A Taxonomic Map of Philosophy (Updated with 5-layer Version!)

Some people go to PhilPapers, get the information they need, and then just go. Not Valentin Lageard, a graduate student in philosophy at Université Paris-Sorbonne. The Categories page at the site caught his eye. He says:

The completeness of their taxonomy was striking and I thought : “Could it be possible to map this taxonomy ?”. I decided it was a nice idea and i started to work on it.

The first step was to select the kind of graph and since their taxonomy includes a hierarchy permitting to sub-categories to be children of more than one parent categories, I selected a concentric circles graph.

Because I’m a python user, I choosed Networkx for the graph part and BeautifulSoup for the scraping part. Furthermore, since Philpapers gives the articles number for each category, I decided to add this data to my graph.

After some configurations of the display, I finally reached my goal: a map of the taxonomy of philosophy.  And it was quite beautiful.


[See update, below, for the more detailed 5-layer version]


Valentin Lageard - "Map of the Taxonomy of Philosophy"

Valentin Lageard – “Map of the Taxonomy of Philosophy”

Map Legend — Size of nodes: number of articles in this node. Relations between nodes : parent/children relation between categories.

Larger version here (open the link a in new tab or window) and here.

(via Michael Glawson and Kelly Nelligan)

Earlier updated deleted.
NEW UPDATE: Here is the 5-layer version. You can view it in more detail here (open it in a new tab or window for best results).

philosophy taxonomy map 5 layer J sm1


UPDATE 2: One thing I like about this image is that it strikingly—perhaps overwhelmingly—depicts the number and kinds of different philosophical areas of inquiry. It is the perfect thing to show those people who falsely fancy themselves know-it-alls about philosophy: the pandering politician, the overconfident scientist or science popularizer, even that guy in philosophy class. As an exercise, starting at the outermost ring, just have them put a star near the areas they know anything about. There won’t be many stars.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address