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The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, originally published in 1967 under the editorship of Paul Edwards, remains to this day the best and most comprehensive English-language reference source for philosophy. But as the editor of this new single-volume supplement points out, "Much has happened in the discipline of philosophy since 1967." Hence, there is a need for some updating.
The supplement is not intended to be used on its own. Rather, it "presupposes and builds on the work embodied in the Encyclopedia" and is selective of topics chosen for inclusion. Overview articles on areas within the discipline of philosophy (e.g., Aesthetics, Metaphysics) update the user on developments since the publication of the encyclopedia. While the encyclopedia contains a lengthy survey of the history of aesthetics, the entry in the supplement discusses more recent approaches to aesthetic theory (e.g., postmodernist, feminist) not covered in the original work. Updates are provided for individual philosophers as well, from Aristotle to Wittgenstein. The supplement also includes new topics such as African philosophy, biomedical ethics, evidentialism, women in the history of philosophy, and the varied dimensions of feminist philosophy. Individual thinkers whose influence has grown in the past three decades have been given separate entries. Nearly one-half of the personal entries in the supplement are new and include such philosophers as Saul Kripke, John Rawls, and Georg Henrik von Wright.
Articles in the supplement are signed by the scholars who authored them and usually include a supplemental bibliography. The bibliographies for entries that are updates cite scholarship produced in the past 30 years. The supplement includes a comprehensive index to both itself and the encyclopedia, and cross-referencing in the supplement is made to entries in both works.
Libraries that own the encyclopedia must acquire the supplement. Libraries that do not own the encyclopedia might want to mark the occasion of the publication of the supplement by purchasing both works.From Library Journal:
This supplement updates the eight-volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Macmillan, 1967). The supplement, which includes an excellent comprehensive index to the whole work and useful cross references, not only covers central subfields, such as logic, metaphysics, and epistemology, but also treats contemporary continental philosophy, feminist philosophy, and applied ethics as major subfields. Because articles on topics in the latter fields give a faithful account of their respective subject matter and methods, readers will be able to judge the intellectual level and importance vis-a-vis traditional philosophy. Generally, the quality of articles is good, but some of those on social issues (e.g., affirmative action, racism) are marred by tendentious definition. Balance sometimes is questionable, as when E. Levinas gets about 4.5 columns and G.H. Wright just over one, or when A. Conway gets more space than D.M. Armstrong, while R. Dworkin is omitted altogether (though mentioned in a philosophy of law entry as being "the prominent individual" of the 1970s and 1980s). A bibliography's length often is disproportionate to the importance of its subject. Some articles are a model of their kind (e.g., the biographical article on Strawson and the topic entry on causal and other theories of knowledge). The book should be welcomed by anyone who has used the 1967 edition to advantage.?Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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