Skip to main content
Log in

Philosophy of Science: What are the Key Journals in the Field?

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Erkenntnis Aims and scope Submit manuscript


By means of a citation analysis I aim to determine which scholarly journals are most important in the sub-field of philosophy of science. My analysis shows that the six most important journals in the sub-field are Philosophy of Science, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Journal of Philosophy, Synthese, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and Erkenntnis. Given the data presented in this study, there is little evidence that there is such a field as the history and philosophy of science (HPS). Rather, philosophy of science is most properly conceived of as a sub-field of philosophy.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Incidentally, in the first half of the 20th century, Erkenntnis was perceived as a potential threat to the journal Philosophy of Science, competing with it for both submissions and readers (see Reisch 2005, pp. 104–105).

  2. The 2003 journal list has 32 journals listed (see ISI 2003). A subsequent list has 36 journals listed.

  3. It is worth noting that there is no longer a Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Princeton.

  4. Kuhn continued to maintain that the two fields are distinct (see Kuhn 2000, p. 316).

  5. Ironically, in the next issue of Isis the philosopher of science Steven French engages history of science and its relationship to the philosophy of science more directly than either Richardson or Friedman did in their pieces, in his contribution to a focus on the theme of counterfactuals and the historian of science (see French 2008).


  • European Science Foundation. (2007). “ERIH initial list: History and philosophy of science (2007)”.

  • French, S. (2008). Genuine possibilities in the scientific past and how to spot them. Isis, 99(3), 568–575.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Friedman, M. (2008). History and philosophy of science in a new key. Isis, 99, 125–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giere, R. (1973). History and philosophy of science: Intimate relationship or marriage of convenience? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 24(3), 282–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hempel, C. G. (1975). The old and new “Erkenntnis”. Erkenntnis, 9, 1–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Institute for Scientific Information. (2003). “Arts and humanities citation index—history and philosophy of science journal list.” [; accessed 09/01/03 2:12 PM].

  • Kuhn, T. S. (1977). The relation between the history and the philosophy of science. The essential tension: Selected studies in scientific tradition and change (pp. 3–30). University of Chicago Press: Chicago.

  • Kuhn, T. S. (2000). The road since structure: Philosophical essays, 1970–1993, with an autobiographical interview, edited by J. Conant and J. Haugeland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Newton-Smith, W. H. (Ed.). (2000). Companion to the philosophy of science. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Papineau, D. (Ed.). (1996). Philosophy of science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Psillos, S., & Curd, M. (Eds.). (2008). The Routledge companion to philosophy of science. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reisch, G. (2005). How the cold war transformed philosophy of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Richardson, A. (2008). Scientific philosophy as a topic for history of science. Isis, 99, 88–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to K. Brad Wray.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wray, K.B. Philosophy of Science: What are the Key Journals in the Field?. Erkenn 72, 423–430 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: