Welcome to Visualizing SEP

Visualizing SEP is an interactive visualization and search engine for exploring the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy beautifully and powerfully.

The fundamental motivation of Visualizing SEP is that the web of knowledge that links different ideas, philosophers, and schools of thought together is as important as any particular topic itself, so the application brings these intertextual connections to the forefront of the research process. Every article returned by the application’s search engine is presented within a network graph of all the other articles to which it is directly linked, allowing users to easily deep-dive into the selected topic and its surrounding contexts, or to continually explore new avenues of related knowledge. Visualizing SEP is not only a powerful research tool, but it also doubles as a fun way to explore the incredible resource that is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

To begin: Search for an article title or select a domain from the navigation bar above, or click the "Randomize" button to find something new!

*Visualizing SEP is optimized for Chrome on the desktop. Performance on other browsers is not guaranteed.
At this time, mobile platforms are not supported.

Resolutions under 1280 x 720 are not supported at this time.

Please visit the site on a device that meets this minimum requirement.

Visualizing SEP Details
SEP Edition:
Articles:
Links Between Articles:
Domains:
Avg. Article Word Count:

Visualizing SEP is an interactive data visualization for exploring the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, one of the Web's foremost resources on philosophy. There have been several beautiful visualizations of the SEP before, but there has not been a single application that combines the beauty, ease, and power of exploring the SEP in the way this application does.

This application is a passion project. It is a tribute to the SEP authors and editors who have developed such an excellent resource. I am not a professional philosopher myself, but I am a developer and engineer, and I wanted to make my own small contribution to the SEP community by building a tool to explore and navigate the SEP in ways that weren't possible before.

Domain Taxonomy

The domain taxonomy used for grouping articles is not derived from the SEP itself. I adapted it from the taxonomy developed at the Indiana University Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO). Using a combination of text search, topic modeling, and old-fashioned hard-coding, I then tagged all the articles with specific domain references.

Every article was tagged with at least one domain, its primary domain, which was the domain it was considered best grouped with. Most articles were tagged with other domain references as well. In this way, an article can appear within multiple domain graphs. I tried to be over-inclusive in the tagging process to provide enhanced opportunities for exploring related information. Thus, the domain groupings function more like language games with loosely-fit boundaries between associated articles, not necessarily rigid determinations with bright-line differences between them. Again, I'm not a professional philosopher, so if I've mistagged a piece, I'm happy to update it. Please email me to let me know if this is the case.

Every domain was assigned a specific color reference, and all article nodes and titles were colored according to their primary domain designation.

Please Note: Visualizing SEP is not affiliated with the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Visualizing SEP is designed and developed by Joseph DiCastro, a data engineer and visualiation developer based in Brooklyn, NY.

To learn more about my work, visit my website at www.josephdicastrollc.com.

To reach me by email, write me at joe@josephdicastrollc.com

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Article Graph Help

The Article Graph selects a single SEP article, and then shows every other article in the Encyclopedia that the selection is directly linked to in some way. The selected article is always at the center of the graph, and the linked articles spread radially around it.

Article nodes and titles are colored according to their primary domain designation.

User Interactions

  • MouseOver a Node or Title to temporarily activate and focus on that particular article. See Node or Title Activation below for details.
    MouseOut to reset the graph to its default state.
  • Single-click a Node or Title to freeze the graph in that activated state. When a graph is frozen, the activated article title is bolded and the Reset Graph button will appear in the top right corner. In this state, one can continually single-click different Nodes or Titles to focus on the activated article and re-freeze the graph in that activation state.
    Single-click the bolded article again to reset the graph to its default state, or single-click the Reset Graph button.
  • Single-click + SHIFT Key any Node or Title to open the Article Details page for the selected article. When you are inside the Article Details page, you can then Single-click + SHIFT Key anywhere on the page to close it and return to the main graph.
  • Double-click a Node or Title to load a brand-new Article Graph with that article as the newly selected article.

Node or Title Activation

When a Node or Title is activated, the following occurs:

  • The preview text and domain designations of the activated node replace the main article's information in the Left Sidebar.
  • If the activated article also links to any other articles in the current graph, those nodes remain at full opacity and a dashed line is drawn from the activated node to the related node(s). This shows the set of related links that are shared between the activated node and the currently selected article.
  • All other nodes displayed in the graph will be dimmed.
  • When the graph has been frozen:
    • Frozen graphs feature all of the same above functionality, but the opacity of the article titles displayed in the List of Articles is updated in the same way as the graph nodes: all of the shared links are displayed at full opacity, while the rest of the titles are dimmed.
  • There aren't any data changes in the Right Sidebar panels. They only provide information about the currently selected article.

Article Details

The Article Details button opens a page that displays the following:

  • A longer preview of the article's contents.
  • A table showing author(s), publication date(s), word count, and a link to the SEP article itself.
  • The SEP article's Table of Contents, where each outline item is a live link into that particular section of the SEP article on the SEP website.
  • When the Article Details page is opened, the List of Articles panel is automatically expanded, and the Link Primary Domains panel and the Link Directions panel are both collapsed automatically. When the Article Details page is closed, the rerverse pattern occurs.
  • The breadcrumbs navigation menu is organzied one of two ways, depending on if the graph is frozen or fluid:
    1. If the graph is frozen: the menu reads main article >> frozen node >> related article
    2. If the graph is fluid: the menu reads main article >> related article

Article Domains Panel Help

The Article Domains panel indicates the primary domain designation of the currently selected article, as well as any secondary domains the selected article may also be tagged wtih.

All domains are given a color reference, and all article nodes are colored according to their primary domain designation.

User Interactions

  • The domains listed are live links. Single-click the domain name to load its respective Domain Graph.

The domain taxonomy used for grouping articles is not derived from the SEP itself. It is based on the taxonomy from the Indiana University Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO).

Link Domains Panel Help

The Link Primary Domains Panel shows the primary domain designations of each of the linked articles, as well as the number of articles within each domain for the currently selected article.

All domains are given a color reference, and all article nodes are colored according to their primary domain designation.

User Interactions

  • MouseOver a Link Domain to focus on only the articles in that domain.
    MouseOut to reset the graph.
  • Single-click a Link Domain category to freeze the graph in that state. The selected Link Domain is bolded. The other domains, as well as all of the Link Direction categories, are dimmed.
    Single-click the bolded Link Domain again to reset the graph.

Link Directions Panel Help

The Link Directions Panel shows the three categories of links that are possible between articles, as well as the number of articles within each category for the currently selected article.

Link Direction categories:

  • Bi-Directional Links: The number of articles where the selected article and the linked article both link to and from each other.
  • In-Coming Links: The number of articles where the linked article links into the selected article, but where the selected article does not link back.
  • Out-Going Links: The number of articles where the selected article links out to the linked article, but where the linked article does not link back.

User Interactions:

  • MouseOver a Link Direction Category to focus on only the articles in that category.
    MouseOut to reset the graph.
  • Single-click a Link Direction category to freeze the graph in that state. The selected Link Direction is bolded. The other directions, as well as all of the Link Domains, are dimmed.
    Single-click the bolded Link Direction again to reset the graph.

List of Articles Panel Help

This panel contains an alphabetical list of all the linked articles for the currently selected article, with each title colored by its primary domain designation. Because this information duplicates the nodes and titles in the radial graph, it is hidden by default. But there are two cases where having this list is important:

  • Some graphs are so large that having the alphabetical list available is helpful for exploration.
  • When the Article Details page is opened up for any article, this panel automatically expands so that you can easily get the details for all other linked articles.

User Interactions: Panel Heading

  • Single-click on the panel heading, or its toggle button, to expand its contents. When you expand the “List of Articles” panel, the Link Domains and Link Directions panels will collapse.
  • Single-click the “List of Articles” heading again to re-collapse this panel, and to restore the Link Domains and Link Directions panels.

User Interactions: Article List

  • Same interactivity options as nodes & titles in the Article Graph.

Domain Graph Help

The Domain Graph shows the structure of the articles in a specific domain of philosophy. That is, the Domain Graph shows how articles in one domain are all linked together: articles that are central to the domain will be clustered together, and share many links between them; while articles at the periphery of a domain will be offset from the central network, and may even stand alone if they do not link to other articles in the domain.

Nodes are sized according the number of links in the domain: the larger the circle, the greater number of links that node is related to.

User Interactions

  • MouseOver a Node or Title to temporarily activate and focus on that particular article. See Node or Title Activation below for details.
    MouseOut to reset the graph.
  • Single-click a Node or Title to freeze the graph in that activated state. When a graph is frozen, the activated article title is bolded and the Reset Graph button will appear in the top right corner. In this state, one can continually single-click different Nodes or Titles to focus on the activated article and re-freeze the graph in that activation state.
    Single-click the bolded article in the Right Sidebar again to reset the graph, or single-click the Reset Graph button.
  • Single-click + SHIFT Key any Node or Title to open the Article Details page for the selected article. When you are inside the Article Details page, you can then Single-click + SHIFT Key anywhere on the page to close it and return to the main graph.
  • Double-click a Node or Title to load a brand-new Article Graph with that article as the newly selected article.

Node or Title Activation

The Domain Graph differs from the Article Graph when nodes are activated:

  • The Domain Graph Introduction panel is collapsed automatically, and does not expand automatically again unless the Reset Graph button is clicked. The user can manually expand the panel by clicking the toggle button in the panel heading.
  • When a node is activated, the preview text and domain designations of the activated node appear in the Left Sidebar.
  • The titles of any articles that are linked to from the activated node appear to the left and right side of the graph. The graph nodes themselves are redrawn to highlight the connections among the current set of links, with linked nodes highlighted and non-linked nodes dimmed.
  • When the graph is frozen:
    • The titles displayed to the left and right of the graph are active links. When you MouseOver one of those titles, the preview text and article domain information in the Left Sidebar is updated for the selected article, and a dashed line is drawn from the title to its corresponding node in the graph, which indicates the position of the article within the current domain network.
    • When you single-click one of those titles, the graph is updated and then re-frozen with the newly selected node as the center of the Domain Graph.
    • The opacity of titles in the Right Sidebar are updated based on the nodes currently displayed: the selected node and its related links remain at full opacity, while the non-related articles are all dimmed.

Article Details

Same as Article Graph.

Top 5 Most Connected Domain Articles Panel Help

The Most Connected Domain Articles panel lists the top five articles that have the highest number of links within the domain. The number of links is displayed to the left of the article title.

List of Domain Articles Panel Help

The List of Domain Articles panel provides an alphabetical list of all the articles within a designated domain, as well as the number of other articles that each individual article links to.