Edited by philosophers. Published by librarians. Free to readers of the Web.

Journal Staff


Editorial Board

  • K. Anthony Appiah (New York University)
  • Richard Arneson (University of California - San Diego)
  • Paul Boghossian (New York University)
  • Robert Brandom (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Michael Bratman (Stanford University)
  • John Broome (Oxford University)
  • Victor Caston (University of Michigan)
  • John Cooper (Princeton University)
  • Mark Crimmins (Stanford University)
  • Kit Fine (New York University)
  • Daniel Garber (Princeton University)
  • Richard Kimberly Heck (Brown University)
  • David Hills (Stanford University)
  • Penelope Maddy (University of California – Irvine)
  • Tim Maudlin (New York University)
  • Peter Railton (University of Michigan)
  • Gideon Rosen (Princeton University)
  • Nancy Sherman (Georgetown University)
  • Michael Smith (Princeton University)
  • Robert Stalnaker (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Jason Stanley (Yale University)
  • Jamie Tappenden (University of Michigan)
  • Kendall Walton (University of Michigan)
  • Stephen Yablo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Production By

  • Joan Kwaske, Marisa Mercurio, Lauren Stachew, Michigan Publishing.
  • Lex Academic are a proofreader for Imprint.
  • Cameron McCulloch is editorial assistant.
  • OCLC: 45826937
  • ISSN: 1533-628X
  • LCCN: 2001-212257


Philosophers' Imprint is a refereed series of original papers. It was founded by Stephen Darwall and J. David Velleman, and published by Michigan Publishing at the University of Michigan. The Imprint was founded in the spirit of the Open Access movement, whose mission is to promote a future in which funds currently spent on journal subscriptions are redirected to the dissemination of scholarship for free, via the Internet.

Although the Imprint is edited by analytically trained philosophers, it is not restricted to any particular field or school of philosophy. Its target audience consists primarily of academic philosophers and philosophy students, but it also aims to attract non-academic readers to philosophy by making excellent philosophical scholarship available without license or subscription.

The Imprint issues papers at irregular intervals; readers can receive periodic notices of recent publications by creating an account (click on Login in the upper right of this page) and subscribing under the Profile link.  Papers are published in an attractive, typeset format that can be read on-screen or printed by the reader, and new papers are made available for reading in a browser. The typeset papers physical appearance and Universal Resource Locators (URLs) are permanently fixed, to allow for reliable citations. The papers also have easy to access DOI  names.The Imprint provides its own indexes and full-text search engine, in addition to being indexed by Philosophers' Index and public search engines such as PhilPapers and Google Scholar.

Submissions to the Imprint are refereed anonymously and selected for publication on the basis of their estimated long-term significance. The Imprint publishes articles that engage directly with a philosophical issue or historical figure. We do not publish "interventions" in contemporary debates or commentaries on contemporary figures. Although there is no page limit on submissions, the Editors value economy of expression and do not plan to publish book-length works. 

All papers published by Philosophers' Imprint have gone through a stage of external peer review. Usually papers are seen by two external reviewers, but in some cases (especially if an editor is an expert on the subject) they will get one internal and one external review. No paper is published unless at least one of the external reviewers, and usually both, have recommended it for publication.


There is a possible future in which academic libraries no longer spend millions of dollars purchasing, binding, housing, and repairing printed journals, because they have assumed the role of publishers, cooperatively disseminating the results of academic research for free, via the Internet. Each library could bear the cost of publishing some of the world's scholarly output, since it would be spared the cost of buying its own copy of any scholarship published in this way. The results of academic research would then be available without cost to all users of the Internet, including students and teachers in developing countries, as well as members of the general public.

These developments would not spell the end of the printed book or the bricks-and-mortar library. On the contrary, academic libraries would finally be able to reverse the steep decline in their rate of acquiring books (which fell 25% from 1986 to 1996), because they would no longer be burdened with the steeply rising cost of journals (which increased 66% in the same period).*

The problem is that we don't know how to get to that future from here, and there are so many other, less desirable futures in which we might end up instead. The growing trend toward licensing access to electronic versions of journals is counterproductive, since it reproduces the unnecessary economy of subscriptions and permissions, in which intellectual property produced at universities, often with public funds, is transferred to private publishers who can collect fees for its dissemination. Now that academic institutions have access to the Internet, they have no reason to pay subscription or subvention fees to anyone for disseminating the results of academic research.

At the time of the Imprint's founding, significant obstacles stood in the way of a transition to fully electronic publishing. Authors did not view electronic publication as prestigious, readers did not view the electronic literature as authoritative, and neither of these views seemed likely to develop in the absence of the other. Younger scholars were unsure whether electronic publications would count towards tenure and promotion. And the funds that would support electronic publication and archiving were tied up in print subscriptions that could not be discontinued until an electronic alternative was available. Philosophers' Imprint was founded to overcome these obstacles to the free electronic dissemination of scholarship. The Imprint is designed to combine the permanence and authority of print with the instant and universal accessibility of the Internet. The Editors select for publication only those submissions which are judged to be of lasting value, on the basis of a blind refereeing process. Having no commitments to subscribers, the Editors are free to publish as few papers as are found to meet an absolute standard of quality. Each paper is given a fixed, typeset appearance and a stable Universal Resource Locator (URL), to allow for reliable citations. The University of Michigan Digital Library has committed funds to produce the Imprint, to provide it with indexes and a full-text search engine, and to ensure the permanent accessibility of its archives.

No license, subscription, or registration is required for access to the Imprint. Because the Imprint has no subscription income, it must operate economically, without paper or postage. Contributors are therefore required to submit their work electronically. All correspondence with authors and referees is conducted by electronic mail. Finally, the Imprint does not manage rights and permissions. Permission for instructional uses are not necessary, since the Imprint is accessible without charge to teachers and students alike; permission for other uses is managed by the authors, who retain copyright in their work.

Submitting a Paper

Before submitting a paper, please review our selection criteria. Prepare your paper for blind refereeing by removing personal references. Save the paper in MS Word or RTF format, ensuring that personal references have not been automatically added in a "Properties" or "Summary" field. If your paper contains symbols or equations that cannot be accommodated by a standard word processor, you may use LaTeX to produce a PDF manuscript for submission. If the paper is accepted, you will be responsible for formatting it using the Imprint document class available at the ctan website. Accepted articles are typically published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, though authors can request a different license if that's required for funding purposes.

Upload the manuscript of your paper on our Submissions page. Because Philosophers' Imprint derives no income from selling access to its content, the editors ask that submissions be accompanied by a donation of $25.00 to help defray costs.

Please note that we do not accept submission by email.


For more details about the journal, contact Brian Weatherson either by email (weath@umich.edu), or by mail (Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, 2215 Angell Hall, 435 South State St, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA).