Encyclopedia of Ethics

ISBN 13: 9780815304036

Encyclopedia of Ethics

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9780815304036: Encyclopedia of Ethics
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The second edition of this encyclopaedia has been revised, expanded and updated by its editors and a group of world-renowned authorities in the field of ethics. Some 600 entries cover the spectrum of ethics, including metaethics, ethical theory, perennial moral problems and political, social and legal theory. It includes survey articles on trends and eras; summaries of leading concepts, principles and theoretical problems; and biographical entries on contemporary philosophers whose eminence makes their inclusion appropriate. This second edition should be a useful resource for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as scholars in philosophy or related fields, and for general readers with a strong interest in ethics.

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From Booklist:

Since the publication of the first edition of this work, in 1992, the number of general and specialized reference works in philosophy has significantly increased. Examples include two general works--Salem's three-volume Ethics (1994) and the Encyclopedia of Ethics (Facts On File, 1999), which serves as a basic introduction to the subject--and the more specialized four-volume Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (Academic, 1998). Scholars, university students, and readers with a serious interest in ethical theory will be pleased to find that this second edition of the Encyclopedia of Ethics distinguishes itself in aim and coverage from these other works.

The coverage of ethical theory as pursued among English-speaking philosophers remains the scope of this set. Entries are listed in word-by-word alphabetical order. A list of entries gives a convenient overview of headwords and see references. A subject index provides a guide to subjects discussed in the text of the entries, including persons; and a citation index provides an author-by-author listing of writers, and some editors, cited in the bibliographies of all 581 entries.

In their introduction, the editors note that the second edition has been both revised and expanded by more than 30 percent. They also claim that almost all of the 435 entries from the first edition have been retained but that many have been substantially revised; "where appropriate and possible," bibliographies have also been updated. In this new edition more than 300 specialists are responsible for 581 signed entries, 150 of which are new. A list of contributors and editors provides brief biographical information about these individuals.

Although entries are consistently highly accessible and readable, a careful comparison of entries across editions reveals two principal shortcomings. First, revisions are not always "substantial"--even when substantial revision may have been warranted. The article Abortion is an example. Second, most bibliographies have not been updated. The bibliography accompanying the entry Academic freedom, for example, includes only one reference published in the 1980s and none from the 1990s. Likewise, the bibliography accompanying the entry Ethics in government has no references published in the 1990s. On the other hand, the entry on genocide has been updated to include mention of Bosnia and Rwanda, and the accompanying bibliography lists several resources published in the 1990s. The real value of this edition lies in the 150 new entries, among them Cheating, Gay ethics, Genetic engineering, Islamic ethics, Multiculturalism, Political correctness, and Racism, concepts of, to name just a few.

Is this encyclopedia an essential purchase? Yes, despite the shortcomings noted, especially for large public and academic libraries. Libraries that own the first edition will want to replace it with the second. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This generally well-written and well-edited encyclopedia covers mostly academic ethics as practiced in the English-speaking world, though it also covers aspects of moral philosophy in other cultures. Some 435 signed, cross-referenced articles (with bibliographies) treat such topics as metaethics; important moral concepts; perennial moral problems; moral, legal, political, and social theory; applied ethics; and the relationship between philosophical ethics and other fields. There is also a subject index and a name index of cited authors. The articles range from 500 to 9000 words in length, 70 percent being between 1000 and 5000 words. Usually, an article's length is appropriate to the philosophical importance of its subject. But it is puzzling to find that Feminist Ethics is given approximately the same space as Metaethics, or Rape as Benevolence; that Agricultural Ethics is about a third longer than Islamic Ethics; and that Sexuality and Sexual Ethics is slightly more than double Liberty, which also is shorter than Agricultural Ethics. Some omissions also are surprising: No article is devoted to Karl Popper nor, despite five lines of indexical references, to Bernard Williams, making the seven pages of capsule accounts of Women Moral Philosophers (who date from 420 B.C. to 1943) seem especially out of place. Moreover, the treatment of the moral realist's allegation of the supervenience of moral upon nonmoral properties is virtually nonexistent. These are minor flaws, however, that hardly mar a splendid achievement: the compilation of clearly written, well-organized, perceptive essays on a wide variety of topics in moral philosophy and related subjects. This encyclopedia belongs in all academic libraries and may be considered by larger public libraries as well.
-Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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