In a thread posted on Twitter last night, Dr. Thakkar wrote:
There are ≥40 plagiarized articles in the Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy (@iephilosophy). I know this thanks to a chance discovery by @InnocentOP, who spotted that the Augustine entry was lifted from the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1908–12).
Ditto English Deism, French Deism, Denis Diderot, Emanation, Encyclopedists, Immanuel Hermann Fichte, William Hamilton, Karl Robert Eduard Von Hartmann, Claude Adrien Helvetius, Renaissance Humanism, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Peter Lombard, William Paley, William Warburton.
A 16th entry lifted from the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1908–12) was replaced by a genuinely original article in 2017, but the plagiarized version is still available on the IEP website: . iep.utm.edu/aquinas-iep/
10 entries can be traced to Harper’s Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1896), occasionally with supplementary material from another source: Damon, Democritus, Demonax, Diogenes Laertius, Hippias, Menippus, Roman Philosophy, Symposium, Theophrastus, Timon.
4 entries are plagiarized from Sorley’s A History of British Philosophy to 1900 (1920): Edward Herbert of Cherbury, Thomas Henry Huxley, Shadworth Hodgson, Leslie Stephen. The last of these also takes material from the Dictionary of National Biography (1912).
The other 10 are from sources including Baldwin’s Dictionary of Philosophy & Psychology (1902) and Burnet’s Greek Philosophy: Thales to Plato (1914): Euclides, Leucippus, Peripatetics, Prodicus, Pyrrho, Pythagoras, Stilpo, James Hutchison Stirling, Synderesis, Voluntarism.
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy claims to be peer-reviewed, but some of its articles have had only cosmetic changes since the 18th century (one repeat source being William Enfield’s History of Philosophy, a 1791 translation of Brucker’s 1767 Historia Critica).
I was able to identify these plagiarized entries because they were all labelled with “The author of this article is anonymous. The IEP is actively seeking an author who will write a replacement article.” I very much hope this means the above list is exhaustive.
No doubt Prof. James Fieser, the founder of the IEP (@iephilosophy), will be able to identify the plagiarist(s) responsible. I’m also tagging Michael Dougherty (@MVDougherty123), who deserves to be better known as a tireless opponent of plagiarism in academic philosophy.
I have an inquiry out to the editors of the IEP asking about this, and I’ll update this post when they respond. In the meanwhile, have you come across other articles in the IEP that appear to be plagiarized? Let us know.
(via Catarina Dutilh Novaes)
UPDATE (2/10/22): James Fieser (University of Tennessee at Martin), founder and editor of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, sent the following response:
I welcome this opportunity to answer questions about the IEP’s “proto articles”. Our resource came online in 1995, and, for much of that time, the IEP “About” page contained the following statement:
“Most of the articles in The IEP are original contributions by specialized philosophers; these are identifiable by the author’s name at the foot of the article. Others are temporary, or “proto articles,” and have largely been adapted from older sources. They are identifiable by the inclusion of the initials “IEP” at the close and will in time be replaced by original articles.” (web.archive.org/web/
All these older sources were printed reference works in the public domain. In 2012, during the regular course of updating our site, this statement was removed. However, the current IEP “Submissions” page still includes the following reference to the proto articles:
“Authors may also offer to replace any IEP proto-articles, which are identifiable by the inclusion of the initials “IEP” rather than a person’s name at the foot of the article.” (iep.utm.edu/submit)
While these proto articles have ably served the philosophical community over the years, we are using this occasion to bid farewell to the remaining ones.