News & Opinion

Stanford University and Zombies! Oh, my!

by on February 1, 2013

Abstract and philosophical questions trip me up sometimes — especially via chat reference. Someone will ask about God, intuition, political ideologies, or zombies, and my brain freezes (which is good for the zombies!). The answers to these questions are often conceptual and can make me feel stuck. Does this happen to you? Well, have no fear; the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is here! This online resource is an excellent, in-depth way to find answers to these complicated questions and more.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy was started in 1995. It is an online searchable encyclopedia with more than 2000 entries. These entries range from abduction to zombies (great for teens!). Every entry includes Author & Citation Info, Friends PDF Preview (members only), InPho Search and PhilPapers Bibliography. The Author & Citation Info provides a copy and paste citation and how to cite the article. The InPho Search is a philosophy project from Indiana University. PhilPapers Bibliography (beta) is a link to all of the articles that are cited in the entry. The entries are written by the Subject Editors (topic experts from universities) and are reviewed by Executive Editors.

Zombies are a hot topic right now and students need information about them for projects. It can be hard to find useful resources about zombies, but the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy takes the zombie article seriously, just as they do all other entries. Let’s take a look at it. It starts with a short summary followed by a hyperlinked contents page with topics ranging from the idea of zombies to the function of consciousness. The topic entries are deconstructed by examining just about all aspects of the subject providing a great depth and breadth of information. Not including the bibliography, the zombie entry is over 7,000 words long.

Nothing seems too probable, improbable, too big, or too small for their authors to take on. Some of my favorite topics are: The Liar Paradox, The Meaning of Life, Beauty, Intuition, and Chance versus Randomness. I think that teens will be interested in those, as well as: Zombies, Death, Risk, War, Happiness, and individual gods and goddesses.

In any reference interview discussion, (whether via chat or in person), when I send someone to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy they are always extremely grateful. The information provided is complete, reliable and very informative. The entries give clarity to complex and confusing ideas. Take some time to explore the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, but don’t get lost in vastness of it! And, how cool is it to cite Stanford University in a paper about zombies?!


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