Denis Dutton, Editor, Department of Philosophy
University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Garry Hagberg, Editor, Department of Philosophy
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504


We are no longer able to consider paper manuscript submissions. Articles must be submitted as email attachments (in MSWord or WordPerfect – do not use Adobe PDF or any kind of ZIP compression). Please include a 100-word abstract (instructions below). Address submissions to:


Style Guide

Philosophy and Literature follows the specifications of the Chicago Manual of Style, any recent edition. Authors who are unable to locate a copy of this valuable book should carefully study the bibliographic style of previous issues of the journal as well as this guide.

Because the journal uses endnotes rather than footnotes, we require that our authors keep their notes to a minimum. Except in extraordinary cases, the notes should serve only bibliographic purposes; we discourage discursive endnotes. If something is worth saying, say it in the main text; otherwise, omit it altogether.

Many authors with whom the editors deal appear not to understand that Philosophy and Literature does not have house copy-editors whose sole job is to carry out mechanical or stylistic copy-editing of manuscripts. Where a manuscript is sloppily prepared, it is either the editors themselves or the author who must make it aright. We urge authors to cooperate in careful manuscript preparation. It is frankly unfair to expect the editors to do the work of authors, and it will very likely result in delaying the appearance of a manuscript.


Your abstract: some friendly advice. We like to see abstracts with submitted papers. But before writing an abstract, whether for us or anyone else, it might be worthwhile to look over the special instruction sheet for abstracts that we prepared some time ago for authors whose submissions have already been accepted. There is a link to it here.


A note about word processors and typesetting:

The biggest single headache the editors face is the use by authors of embedded footnotes or endnotes. The fancy footnoting capacities of word-processing programs can make a pretty manuscript, but they are at odds with our needs: we cannot set type from such computer files. Philosophy and Literature articles have endnotes, but these must be provided as a continuation of normal text at the end of the article. There is no need even to reduce the font size of the notes, as this is done in typesetting anyway.

Regretfully, we cannot publish articles that require us to extract notes from the text, disentangle them from some automated numbering system, and place them in the right order at the end of the article. The author — or the author’s secretary, spouse, manservant, or graduate-student slave — must get those notes into the form of normal text at the end of the article. If this requires (as it has in some cases) retyping the notes, we apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Finally, please submit your manuscript to us as an editable .doc or .docx file. We cannot deal with .pdf files.


(1) Quotation. Check and double check all quotations. In general, avoid very long block quotations; readers come to your article because they want to know what you have to say. Never begin an article with a quotation longer than one sentence. Quotations of up to seven lines in typescript must be run-in as part of the main text. Over seven lines, they can be set as block extract quotations.

(2) References. Where the same book is to be repeatedly referred to in your article, use an endnote for the first citation (with all relevant bibliographic information, including city of publication). Subsequent citations can be given in the text in a shortened form, using either the name of the author, or an abbreviated form of the book title, or just a page number alone. Here is an example with repeated references to two books by the same author. Note that we used to require underlines for book titles; we now ask for simple italics, just as the citation will appear in print.

1. E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967); hereafter abbreviated VI.

2. Richard E. Palmer, Hermeneutics (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969), p. 60.

3. One should also consult Jesse Kalin, “John Barth and Moral Nihilism,” Philosophy and Literature 1 (1977): 170-82.

4. One of the most interesting criticisms of Hirsch is that of Monroe Beardsley in The Possibility of Criticism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1970), especially pp. 24-31. Joseph Margolis criticizes Beardsley’s ideas in “Robust Relativism,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 35 (1976): 37-46; hereafter abbreviated “RR.”

5. E.D. Hirsch, Jr., The Aims of Interpretation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976); hereafter abbreviated AI.

And here is how the references appear in the main text:

He calls this “the only practical norm for a cognitive discipline of interpretation” (AI, p. 7). Again, “... the object of interpretation is no automatic given, but a task that the interpreter sets himself” (VI, p. 25). For Margolis, on the other hand, “a relativistic conception of interpretation...may well be required” (“RR,” p. 44).

Had this author been referring to only one book by Hirsch, it would have been easier to use the form: (Hirsch, p. 26). Where a single book is being discussed and there is no ambiguity as to the source of a quotation, the page number alone is enough:

Critical modes are treated “not as positions to be defended but as locations or openings to be explored” (p. 339). Whatever you do, don’t rule your opponent out of the community (p. 28); follow Booth in his “simple effort to be a good citizen in the republic of criticism” (p. 34).

Be careful that the quotation “is followed by the page number in parentheses before the period” (pp. 23-24). Don’t pepper your page with numbers: if you have many separate quotations from a one or two-page stretch of text, a single reference will be enough.

(3) Bibliographic style. Again, the aim is simplicity and clarity, consistent with Chicago style. Try to avoid “Ibid.” and never use “op. cit.” Here are some examples of bibliographic citations:

Single-author book. Note use of “pp.”

6. Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), pp. 115-28.

Translated book. Note volume number in Arabic, not Roman:

7. Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary of the Book of Genesis, trans. Israel Abraham (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1961), vol.1, p. 69.

Multiple references (but not so many to require that they be incorporated into the main text):

8. Letter to Witold Hulewicz, the Polish translator of Duino Elegies, November 13, 1925. R.M. Rilke, Briefe (Wiesbaden: Insel, 1950), p. 480 (my translation).

9. Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. H. Barnes (New York: Philosophical Library, 1966), p. 42.

10. Briefe, p.327.

Same article in journal and book. Note that journal references use a colon before page numbers, books use “pp.”:

11. For an excellent discussion of this ode see C.P. Segal, “Sophocles’ Praise of Man and the Conflicts of the Antigone,” Arion 3 (1964): 46-66; reprinted in Sophocles: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. T. Woodard (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1966), pp. 62-85.

Mixed references. Note again use of colon and “pp.” Publishers like to point to their offices in various cities, but we limit our references to one principal city of publication:

12. See W.T. Jones, “Philosophical Disagreements and World View,” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 43 (1969-70): 461-83; “World Views: Their Nature and Their Function,” Current Anthropology 13 (1972): 79-109; “Talking about Art and Primitive Society,” in The Study of Primitive Art, ed. A. Forge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 256-77; “World Views and Asian Medical Systems,” in Towards a Comparative Study of Asian Medical Systems, ed. C. Leslie (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. 383-404.

Reference to a daily or monthly. Use date of issue instead of standard journal citation:

13. Since I developed this notion of Descartes as a tentative magician I have read Frances Yates’s review of Brian P. Copenhaver’s Symphorien Champier in the New York Review of Books (Nov. 22, 1979).

(4) Reference to a webpage:

Back in the 1990s, everyone was keen to include long URLs in bibliographies. It seemed so up to date. Today, the problems entailed by doing this are clearer and our attitude at Philosophy and Literature has changed:

• First, there is the difficulty of correctly transcribing into your web browser what might be a long and complex URL: execute a single false keystroke and you can’t reach the page.

• Second, experience has shown that URLs die of old age, with the material at their addresses becoming completely unavailable. Or, the material is still on the web, but at a new address. For instance, almost none of the original URLs for articles in the magazine Lingua Franca now survive: they disappeared when that excellent publication went bankrupt. Many New York Review of Books URLs that were once freely available now require payment to open. And so on.

• Finally, the advent of highly efficient search engines means that an author’s name, title, and a few scraps of text are now often the best way to locate material on the web.

With the three points above in mind, we request that authors only cite URLs when they deem it absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it should be enough for most readers simply to say that an article already identified and quoted is on the internet. Readers can then go out and find it for themselves, most likely using Google.


(5) Miscellaneous matters.

The editors have noticed the increasing misuse of “cf.” “Cf.” stands for “confer,” and it means “compare with.” It is never italicized. Do not use “cf.” when you mean “see also.” “See” and “see also” are perfectly acceptable.

All commas and periods “fall within quotation marks.” The only exception is where a page reference is given “at the end of the sentence” (pp. 463-64).

When you cite an article or a book for the first time in a numbered endnote, do not supply only partial information about the source, even if you repeat some of what is already given in the main text. Provide complete information, including author’s full name and full title, in the first appearance of the information in a note. In other words, we do not want a reference to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to take the reader to an endnote that reads: 17. (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1958), pp. 132-33.Instead, give all the normal information about author and title in the note.

Only in extremis will we place a capital or lower-case letter in brackets. “[T]edious, academic bracket-mongering must be avoided!” A way around such nonsense can almost always be found, as for example quoting in mid-sentence the Editor proclaiming that “tedious, academic bracket-mongering must be avoided!” Only a few times in the history of this journal have we been driven to this pedantic fussiness — and in those cases only because we didn’t have the original source material needed accurately to recast the quotation ourselves.

Avoid references to political or other current events and names which would tend to date your article.

Provide English translations of all but the most obvious quotations in foreign languages.

Denis Dutton has a personal aversion to articles referring by name to any television program or any popular song. Despite the fact that he realizes there is absolutely no rational justification for a prohibition on TV and popular music, he has tried, with sporadic and decreasing success, to enforce one.

And finally, jargon. The natural home for jargon is the natural sciences, where the need for technical language is undisputed. The farther we move into soft sciences and the humanities, the more does a reliance on jargon become a matter of trying to attain prestige by using big words.

Jargon does have a place in humanistic studies — in the history of grammar, rhetoric, linguistics, and philosophy generally, to name some instances. In literary theory, however, reliance on it has become in the last generation a form of intellectual kitsch and a replacement for hard thinking. Since Philosophy and Literature deals with technical philosophers from Aristotle and Kant to Heidegger and Derrida, we do not “outlaw” jargon as some popular publications might. On the other hand, we do not appreciate it where it is used to obscure and mystify. Nor do we enjoy jargon when it is employed to achieve the rhetorical effect of identifying the writer with fashionable positions. In our opinion, the most erudite and sophisticated writers in humanistic studies find fresh ways to argue their positions. Writers who need jargon in order to express themselves can find countless journals that will welcome their work. Philosophy and Literature will not. (A further meditation on these issues can be found here; the Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest can be found here.)

A remark that the elderly Kant made about jargon is as good today as it was when he wrote it, about 1790:

“One doesn’t know whether to laugh harder at the charlatan who spreads all this fog...or at the audience which naively imagines the reason it cannot clearly recognize and grasp [his] masterpiece of insight is that new masses of truth are being hurled at it....” (Critique of Judgment, section 47)