The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Quick Reference)

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9780198610137: The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Quick Reference)

Comprehensive and authoritative the Dictionary of Philosophy contains over 2,500 entries, including biographies of nearly 500 influential philosophers. The dictionary provides wide-ranging and lively coverage of not only Western philosophical traditions, but also themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy. This clear and easy to use reference also contains in-depth analysis of philosophical terms and concepts, and a chronology of philosophical events stretching from 10,000 BC to the present day.

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About the Author:


Simon Blackburn is Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina. He was a fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford from 1969 to 1990. The author of Spreading the Word (1984) and Essays in Quasi-Realism, he edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.

From Booklist:

In his preface to the first edition, reprinted here, the author states that his "own interests and assessments are not always disguised." This is true of the second edition as well, providing such delicious morsels as, in the entry on Jacques Derrida, "Derrida's work . . . is not easily assimilated by people used to normal expressions of thought." Nevertheless, the vast majority of entries are admirably objective. Blackburn's preference is for--and expertise lies in--the branch of the Western philosophical tradition culminating in academic Anglo-American philosophy.

Although the book jacket claims this to be a "vastly expanded second edition, with over 500 new entries," there is no indication in the new preface or elsewhere what these new entries are. The page count has not altered significantly from the first edition. More than 500 of the new edition's more than 3,000 entries are biographical, including non-Western thinkers such as Confucius and Kitaro Nishida and nonphilosophers such as Dante and Freud. Among the terms covered are Apathy, Capitalism, Environmental ethics, Hedonism, Hatha-yoga, Taoism, Ontology, Self-deception, Turing machine, Vedanta, Whig view of history, and Welfare. Entries range in length from a sentence (e.g., Formal implication, Free variable) to nearly two pages (e.g., Kant, Immanuel). There is extensive cross-referencing within and between the lucid entries. Concluding the volume are an appendix of logical symbols and a chronology of important philosophical and other cultural dates.

The second edition's jacket quotes the Times Literary Supplement on the first edition: "the most comprehensive dictionary of philosophy in English." This is no longer true and was perhaps untrue even in 1996. In the last 10 years, a variety of excellent -single-author and multiple-author one-volume philosophical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and "companions" have become available (not to mention far more extensive print and Internet references). Each offers entries and viewpoints not found in any of the others so it makes good sense to have more than one. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy is an excellent choice for public and academic libraries. Craig Bunch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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