We talked about what a literature review involves and how the course will work.
Your assignment for the upcoming week is to read a literature review close to what you’re interested in. But where do you find these things?
The most obvious answer is online sources, specifically encyclopedias. Three stand out.
The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (You have to access this one through the library.)
If you are starting with a paper that you read in a class, or one that you find in the course of your work, you can sometimes use that as a means of finding other, related papers.
Google scholar is quite good for this. Type in the title of the article you have in hand and then clicked the “cited by” link under it. That will give you a list of papers that have cited the one you are already interested in. Chances are decent that those papers will respond in some way to the one you started with.
PhilPapers appears to work in a similar way. When you start with one paper, you get a list of related papers. It is also tailored specifically to philosophy.
Good old published books work pretty well too. Textbooks are an excellent starting place. They are guaranteed to represent the scholarly literature because whatever is in the textbook just is the standard for the discipline. Look for titles like “Philosophy of Law,” then look around them on the shelf in the library. It will be obvious where the textbooks are.
Similarly, publishers seem to put out lots of books with “Handbook,” “Companion,” “Dictionary,” or “Guidebook” in the title. Those are generally made up of commissioned literature reviews.
Will is thinking of working on epistemic permissivism, the idea that a given body of evidence could justify more than one conclusion.
Octave is divided between pursuing questions about cyborg perception and the sense of self and a project derived from the existentialist tradition about how to live.
Lucas means to continue working on his SURP project on the ethics of video games.
And Peter wants to work on political philosophy and race. In particular, we agreed (after everyone else left) that he would start with Charles Mills’s book The Racial Contract.
So we’re off to the races!