On the SEP

One of the first places the philosophy faculty advise students to visit in beginning their research is The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, an open resource unmatched as to quality, range, and usefulness by any other field. Much of the credit belongs to Ed Zalta, who in the 1990's took an off-hand comment by John Perry about maybe creating an online dictionary of philosophy and subsequently built, with the help of hundreds of authors and editors, an authoritative resource which endlessly demonstrates the vibrancy of philosophical inquiry.

Courtesy Leiter Reports, the online journal Quartz has an excellent article discussing how the SEP came to be the crowning achievement it is and how it compares to other resources like Wikipedia.

(An interesting tidbit, if I may: A few years ago I had a very pleasant lunch conversation with Ed at the University of Birmingham (UK). He told the story of attending a talk at Stanford by Google engineers where they revealed that the SEP caused one of the very rare direct manipulations of the Google Search Algorithm. The SEP, you see, was surfacing ahead of Stanford University on searches for "Stanford", much to the embarrassment of Stanford University officials, which hosts the SEP, but much to Ed's obvious amusement.)

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