Yale University Library’s philosophy collections support research and teaching in the discipline of philosophy and its history. All aspects and traditions of philosophy are covered, including aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the history of philosophy. The bulk of these collections are located in Sterling Memorial Library and the Library Shelving Facility with some overlap with collections at the Divinity, Classics, and Law Libraries. 

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

In addition to the Department of Philosophy, the collection supports the philosophical teaching and research interests of a range of other departments and programs at Yale, including European Languages and Literatures, History of Art, History, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature, Classics, and Political Science among others. Programs supported by the collection include Directed Studies/Humanities, and the Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics. The philosophy collection also supports research in the Divinity and Law Schools.

Formats collected


Academic and trade press monographs are acquired in print or electronic formats. Critical editions of important philosophers are extensively collected in both print and electronic format.

Textbooks are generally excluded unless requested by faculty.


Online-only subscriptions are preferred; print subscriptions are initiated or continued when an online edition is not available, not stable, or not adequate.

Reference materials

Electronic reference materials, including indexing and abstracting databases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, are generally preferred to their print counterparts. Print reference materials are acquired when an online version is not available, not stable, or not adequate.

Audiovisual materials

Video and audio materials are acquired very selectively, primarily in response to faculty demand.


Due to the increasing conversion of microform collections to digital formats and the interlibrary loan availability of microform sets from the Center for Research Libraries, microform supporting Philosophy is acquired on demand only.

Languages collected

English and Western European language materials are collected extensively. See International Collections statements for collecting outside of Europe and North America and in non-Western European languages. 

Chronological and geographical focus

Current materials are emphasized, with out of print materials purchased to replace damaged or lost copies of significant works, or in response to faculty or student requests. The Library collects philosophical scholarship covering all historical periods as well as contemporary work. Publications on Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy are acquired as part of the Classics Collection.  American, British, and Western European materials are collected extensively.

Collaborations within Yale

International Collections and the Divinity Library for materials published in non-Western languages or outside North American or Western Europe. The Divinity Library collects philosophical theology and the philosophy of religion, and the Law Library acquires extensively in legal theory and the philosophy of law. 

Subject Librarian

Colin McCaffrey
Classics Librarian
Classics Library
Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support (DASHRS)
(203) 432-8239