Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
MindPapers is a bibliography of work in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of cognitive science, and the science of consciousness. It consists of 18642 entries, and is divided into 8 parts, each of which is further divided by topic and subtopic. Both online and offline material is included, with links wherever possible.
MindPapers started life as an annotated bibliography in the philosophy of mind when I (David Chalmers) was a graduate student at Indiana. The first public version was a 645-entry version circulated by e-mail and ftp in November 1990. In 1994 I made the transition to the web (here's a 1997 web version courtesy of the Internet Archive). In ensuing years, the bibliography followed me from Washington University to UC Santa Cruz to Arizona to ANU. In 2005, David Bourget (then at Toronto) added a search facility and links to the bibliography, along with other functions such as proxy browsing. In 2007, thanks to further work by Bourget (now a Ph.D. student at ANU), the system was overhauled, doubled in size, and relaunched as MindPapers.
In the early years, I entered all entries by hand, and annotated all the entries after I had read them. (Note that I don't take much responsibility for these annotations by a past self.) After the mid-1990s, things became too busy for me to annotate entries further, but I updated the bibliography every couple of years. From 1999-2005, a number of research assistants at Arizona helped to update the bibliography regularly: Steve Biggs, Chris Evans, Farid Masrour, and Brad Thompson. The current version uses a number of automated importing tools (devised by David Bourget) to generate potential entries, but I still select and classify the entries myself.
The initial version of the bibliography had four parts, roughly corresponding to consciousness, mental content, philosophy of AI, and miscellaneous. Over time, separate parts devoted to the metaphysics of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science were added. In 1997, I added a major new part on the science of consciousness -- not strictly philosophy of mind, but closely connected. In 2007, a major hole was filled with a part devoted to the philosophy of perception. Over time, the bibliography has also expanded backwards to cover material from around 1900 onwards (and occasionally earlier). Most areas of mainstream analytic philosophy of mind are covered, but coverage is thinner in some connected areas such as phenomenology, moral psychology, and propositional attitude semantics. A new part on the philosophy of action (incorporating the free will section and much else) would be a natural addition, but it would be a big project.
In 1997, I set up a separate web page for "Online Papers on Consciousness" (the link is to a very early version with 190 papers). This was devoted to free online papers only, in the philosophy and science of consciousness. Over time it expanded to include the same range of areas as the main bibliography. As online material (both free and commercial) became more and more common, it made sense to combine this with the main bibliography, and now the two are combined as MindPapers. By selecting appropriate viewing options (free online papers, compact format), one can approximate the online papers page, and there is still a separate front end available for this version. This front end has a somewhat different structure, reflecting a greater emphasis on issues about consciousness, and on accessibility to nonacademic/nonphilosophical audiences.
Some related pages that I have compiled include people with online
papers in philosophy, web resources in consciousness and
philosophy, and online bibliographies in philosophy, consciousness,
The current version of the directory was made possible by the use of a number of specially designed software modules. The first software module to be developed merely searched the web for links to existing entries. Today, many aspects of MindPapers' maintenance are largely automated, including the addition of entries. Aside from contributions by the public, material makes its way into MindPapers through the following process:
1. Harvesting. At this stage, a "harvester" program searches various web sources (e.g., JSTOR, publishers' websites, personal pages of philosophers) for bibliographic material. The harvester is not a mere web crawler: it is capable of recognizing and parsing bibliographical and other relevant bits of information so as to enable their automated processing.
2. Cleaning up and normalization. A number of operations are performed at this stage: bibliographic data are normalized (e.g., capitalization is adjusted, authors' names are normalized to the way they appear in MindPapers, etc.); material which had previously been harvested is recognized (using a fuzzy matching algorithm) and discarded; entries with incomplete bibliographic information are marked as such for later completion; etc.
3. Categorization. This is the most complex stage of the process. At this stage, entries are categorized along two dimensions. First, all newly harvested entries are evaluated for their relevance to MindPapers. Second, those entries which have a sufficiently high likelihood of being relevant are assigned categories from the directory. Both of these steps make use of a specially developed Bayesian categorization program. In a nutshell, this program assigns probabilities to entry-category pairs based on heuristics and statistics drawn from training sets. The training set for the first categorization step was derived from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (thanks to Edward Zalta for authorizing this use of the Encyclopedia!). The training set for the second categorization stage is MindPapers itself.
4. Importing. At this stage, the editor goes over harvested items, accepting or rejecting them for the directory, and checking and adjusting their categorization as needed. This step is performed manually, though using tools which greatly speed it up. A tailor-made program is used to go through harvested entries according to various criteria such as source type, relevance level, and assigned category. After the editor processes the entries, he merges them into MindPapers and repeats the process as needed.
5. Manual clean-up.The final stage is a manual clean-up of errors that have crept in during the process. Please help fix any defective entries we might have missed by using the "edit" link next to each entry!