Material is acquired in English, French, German, Polish, Italian, Dutch and Scandinavian languages. Latin and Greek material is acquired in liaison with the Department of Classics. Materials in Eastern languages such as those of India are acquired by the Department of Religious Studies.
The purpose is to provide the materials to support the undergraduate and graduate course instruction program, the graduate thesis research program and the research activities of the faculty. Works in the entire range of Western philosophy are required for the various courses and research areas, but concentration in certain areas is necessitated by the special interests of the department.

Most material comes from the United States and Western Europe, with lesser amounts from Eastern Germany and Poland. Some material is acquired in the English language from Russia, and from Japan.

Proceedings of conferences and symposia are acquired from wherever they emanate.

Rare material is acquired from as far back as the Seventeenth Century (Descartes, Galileo, Locke), with some emphasis on the Eighteenth Century. The course of study extends from about 500 B.C. to the present day, with very little coverage of the Mediaeval period.

Current and out-of-print books are acquired, produced in the period from the Seventeenth Century to the present. The books are published in the major European languages, English, French, German, Greek, Latin and Italian. Occasional volumes in other languages are acquired. Periodicals are usually limited to English, French, German and Italian. The Department also acquires selected theses.

Most materials acquired by the Department lie directly in these or other areas of Western Philosophy. However, philosophy has a strongly interdisciplinary component (e.g. philosophy of mind is closely related to psychology; philosophy of science is related to science and to history of science). As a result of these relationships with other fields, some of the acquisitions by the Department will fall outside of the heading 'philosophy' as narrowly conceived. The long 18th century (c.1650-1800), Russell and the 20th century, and Cultural Studies have been declared Faculty of Humanities priority areas for resource allocation.

The fields in which the PhD program of the Department proposes to continue to supervise theses are:

  • Social, Political and Legal Philosophy (A)
  • Theoretical and Applied Ethics (A)
  • History of Western Philosophy (A)
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology (A)
  • Philosophy of Science, Language and Logic (A)


In addition, the following areas are collected at an intensive level to support faculty research:

  • Logic: Including Philosophical Logic, Symbolic Logic, History of Logical Theory, Logic and Set Theory, Mathematical Logic. (A)
  • The philosophy of Bertrand Russell, in support of the Bertrand Russell Archives and the Bertrand Russell Research Centre. (A)
  • Greek Philosophy. (A)
  • Medical Ethics (A)
  • Phenomenology and Hermeneutics. (A)
  • Early Modern Philosophy: Descartes through Kant. (A)


The following areas are collected at a comprehensive level:

  • Theory of Knowledge. (B)
  • Eighteenth Century philosophy, in conjunction with the Eighteenth Century Association. (B)
  • Philosophy of Religion. (B)
  • Modern European Philosophy: Including Existentialism. (B)
  • American Philosophy. (B)

The following areas are collected at a beginning research level:

  • Mediaeval Philosophy: Including Renaissance Philosophy and Early Christian Philosophy. (C)

Arts and Social Sciences