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PHILOSOPHY: SUBJECT GUIDE: Primary Sources

Starting points for research in Philosophy

Featured Resource: Examined Life

Examined Life (film)

Audio Archives

Primary Texts in Collins Library

Print copies of philosophical texts can be located via the Collins Library Primo Search.

Scholarly Editions
Whenever possible, you should use scholarly editions of philosophical texts. A scholarly edition of a text typically will present and discuss variant versions; provide historical, cultural and linguistic context; and delineate the history of scholarly approaches to that text. Most scholarly editions will have an editor (or editors) and will be published by a university press (see catalog example below).

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason

Kant editor and translator

Kant publisher, Cambridge University Press
 

Translations
English translations of philosophical texts can differ markedly. Always use the translation your professor recommends.

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Philosophy

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues.

A small selection of material is listed below, for additional sources, please contact archives@pugetsound.edu.

The John D. Regester Collection on Albert Schweitzer, 1924-1974, documents Regester's research on Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), a medical missionary, philosopher, and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1952) who operated a hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, for 45 years.

Descartes, René, Les principes de la philosophie, 1659.

Public Domain Texts

Google Books will help you find online versions of older philosophy texts that are in the public domain (out of copyright). These texts will not include the most up-to-date scholarly annotations. Be especially careful if you are using an older translation; some nineteenth-century translators edited content without letting the reader know.

Google Book Search

Online Philosophy Texts

What's a primary source?

Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information.  Scholars analyze primary sources in order to answer research questions. Examples of primary sources vary by discipline.

Examples in the humanities:

  • a novel
  • a painting
  • a theatre performance

Examples in the social sciences:

  • a political, social, or economic theory
  • a dataset
  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Example in the sciences:

  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Archives & Special Collections Hours

Spring 2020 update:

The Archives & Special Collections is currently unable to host in-person researchers. If you need assistance or would like to set up a virtual appointment, please email us at archives@pugetsound.edu.

A small selection of digitized material from the Archives & Special Collections is available online 24/7.

Need Help?

This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!

Katy Curtis, Humanities Librarian
email: kcurtis@pugetsound.edu
Schedule an appointment
tel: (253) 879-3672
office: Collins Library 140

If you can't find Katy, remember there are several ways to get help with your research

For immediate assistance, connect to our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.