A collection of thousands of critical biographical entries on individuals who have contributed to philosophy

Please note that this digital resource is not available to institutions in the USA.

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers features critical biographies of individuals who have contributed to the history of intellectual thought.

Growing each year, it currently includes over 6,500 philosophers from North America, Britain, Ireland, and the Middle East. Figures from Europe, Asia, Latin American and Africa will be added starting in 2019.

Alongside the giants of philosophy, students will encounter people from other intellectual domains: civil rights activists, classicists, clergymen, economists, mathematicians, novelists, poets, politicians and scientists who had something to say on topics that count as philosophical.

New in 2019: 1,000 German, Dutch, and French thinkers.


  • More than 6,500 entries on figures from America, Britain, Ireland, and the Middle East; European thinkers coming 2019; Asian, Latin American and African thinkers in 2020
  • Entries include a comprehensive overview of a subject’s life, work, and reception together with a bibliography and list of further reading
  • Covers thinkers from economics, sciences, classics, political thought, philosophy, theology, literature, law, and medicine
  • Excellent indexing tools using a bespoke taxonomy, organised by subject, school of thought, region, and period
  • Over 15,000 inter-article cross-references
  • An interactive, visual timeline to support contextual understanding

Access options

IP Authentication, Referring URL, Single Sign-on, Username and Password

To find out more about how the different access options work please see our General Access Information.

Usage statistics

Usage statistics are available with you log in to your account via the Bloomsbury Administration Portal.

Promotional materials and downloads

There is a selection of promotional materials available including posters, flyers, and website banners. Access promotional materials here.


What content is available in Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers?

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers brings together over 6,500 articles on those individuals who have made a contribution to the history of thought and philosophy. Each entry covers the life, work and reception of a figure. Contextual understanding is offered by an interactive timeline illustrating relationships with notable events in politics, society, the arts and science.

What do we mean by a global history of thought?

We cover figures from a diverse range of traditions and regions around the world. We are interested in changing the conception of the canon by taking a broad and inclusive approach to the history of philosophy and including individuals often overlooked in traditional historical surveys.

Designed to grow year on year, we currently have 6,500 articles covering thinkers from the North America, Britain, Ireland and the Middle East. Figures from Europe will be added in 2019, with those from Asia, Latin American and Africa following in 2020.

How is ‘philosopher’ defined?

Our definition of philosopher is broad. It applies to those who have made contributions to philosophical thought regardless of professional field, academic career, or professional title. This means we feature figures from other intellectual domains such as classics, literature, religion, theology, the arts, history, law, politics, economics, and the sciences.

What time period is covered?

We cover 16th to 20th century North America, Britain, and Ireland and 1400 years of the Islamic philosophical tradition.

Will the resource be updated?

Yes, new and revised content will be added to Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers twice a year at no extra charge. Updates will include new entries to regions and time periods as well as updates to the timeline.

Who is the resource for?

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophy is an invaluable resource for students studying philosophy, history, literature, theology, religious studies and the history of science, classics and economics.

What search and browse options are available?

There are multiple ways of navigating the content:

  • The main Search box in the header
  • Advanced Search: search by author name, title, category, or identifier
  • Explore options: browse lists of subjects, schools of thought, regions, and periods
  • Timeline of Thinkers: accessible from the top navigation or the home page, this feature provides an illustrated overview of American, British, and Irish thinkers from 1600 to 2000, with contextual information on events in politics, religion and society, the arts and science, and links to related content

Can items be saved for reading later?

Yes! It’s quick and easy for any authenticated user to set up a personal account to save entries to view later, organise saved items into folders, email and export citations, save searches and set up search alerts.

Follow the link in the header to ‘Sign in to your personal account’: you then have the option to sign in using Google Plus, Facebook or Twitter, or to select ‘Sign up now’ and enter a few personal details (name, occupation, country, email address and password) to create a Personal Account.

Please note you can use the same Personal Account details to sign in on multiple Bloomsbury platforms, including Bloomsbury Popular Music, Drama Online, Churchill Archive and other forthcoming resources.

Can items be printed and downloaded in full text?

Yes, the site content has no DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection, and so it can be printed or saved to personal computers. All use of the site content is subject to Bloomsbury’s Terms and Conditions: printing and saving should be for personal use, and standard copyright restrictions apply regarding unauthorised copying and distribution.

Can texts be cited from Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers?

From the content page, click on the ‘cite’ icon to view formatted citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles. You can also download a file in RIS format for importing into reference manager software. Please note that the original pagination has been preserved from the print editions.

Can I access Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers on a mobile device?

Yes, the site is responsive, and fully optimised for displaying on a range of tablet and smartphone interfaces. The site has been tested using recent versions of the iPad, iPhone, and Android smartphones and tablets. No web-enabled devices are specifically excluded, and there is no separate mobile site: the site layout adapts automatically depending on the size of the screen.

What browsers are supported?

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers has been tested using Internet Explorer (version 10 onwards), Safari (version 6 onwards), and the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, on PC, Mac and mobile operating systems. We will continue to monitor usage from different browsers and platforms and revise our list of actively supported browsers and devices accordingly.