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Where are new categories needed?
Now that people are getting a chance to look at categories and to attempt to categorize some papers, I'm sure that many gaps in the category system will reveal themselves. It will be obvious that in some fields (such as social and political philosophy) the current attempt is extremely amateurish, while in other fields (especially within "philosophical traditions") the taxonomy of subareas is yet to be done. And in almost every area, I expect that the experience of attempting to taxonomize papers will lead to refinements. I thought I'd set up this thread as a place to collect suggestions.

So: Where are the gaps, and other infelicities? Suggestions based on attempting to classifying articles and books without finding a good place are especially welcome. Suggestions for filling in structure in places where the structure is missing are also welcome.

Where are new categories needed?
We must create sub-categories in 17th/18th Century German Philosophy for post-kantian philosophers. A category for the skeptics like Salomon Maimon and G.E. Schulze and other for the idealists like Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.  

Where are new categories needed?
There's probably use for an 'intuitions' category under metaphilosophy. Maybe under philosophical methods.

Where are new categories needed?
OK, I've added a link to the "Intuition" category under "Philosophical Methods".  The resulting subcategories will have their primary classification in epistemology, but hopefully that's OK for now.

There was a glitch in the category structure for 17th/18th Century German Philosophy that has now been fixed.  Currently, we have a subcategory for German Idealism under "German Philosophy" in "Philosophical Traditions" -- putting it under 17th/18th wouldn't quite be right, because of all the 19th century German idealism.  We will eventually add other categories for subtraditions within national traditions -- perhaps German romanticism, skepticism, Naturphilosophie, and so on? -- but I'd like to get a good bit of input from experts before doing this.

Where are new categories needed?
How about categories for "The physical" (under "Physicalism" or maybe "Formulating Physicalism") and for "Emergentism" (under "Global Metaphysical Theories")?

Where are new categories needed?
It would be great to have sub-categories under colour.  Here some possibilities (from a Jonathan Cohen syllabus):
  • Physicalism
  • Dispositionalism
  • Relationalism
  • Functionalism
  • Selectionism
  • Eliminativism
  • Primitivism
(One for colour science might also be good).

Where are new categories needed?

Um guys ...  This thread looks a bit like a bunch of highly skilled philosophers approaching an interesting problem in a very ad hoc, unprincipled manner -- very much like what has been done over the past fifteen or more years in constructing terminologies or ontologies in biomedicine.

In the words of my old psychology professor, "Let me relate to you a story ..." (it will be a kind of parable).

So a company (which will remain unnamed, but one is free to speculate) decided it was really important to gather all its data under one broad umbrella so that its scientists could find just the data they needed, and do so easily.  Let's say that this company was interested in, oh I don't know, drug discovery and drug safety.  So they create a "working group" drawn from R&D and IT, data managers and scientists and such to create this wonderous system.  One of the first problems they confronted was the determination of a "common language" or set of terms or (ontologically) set of categories by means of which to classify the data so that they could achieve their noble goal.  How will we do this? (They wondered.)  Aha! (one of them said.)  Let us send forth an email to all interested parties and have them submit their favorite terms.  We shall gather them together, remove duplicates, and have our categories.  Marvelous! (They all choroused.)  And so it was.  Then they had their list of terms.  This is great (they said).  But oh, wait.  Is this list any good?  How can we tell? (And, by the way, what does "good" mean -- some of the more astute among them wondered.)  Time (months actually) passed and they still could not answer their fundamental questions about the adequacy of the system they had begun to build.  Despair set in (plus upper management was going to want to have some evidence that the work actually meant something and that the whole affair was maybe going to be useful;  scientists actually do like evidence in support of the stuff they do).  As luck would have it, at about that point some of them saw a brief presentation by a small group that was doing something called "formal ontology" and having success at it.  This group had tools that could be used to analyze and compare structured terminologies and ontologies.  Could this group, they wondered, take their list and determine if indeed it was any good, or determine ways in which it was not?  Yes, indeed it could, and did.  But the major result was an admonition from the group not to proceed in an ad hoc manner such as that.  ("You shouldn't oughta do that any more.")   This recommendation, for a variety of reasons, was ignored.  But everything was okay since a justification (or at least a sensible analysis) had been rendered.  Life was good again.

Abandoning pedantry to some degree (however much that pains me), the moral of this parable to a philosopher should be pretty obvious -- as should, to at least some degree, the parallel to creating a set of categories for papers.  Do you think that set would be a list?  A tree (or taxonomy)?  A partially ordered set (directed acyclic graph)?  What relations should you recognize among the categories?  If you opt for a simple approach with relative little structure (such as just a list), will you not need to allow membership in multiple categories for most papers?  What will that mean?

Scary questions all.  Here perhaps is a better one:  Is there perhaps already a system of organization that you could adopt instead of making up your own in an ad hoc manner?  You needn't even adopt the whole system.  Just what you think is necessary -- perhaps leaving room for other additions if needed.

Short of that, however, one might recommend that the fewer categories the better.  Granularity in all things is not necessarily to be preferred.  But I suppose that's just the noninalist in me.

Where are new categories needed?

Glad you put in this thread, Mr. Chalmers. I had tried a redo of Phil of Law but couldn't figure how to offer it up.

The following has the general structure that can be adapted to a large number of topics. I include off to the right where an existing categorization has somewhat the similar set-up, as also the distinctions within that same field.

Obviously the subcategories of the existing system would have to be reformatted in the new topicality, and equally obvious is that there will be tweaking required. Note, however, some advantages over the existing category: 1) The present one looks like a lawyer did it instead of a philosopher--we want in as many instances as possible to categorize by philosophical issues, not subject issues. Thus we have no real reason to need "criminal" or "private" topics, since the philosophical questions touching on those are really under different headings. 2) As a former reader well remarked, stop trying to be so technical as to be all things to all people--you end up being nothing to everybody; 3) You have been entirely too detailed, apparently in the attempt to offer a pigeonhole for every conceivable article. Nonsense. Categorize by AREAS of philosophical problematics and only that. It is philosophers who need to use this site, not lexicographers; 4) There is no earthly reason why two or three general outline modalities wouldn't allow all possible articles. Readers would quickly grow accustomed to the simplfied yet inclusive methodology and everyone would be able to locate the correct places to have their own articles placed, as well as being able to locate where they can do research on a toipic of choice. Think FUNCTION, FUNCTION, FUNCTION, not CATEGORICAL STRUCTURAL LOGIC. God knows I never tire of complaining at the tendency of modern philosophy to seem insecure if not able to hide behind some variation of formal logic. PLEASE grow out of that straightjacket. Nowhere is this error or habit more pronounced than in categorizing by rules ofr logic than rules of function. Come down to earth and visit with the humanoids--they aren't so dumb as we occasionally think.

In the equivalences to metaphilosophy, I might note that the term "metaphilosophy" is entirely innapropriate to the purposes. The category is simply Philosophy in the general sense. Meta-language, meta-this and that are just more distractions intended less to add clarity than to disengazge anyone who is not of the philosophical tribe. Stop carrying on the ego trip and just do what you are supposed to do (oops--something else I never tire of reminding my freinds)..


1) Normative Law Issues                                               Epistemology of Philosophy (Recall you have also a Normative eithics--

            Authority, Obligation&the Definition of Law          what dissuades from

   (e.g. Justification)

            Rights & Duties (including Citizenship

   and Public Responsibility)

            Law & Equity

            Interpreting Justice, Truth and & Equity

            Categories of Justice

            Theories of Equality & Opportunity

            Equality and Principles of Due Process

            Dignity and Law (e.g. inherent rights)

2) Theories of Law and Governance                               Metaphilosophy, Misc. (Or, Theories of Methodology, Justification, etc.)

            Theories of Governance

            Sovereignty, Suzerainty and Other Modalities

            Theories of Nation-States and International Law

            Constitutions and Their Interpretation

            Substantive & Procedural Law Issues (e.g. Standing)

            Federalism / States’ Rights

            Theories of Representation and Participation

3) Legal Philosophy                                                       Metaphilosophical Views (Philosophical Philosophy)

            The Schools and Traditions                               

   (Realism, Natural Law, etc.)                          

            Jurisprudence and Methodology

   (e.g. the Sources of Law)

            Civil / Common Law System(s)

            Comparative Law Issues (East-West esp.)

Theories of Criminology and Punishment

            Public versus Private Issues (e.g., Crime v. Tort)

            Corporate, Professional and Public Offices

4) General Studies in Law and Philosophy                       Metaphilosophy, Misc. (General Studies: Phiosophy as Art and Science, etc)

            History of Law / Legal Philosophy

            Sociology and Anthropology of Law

            Law and Social Psychiatry

            Styles and Traditions in Law

            The Legal Profession

            Law and Society (e.g. giving teeth to ethics)

5) Topics                                                                            History of philosophy, Intellecual History, etc.

            Constitutional (Welfare Clause, e.g.)

            Free Speech

            Privacy Rights

            Minority Rights (Ethnicities, Blacks, Gays, Women, etc.)


            Cases and Controversies (Roe v. Wade, e.g.)

            Special Interest Advocacy, Legislation and Rulings

Where are new categories needed?
Going through the papers on counterfactuals, I think we need a category on the logic of conditionals, which I am happy to edit. Also it might be worthwhile having categories for causal theories of counterfactuals and suppositional theories of counterfactuals. There is not much on the latter at the moment but both Dorothy Edgington and David Barnett have work on this.

Also categories on classifying conditionals and on biscuit conditionals would be good.

Where are new categories needed?
I've just been trying to categorize some of my own papers as a preliminary step to learning more about how PhilPapers works, and it becomes clear to me that finer grained categories within phenomenology are needed, for example, body, temporality, kinaesthesis. There are cognate categories under philosophy of mind rubrics, but they don't quite match up. 

Where are new categories needed?
Under Animal Cognition I'd like to see additional categories for Animal Concepts and Animal Reasoning.

Where are new categories needed?
The 'Essentialism' section is a bit of a mess: there are papers on Feminist essentialism, natural kind essentialism, individual object essentialism, historical papers about Locke, and discussions about cultural essentialism. Would it be possible to make some sub-categories to distinguish between these various forms of essentialism? In particular, it might be beneficial to demarcate the 'fundamental' essentialisms from the other sorts (and then maybe to further demarcate the metaphysical essentialisms by type), e.g. have as a broad selection of categories

Metaphysical/Scientific Essentialism
Feminist Essentialism
Aesthetic Essentialism
Psychological Essentialism
Political/Cultural Essentialism

These could then have subsequent sub-categories which focus upon particular debates (unless of course there isn't enough papers within each category to require sub-categories).

I make this suggestion for a pair of reasons. First, if I'm going to look for papers concerning Feminist Epistemology and gender essentialism, I'm going to be pretty confused when I come up with articles about mereological essentialism. Second, the Essentialism category already has 221 papers, which is way more than it really should (compare it to its sibling category, Origins Essentialism, which has 12). Many of the papers could be shunted off into their respective sub-categories, rendering the category into something a bit easier to handle (and more in line with the categorization project guidelines).

Where are new categories needed?
I believe there is an 'infelicity' in the category system employed in METAPHYSICS.

Specifically, the category of MATERIAL OBJECT is taken to have STUFF as a sub-category. On the one hand, this seems counterintuitive: there is a natural dichotomy, reflected in the literature, between 'stuff' and 'things' (where 'things' is naturally taken to include 'material objects'). On the other hand, the classification is theoretically very contentious. It's natural to ask: what would be the range of examples of material objects which somehow constitute the category of stuff itself? Objects, presumably, are countable; stuff is measurable - the contrast of 'how many?' and 'how much?'

CONCLUSION: the two categories should not appear as subordinate and superordinate but simply as distinct. MATERIAL OBJECT is of course subordinate to OBJECT; the category of STUFF should appear alongside OBJECT and similarly beneath the ONTOLOGY category.

Where are new categories needed?
I just picked up the Desire category (  A lot of the papers in this category do not easily fit into any of its sub-categories.  I'd recommend adding sub-categories for:

(1) Practical reasoning
(2) Desire and motivation
(3) Desire and Free Will (or higher-order desires)

Here's my rationale for these additions:

(1) Perhaps the majority of the papers currently in this category are about how desires and beliefs conspire to bring about action.  They therefore do not belong in the "desire as belief" category or the "desire and reason" category.  The desire as belief thesis attempts to reduce desire to beliefs, not show how desires and beliefs work together.  "Desire and reason" presumably is for papers that contrast the reasons someone has to act (normative beliefs, let's say) and their desires.  So that too is inappropriate.

(2) At the moment, there are two theories of desire listed as sub-categories: "Desire as belief" and "Desire as (and) pleasure."  Another very common theory, and one mentioned in quite a few of the papers already in the Desire category, is "Desire as motivation to act."

(3) A huge number of the papers in this category are about Frankfurtian theories of free will.  They therefore belong in the Desire category, but they have no home in any of the sub-categories.



Where are new categories needed?
I recently started editing the category 'Philosophy of Social Science', and found that under 'Philosophy of Social Science (Misc)', there is no entry for social ontology or collective Intentionality, which is a growing sub-field in the philosophy of social science. I wonder if we should create a new leaf called 'social ontology', or rather put everything related to this topic under the existing 'Realism about Social Facts'.
Another useful leaves are 'Methodology of the social sciences' and 'Popper, Kuhn, etc.'

Where are new categories needed?
I've just been looking at Ecology and Conservation biology, and preparing to upload my bibliography.
In addition to these existing, appropriate categories:

Ecology and Conservation Biology, Misc.
Population Ecology

Human Ecology


It would be useful to add:

Community Ecology

Equilibrium and balance of nature

and rename "Ecosystems" to:

Ecosystems and Systems Ecology

and then, here is a workable taxonomy of the existing literature, which I would suggest adding, unless the top editors judge that it would be better to simply tag these "ecology" and (e.g.) "modeling" rather than introduce these new categories.

Ecological modeling and laws
Ecological explanation and prediction
Ecological holism and reductionism
Ecological inquiry and experimentation
Ecological science and values

Then, these two are unrelated to this area, except in name, and so ought not have aliases here:

-Social Ecology*
-Deep Ecology*

Where are new categories needed?
To make my suggestion more organized, here are the categories I'd propose:

Ecology and Conservation Biology, Misc.
Human Ecology
Equilibrium and balance of nature

Population Ecology
Community Ecology
Ecosystems >rename> Ecosystems and Systems Ecology

Ecological modeling and laws
Ecological explanation and prediction
Reduction in ecology >rename> Ecological holism and reductionism
Ecological inquiry and experimentation
Ecological science and values

Then, remove these aliases from this category, as they don't have anything to do with science:

-Social Ecology*
-Deep Ecology*

Where are new categories needed?
Where does one categorize articles on fraud or misconduct?

The topic is growing ever more important and so is the literature upon it. Its relations to philosophy, sociology, and history of science seem strong enough to justify inclusion in PhilPapers.

Where are new categories needed?
Seems to me that Combinatorialism is a missing subcategory of Possible Worlds that would usefully include not only Armstrong's important work and the scores of papers it has inspired but also related papers by and about Quine, Cresswell, and others.  It also strikes me that Actualism is a natural subcategory to include under Theories of Modality alongside Modal Realism and Modal Primitivism.

I really appreciate this tremendous resource and the thought and effort that have gone into it.


Where are new categories needed?
Perhaps a "Resource Allocation" node under "Medical Ethics"?  (Lots of stuff on the debate over QALYs currently resides in the upper-level category "Biomedical Ethics".)

Where are new categories needed?
Biomedical Ethics could use a "Public Health Ethics" category.