European names
Names beginning with the prefixes, 'De', 'Von' or 'Van' are usually alphabetized under the substantive part of the name. For example:

  • - Beauvoir, Simone de
  • - Humboldt, Wilhelm von

The exception to this rule is when the person is either a national of or has spent some time living or working in an English-speaking country. For example:

  • - De Morgan, Augustus
  • - Von Wright, Georg Henrik

Names beginning with the prefix 'De la' or 'Le' are alphabetized under the prefix 'La' or 'Le'. For example:

  • - La Forge, Louis de
  • - Le Doeuff, Michèle

Names beginning with 'Mc' or 'Mac' are treated as 'Mac' and appear before Ma.

Historical Names
Medieval and Renaissance names where a person is not usually known by a surname are alphabetized under the forename. For example:

  • - Giles of Rome
  • - John of Salisbury


There are two types of article: thematic and biographical. Thematic articles range from the general, such as Knowledge, concept of, to specialized topics such as Virtue epistemology.

Biographical articles are devoted to individuals and emphasize the work rather than the life of the subject. They are accompanied by a list of the subject's major works in the Bibliography view.

All thematic and biographical articles begin with an ariticle summary, which provides a concise and accessible overview of the topic or subject. This can be referred to on its own if the reader does not require the depth and the detail of the main part of the article.

Every article page in REP Online comprises two main elements:

  1. Table of Contents - all thematic and biographical articles over 1000 words in length are divided into sections and have a numbered table of contents. This lists the headings of each of the article sections, enabling the reader to see the scope and structure of the article at a glance. It also includes links to the Bibliography and Related Articles within REP Online.
  2. Entry Details - the article text appears in the middle of the screen. If the article has been revised, earlier versions will be accessible via the links (marked with the version number) below the title.

When the article is opened, the summary text will appear first. If the article is short, the main text will appear directly below the summary. If the article is long, the title of each section will appear in the left pane. Click a section title to move to it.

Cross-references to other articles and bibliographic cross-references are displayed in blue and underlined in the article text. Click a cross-reference to move to it.

To read the bibliography of an article click Bibliography in the left navigation bar. Where the article is about a philosophical theme or concept, a set of References and Further Reading will be displayed. Where the article is about a philosopher, a List of Works and a set of References and Further Reading relating to the article will be displayed.

Related Articles
To see a list of related REP articles, click Related Articles in the navigation bar on the right which includes a list of references and a list of Further Discussion references . Click the article title to read the full text.