A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The collection supports the undergraduate and graduate (M.A. and Ph.D.) needs of students in the philosophy program. In addition, philosophical resources are relevant in virtually all of the basic programs in the arts, letters, social and natural sciences. Specifically, the collection is of interest throughout the integrative studies programs, courses in the methodologies of the various disciplines, and in courses relating to aestheetics, epistemology and hermeneutics, ethics, cosmology and the nature of man.
Increasingly faculty and students engage in multidisciplinary research that spans scientific and humanities fields. Given this research agenda the department activity is increasingly supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health which in turn often entails production of quantitative as well as qualitative data. Given generation of this type of data it will become desirable on a case by case basis to explore acquisition of faculty research data for inclusion in the MSU Libraries research data repository.
B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases
Probably the first book acquired by the library in the distant past was a book about philosophy. The discipline is as old as the beginnings of reflection on the part of humankind and is encompassed in the medieval forerunners of modern education (trivium and quadrivium). Hence the collection has representative works about philosophic issues from nearly every period, which were acquired either as new publications or retrospectively ever since the library's beginnings. The classics of Western thought were acquired aggressively both in the original languages and in standard English editions. A surprisingly strong collection of Eastern thinkers is available, in part because of the library's participation in the cooperative PL 480 program for Souther Asia. The collection covers all of the basic branches of philosophical inquiry fairly evenly: logic, aesthetics, metaphysics, theories of knowledge, ethics history of philosophy. Philosophical works have tended to emanate from University presses more than is the case in most disciplines and this fact has tended to make for more even and consistent coverage.