PhilPapers Publishes Its First Book


In a move that may signal disruptive changes to academic philosophy publishing, PhilPapers, the free, massive, online philosophy database, has published its first book—an open-access edited collection.

It’s The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology, edited by Richard Pettigrew (Bristol) and Jonathan Weisberg (Toronto), and it features the following contributions:

Weisberg, who was one of the creators of the open-access philosophy journal, Ergo, and who suggested the idea of the book to the PhilPapers, says that a second edition of the book may include more articles.

In a post about the book at his site, Weisberg writes: “For me personally, a central aim of this project was to demonstrate a point about open access publishing and shared standards. The budget for this book was exactly $0.00, and this was only possible because we didn’t need a human typesetter.” This was possible because “Pretty much everyone in formal epistemology uses the same, standardized format to do their writing. And that format plugs in to a high-quality, freely available typesetting program.”

He thinks there’s a lesson here: “The moral is that philosophers in general should settle on a similar standard (all academics, really). If we did, we’d have a lot more freedom from commercial publishers. We could publish open access books like this on the regular. The books would be freely and easily available to all, and authors would retain copyright.”

At the moment, according to David Chalmers (NYU), one of the founders of PhilPapers, there are no other books in the organization’s pipeline, but, he says, “we’re definitely open to doing more.”

The book is available for download here.

(via Jonathan Weisberg)

Related: “The Open Logic Text


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