The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy
The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy is a concise reference to the whole history of Western philosophy, from ancient Greece to the present day. The Dictionary’s entries are written in a clear and direct style, which makes it easy for readers to engage with the central questions of philosophy, from epistemology to ethics, and from metaphysics to the philosophy of mathematics. The authors pay particular attention to terms that are crucial to contemporary debate.
A unique feature of the Dictionary is its use of a quotation to conclude each entry on philosophical terms. These quotations not only illustrate the philosophical issues involved, but also serve as signposts for further study. Queries and objections are included in many of the entries to encourage readers to be active and critical in their response.
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The Blackwell dictionary of Western philosophyUser Review - Book Verdict
Philosophy dictionaries are published regularly. In this one, Bunnin, director of the Philosophy Project at Oxford, and Yu (philosophy, SUNY-Buffalo) offer the usual abecedary of philosophical terms, movements, and philosophers. In some cases, a brief illustrative quote follows the definition of a term in a philosopher's biography. Regrettably, the biographies, especially of contemporary philosophers, are so brief as to be unhelpful and lack a philosopher's most important works in the brief bibliography. For example, the entry on Jacques Derrida mentions no work after 1972, failing to take into account his important turn to politics, religion, and morality. In addition, the authors commit some egregious errors. For instance, Hegel never articulated a "triadic dialectic" consisting of the movement from thesis and antithesis to synthesis (an idea that Fichte originated, which the authors, to their credit, do mention in the Fichte entry); rather, it was a dialectic characterized by identity and difference. Kierkegaard was decidedly not the founder of existentialism, as the authors define him; the tendency to associate Kierkegaard with existentialism arose only in the middle of the 20th century. Although most public libraries will want to have a dictionary of philosophy on their shelves, this is not the one to own; look instead to The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy or The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy .--Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Lancaster, PA