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Data Visualization for better understanding

I have been using the site for a while and while watching this TED talk by Dave McCandless, I began thinking that there is probably many relationships between philosophers and disciplines of which we are unaware because of the amount of data. If we could visualize it in a different way, we might learn something about those relationships and philosophy as a whole.  

I am willing to take responsibility for the task of data visualization and the pages they are displayed on if I can have access to the database, so I do not have to manually enter the entire website again.

What does everyone think about this type of project?

Thank you,


Data Visualization for better understanding
Hi Nathan, I'd think one difficulty would be that PhilPapers contains relatively little non-philosophy content. I'm not sure how you'd go about mining data pertaining to relations between philosophy and non-philsoophy.. 

Data Visualization for better understanding
Reply to David Bourget

I wrote the original post in some haste and was apparently not very clear. The information that I am interested in, for this project, is the history of philosophy specifically the tracking of influences of ideas between philosophers and schools of thought over time.  

The first way I see the information taking shape is using the date function to create a timeline of all the articles divided out by subject and author.  This stage would only be of interest for instruction of students new to the field or to track out a trend in the publishing.  I see the next phase where the authors are classified by position on philosophical topic. In this way, we can watch the data move not only through subjects but also through movements in philosophy over time. Ultimately, I am interested in tracking the relationships between individual philosophers, through their published work, to create a web of relationships that can be used to examine influence and dependency in philosophy as a whole.
All of this information should be made available to the public and even the early incarnations can be used to teach history of philosophy, if nothing else.

Data Visualization for better understanding
Hi Nathan, the hard part in this would be assigning authors/papers positions on philosophical topics. That's typically a major philosophical endeavour for a single author, so imagine for the 150,000 listed on PhilPapers :) This paper describes another way of obtaining an overview of philosophical positions and their evolution in the future: 2010