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Philosophy Library Guide: Home

Philosophy Library Guide

Shelf Numbers for Philosophy

100 Philosophy & Psychology

101 Theory of Philosophy

103 Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

107 Education, research, related topics

108 Historical and collected persons treatment

110 Metaphysics

120 Epistemology, Causation, Humankind

130 Paranormal Phenomena

140 Specific philosophical schools

150 Psychology

160 Logic

170 Ethics (moral philosophy)

180 Ancient, Medieval, Oriental Philosophy

190 Modern Western Philosophy & Other Non-Eastern Philosophy

Reference Books for Philosophy

Subject Encyclopedias 

In print, try the Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, (10 volumes), at the shelf number R 103 ROUT.

An electronic alternative is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

To find it from off campus:

  1. go to the library homepage (, 
  2. login with the Off-Campus Login button,
  3. mouse over Search & Find,
  4. select e-Reference from the drop-down menu,
  5. and scroll down the alphabetical list of electronic reference books.

Internet for Philosophy

Internet for Philosophy is a free online tutorial to help university students develop their Internet research skills.

This tutorial is part of the Virtual Training Suite - a set of Internet tutorials written and reviewed by qualified lecturers and librarians from across the UK.

Author: Dr Meriel Patrick, Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy for SCIO, University of Oxford; reviewed by Dr Ylva Berglund Prytz, University of Oxford. This is the third edition (2009) of this tutorial.


PRIMO: the Basics of Survival

PRIMO is a tool for searching across the UCT library book catalogue as well as a selection of our databases of full text journal articles, all with one query.

You can find it on the library homepage at

In this example I am looking for a particular book – Hard Times, by Charles Dickens

This quick and dirty search brings up the print and online copies that we have of Hard Times, as well as books about Hard Times. 

Clicking on the TITLE of the top record takes me to the records for the printed books and gives me the shelf number so I can find them on the shelves:

The shelf number works like a street address – just follow the numbers up or down until you get to the address you want.  Shelf numbers keep related books together, so once you have found your book, it is often useful to browse the books on either side of it as well.

In fact, you don’t even have to physically be in the library to do it… If you again click on the title of one of the results, you will be taken to the full record for the book – which has a virtual browse option – so you can see all its neighbouring books…. You never know what you will discover that way.

On the search screen you can use a drop-down arrow to search only for electronic journal articles or electronic books or reference works.

In this example, the top three results are for an electronic encyclopaedia entry, an electronic book, and an electronic journal article:

If I click on the title of the article, I will be taken to a full record for the article, and a link to the database on which it lives:

And so to download the article:

The record also shows me how to cite the book or article – which I will need to do if I am going to use it in an essay:

Or, even better, it allows me to send the record to a program like RefWorks or Endnote, which does my citing for me, automatically, at the touch of a button….

The left hand side of the screen has all sorts of options for refining or restricting your results:

The most useful are probably Peer-reviewed Journals (the most respectable journals, I which every article is vetted by other academics), Subject or Resource type:

If you are getting too many results – and PRIMO can bring up a lot of results – you can use an Advanced Search to search more precisely:

And if you are looking for a very specific book, journal or article – for example from a reading list - PRIMO has a Find By Citation form which can help you find exactly that reference:

Just put in as much information as you have on the reference:

Shaffer, P., 1998. Gender, poverty and deprivation: evidence from the Republic of Guinea. World Development, 26(12), pp.2119-2135.

And this will bring it up in both print and electronic versions:

And clicking on the full text or database link will take you to it.

PRIMO: some advanced tricks

It is possible to create very precise searches just using keywords.

The trick is to combine them with Boolean Operators, wildcards and brackets. Most of our databases, including our library catalogue, take Boolean operators.

Consider this search string:

(child* OR wom?n OR gender) AND poverty AND Africa* NOT “African American”

The * is a wildcard – it calls up anything that follows the root “child” – so it will being up child and children or childhood……

The ? is a mid-word wildcard – calls up women and woman…

The OR expands you options – women or gender must come up in the results, it doesn’t matter which….

The (brackets) keep the OR words together and relate them to the AND which follows – otherwise the search would call up anything to do with women, regardless of whether it had to do with poverty and Africa….

Any words linked with AND must be included in the search results - OR broadens a search, AND tightens it.

NOT excludes a term. Be careful of this. First search without it, to get an idea of what you are missing.

“Inverted commas” enclose a precise phrase.

To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in PRIMO, you must enter them in CAPITAL LETTERS, otherwise PRIMO ignores them.

You can restrict the search to electronic journal articles or electronic books only, using the drop down arrow – useful if you are off-campus.

Subject Guide

Kashiefa Shade-Lucas's picture
Kashiefa Shade-Lucas
Level 5, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library
Library Road, Upper Campus
+27 21 650 5944

Short Loans

The Short Loans Centre is on Level 4 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Many books and photocopied readings essential to your courses have been placed there by lecturers.

You will need to give the staff both the title and shelf number of the book you want.

Short Loan material is issued for 1 or 3 hours only.

You must return Short Loan material to the Short Loans Centre.

How to use Primo to find books

Philosophy Journals

Although most of our journals are electronic nowadays, you may still find yourself needing a printed journal.

Here are some Philosophy journals in print at UCT:

 American Philosophical Quarterly [ 105 AME]  -     1972+ QUARTERLY

Ancient Philosophy [ 180.5 ANC]  -     2003+ 2 PER YEAR

Australasian Journal of Philosophy [ 105 AUS]  -     1968+ QUARTERLY

Contemporary Political Theory NEW SUBSCRIPTION 2006+

Canadian Journal of Philosophy [ 105 CAN]  -     1980+ QUARTERLY

Economics and Philosophy [ 330.05 ECO]  -     1993+ 2 PER YEAR

Ethics - An International Journal of Social, Political and Legal Phisophy [ 170.5 INT]  -     1899+ QUARTERLY

Inquiry - Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy and the Social Sciences [ 105 INQ]  -     1979+ EVERY 2 MTHS

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism [ 111.8505 JOU]  -     1980+ QUARTERLY

Journal of Applied Philosophy [ 105 JOU]  -     1984+ 3 PER YEAR

Journal of Business Ethics [ 174.405 JOU]  -     1983+ 2 PER MONTH

Journal of Medical Ethics [M 174.205 JOU] HEALTH SCIENCES     1975+ OTHER

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy [M 174.205 JOU] HEALTH SCIENCES     1988+ QUARTERLY

Journal of Philosophy [ 105 JOU]  -     1915+ MONTHLY

Journal of Religious Ethics [ 291.505 JOU]  -     1981+ 2 PER YEAR

Journal of Religious Thought [ 200.5 JOU]  -     1991+ 2 PER YEAR

Journal of Symbolic Logic [ 164.05 JOU]  -     1971+ OTHER

Journal of the History of Ideas [ 105 JOU]  -     1953+ QUARTERLY

Law and Philosophy [DH 340.5 LAW] LAW     + EVERY 2 MTHS

Linguistics and Philosophy [ 410.5 LIN]  -     1979+ EVERY 2 MTHS

Medical Humanities [M 174.205 MED] HEALTH SCIENCES     2000+ Unknown

Midwest Studies in Philosophy [ 105 MID]  -     1980+ 5 PER YEAR

Mind [ 105 MIN]  -     1892+ 5 PER YEAR

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly [ 105 PAC]  -     1981+ OTHER

Philosophia [ 105 PHI]  -     1971+ QUARTERLY

Philosophia Africana [BA 199.605 AFR] AFRICAN STUDIES     2001+ 2 PER YEAR

Philosophical Papers (Rhodes University) [ 105 PHI]  -     1972+ 2 PER YEAR

Philosophical Psychology [ 150.105 PHI]  -     1988+ QUARTERLY

Philosophical Quarterly [ 105 PHI]  -     1972+ OTHER

Philosophical Review [ 105 PHI]  -     1965+ QUARTERLY

Philosophical Studies [ 105 PHI]  -     1950+ MONTHLY

Philosophy [ 105 PHI]  -     1936+ EVERY 2 MTHS

Philosophy and Literature [ 801.05 PHI]  -     1998+ 2 PER YEAR

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research [ 105 PHI]  -     1964+ EVERY 2 MTHS

Philosophy and Public Affairs [ 105 PHI]  -     1971+ QUARTERLY

Philosophy of Science [DS 505 PHI] SCIENCE LIBRARY     1961+ 5 PER YEAR

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society [ 105 ARI]  -     1900+ ANNUAL

South African Journal of Philosophy [ 105 TYD]  -     1964+ QUARTERLY

Teaching Philosophy [ 105 TEA]  -     1979+ QUARTERLY