Phylo began in 2006 as The Phylosophy Project, an attempt to document the faculty and Ph.D. recipients from nearly two dozen North American philosophy departments over the past 130 years. By studying connections between individuals, institutions, and ideas, we hoped to uncover larger patterns of influence throughout the field and provide new opportunities for research and teaching. A key component of the project was visualizations that rendered these relationships in clear and meaningful ways for a variety of audiences. The original prospectus describing this vision is available below.
Following initial data collection, we began exploring other sources of data and developing visual displays for individual and institutional data. We also developed the theoretical framework guiding Phylo, presenting the project at several conferences (NA-CAP 2007, NSF/JFMS Workshop on Mapping the History and Philosophy of Science) and writing "Naturalized Metaphilosophy", which argues for an empirical approach to understanding the development of the field.
In 2009, Phylo developed its jobs wiki, a user-annotated catalog of job openings in academic philosophy. The wiki receives over 1,000 pageviews per day during the peak of the job season, with a one day recorded high of 6,122 pageviews on December 15, 2010. We expanded this service in 2011 by allowing institutions of higher education to post official listings to Phylo Jobs.