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PHIL 210: Ancient Philosophy: Getting Started

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Use this guide to get started with your research for

PHIL 210: Ancient Philosophy







"Hypatia (1900 Play)" By Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Public Domain

Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. These resources can help you with:

  • Understanding the scope of a topic
  • Suggesting ideas for narrowing a topic
  • Identifying key concepts, terms, dates and names
  • Listing subject areas related to a topic
  • Recommending sources for further exploration

In Collins Library, the print reference collection is located on the first floor, and most of the online reference collection is available in one of the database collections listed below.  Use Primo to identify subject encyclopedias in either format; or ask a librarian for recommendations.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a dynamic, online scholarly encyclopedia in which entries are kept up to date by an expert or groups of experts in the field.

Featured Tertiary Sources

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Katy Curtis
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Exploring Tertiary Sources

Working in small groups, you will be assigned a female philosopher to explore in more depth. Consult at least 3 different subject encyclopedias (online or in print) for information about your philosopher and reflect on the following questions:

As you read, brainstorm and develop a list of concepts or keywords that describe or relate to your philosopher. 

  1. Does your philosopher have her own entry, or is the discussion embedded within a larger topic?  In other words, how is the information related to your philosopher categorized in the encyclopedia?
  2. What male philosophers, ideas, or schools of thought is your philosopher associated with?
  3. Which academic disciplines are focusing attention on the topic? What disciplinary differences do you notice in the way the topic is covered? 
  4. What additional sources does the subject encyclopedia point you to?

Group 1: Theano

Group 2: Aesara

Group 3: Aspasia

Group 4: Diotima

Group 5: Phintys

Group 6: Hypatia

Group 7: Perictione