"That is all that human beings ask for, that the lights be kept dim." -Lacan

What is the Philosophy Data Project?

The Philosophy Data Project applies modern data analysis techniques to great texts in the history of philosophy. The site features a number of ways that scholars, students, and ordinary people can explore these texts using the most modern tools available. There are currently over 50 texts and 30 authors in the corpus, and new ones are being added all the time.

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Why Analyze Philosophy?

While it may not seem like it at first glance, a data-driven analysis of philosophical texts has nearly endless potential applications. After all, a person's philosophy represents their most firmly-held beliefs, and the history of philosophy is the history of people trying to rationally organize those beliefs. If we then compare these historical texts to contemporary texts (be they books, articles, or even just tweets) we can better understand the core beliefs of people in the present day. That kind of knowledge has endless applications, from marketing or political campaigning to therapy and counter-terrorism.

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Text Analysis Tools


This page classifies user-input text as belonging to one of the schools of philosophy in the database. It provides a breakdown of the classification, identifying words that caused the model to choose one school over another. Classification can be done based on your own texts or on a given twitter username.

Word Use Analysis

Here it is possible to compare, for example, how Plato uses the word 'beauty' to how it is used by Aristotle. A set of Word2Vec models based on pre-trained GloVe embeddings enables us to explore exactly what each school and author means when they use key terms.

Text Statistics

To get a quick picture of a text, school, or author, it can be useful to start with some basic stats. This page provides information about most frequently used words and bigrams, as well as basic stats like average sentence length for every source in the corpus.

Database Search

When I was in grad school, I wished many times that I could find every time Kant uses 'transcendental' without having to flip endlessly back and forth from an index. Now that dream is a reality. Simply choose a source and a word or phrase to search, and you'll be rewarded with a table containing all occurances of that word in the given source.

We hope you enjoy the tools and resources available on this site. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you!