Philosopher-Created Research and Productivity Software for Philosophers


Jason Winning, who worked developing commercial database software for medical professionals before recently earning a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, has created a free, open source “personal productivity/database application” designed to be especially useful to philosophers. 

Called Hypernomicon, the software “combines structured note-taking, mind-mapping, management of files and folders, and reference management into an integrated environment that organizes all of the above into semantic networks or hierarchies in terms of debates, positions, arguments, labels, terminology/concepts, and user-defined keywords by means of database relations and automatically generated hyperlinks.”

Basically, it is a way to keep track of and organize (hierarchically, if applicable) concepts, questions, debates, theories, positions, arguments and counterarguments, sources and authors associated with the foregoing, author information, PDF files, personal notes, and the like. It doesn’t replace reference manager software, but can integrate with Zotero, and soon, Mendeley.

The software works on laptops and desktop computers with Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. It requires no account or subscription, and was created by Winning because he needed it for his own work. However, it doesn’t require any particular expertise to use. According to Winning, it is “intended for causal users who do not have any training/experience in databases or in any particular software or IT skills. It is made to be user-friendly for anyone who does philosophy to use. If you have the technological skills necessary to use basic productivity software like Microsoft Word, then you can use Hypernomicon.”

Below is a tutorial video.

You can download the software from the Hypernomicon site. I’ve downloaded it, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet. If you have, feel free to share your thoughts about it in the comments.


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