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22 Reviews
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfect Entry Level Dictionary of Philosophy
Philosophy is, at best, a difficult business. Whether one is a professional philosopher (whatever that means), or a casual reader, any discussion of philosophy requires familiarity with a huge number of specialized terms. A philosophical dictionary allows the reader to quickly ground himself in the vocabulary without losing the train of thought.
The various...
Published on May 28, 2002 by Bradley P. Rich

versus
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty? Yes. But vague and insufficient as well.
I own and have been extremely happy with Oxfords "Dictionary of World Religions" (J. Bower ed.) and was hoping for something similar with Blackburn's dictionary. However, I'm sadly disappointed. Rather than the concise, informative, flowing style of Bowker's work, I find broad generalizations, questions rather than statements and several entries ended in...
Published on July 3, 2004 by Justin S. Whitaker


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfect Entry Level Dictionary of Philosophy, May 28, 2002
By 
Bradley P. Rich (Salt Lake City, UT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Philosophy is, at best, a difficult business. Whether one is a professional philosopher (whatever that means), or a casual reader, any discussion of philosophy requires familiarity with a huge number of specialized terms. A philosophical dictionary allows the reader to quickly ground himself in the vocabulary without losing the train of thought.
The various encyclopedias of philosophy are more comprehensive, but they serve a completely different purpose. If you are looking for in depth analysis, turn to an encyclopedia, but for a quick definition, this volume is perfect. The entries contain just the perfect amount of information. You are quickly gotten up to speed, without bogging down in endless peripheral issues.
In short, a valuable supplement to philosophical studies, both for the novice and for the more experienced reader of philosophical texts.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, May 17, 2003
By A Customer
Professor Blackburn has written a concise, clear, and witty dictionary of philosophical and political terms covering a wide array of traditions, both Eastern and Western. And like all the best reference works, it carries the flavor of an individual author, displaying, here and there, touches of idiosyncratic wit and charm. Many of Blackburn's definitions are masterpieces of concision and fairness--see, for instance, his entry on Nietzsche, which squeezes a century's worth of scholarship into two-and-a-half lucid columns. This delightful book has earned a permanent place on my desktop.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty? Yes. But vague and insufficient as well., July 3, 2004
By 
I own and have been extremely happy with Oxfords "Dictionary of World Religions" (J. Bower ed.) and was hoping for something similar with Blackburn's dictionary. However, I'm sadly disappointed. Rather than the concise, informative, flowing style of Bowker's work, I find broad generalizations, questions rather than statements and several entries ended in "this is much debated."
Of course, to those completely new to Philosophy this may be far more useful than direct, clear definitions of terms, but to any student of philosophy, this text will soon prove more frustrating than useful.
I would suggest the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, (R. Audi ed.) for a much broader, clearer, (albeit less charming) Dictionary.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Comprehensive, Brilliant Encapsulations, July 4, 2006
By 
Rev. Thomas Scarborough (Cape Town, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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I have long referred to the original Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994) by Simon Blackburn. At that time, it was almost unique as a one-volume dictionary of philosophy. Especially in more recent years, however, it sometimes seemed to come short. Some crucial entries were missing, e.g. deflationary theories of truth, forms of life, or motivation -- and in particular, postmodern philosophers and postmodern terms.

This has all been addressed eleven years later, so that the 2005/2006 editions do not disappoint. It is surprisingly comprehensive, and it brilliantly encapsulates the core meaning of each entry in readily understandable terms. More obscure entries are cross-referenced to other terms, e.g. axiology, ideal language, or retributive justice.

Blackburn states in his preface that he has sought chiefly to write "through my own interests and judgements", keeping "the likely needs of the user in mind" -- while at the same time seeking to "light up the faculties". I would consider that the end result is a very good mix. One might well find all that one needs in this single volume.

This having been said, Blackburn is not known for his affection for postmodernism. Combined with his own special form of panache, this makes the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy a humorous read at times. Foucault, he notes, is said to deal with "subject and abject"; Derrida, on being accused of "a tissue of confusions", responded with a "blizzard of text"; while Levinas is "perhaps beyond the limits of intelligibility". I found myself following the postmodern trail just to find the next joke.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grateful Help For the Novice, June 29, 2005
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I try to read Philosophy, I really do. It just seems to have a sedative effect on me. I frequently read science books that have significant amounts of Philosophy scattered about. I keep this book right by my side. As opposed to the Oxford Dictionary of Science, this book almost always includes the entry I'm looking for. Since it's common in definitions about philosophy to refer to other terms in philosophy, when the second term is also defined in this book, an asterisk is placed on it. This is quite helpful since I frequently want additional clarification - I'll look up the other word also. Simon Blackburn writes in a nice style and this book has been exactly the ticket for my needs.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful dictionary for the general reader, April 6, 2000
Apparently Blackburn's purpose is to provide a dictionary that is helpful to the novice and general reader, and his dictionary admirably succeeds in making the language of philosophy accessible. Although the graduate student and the professional will probably not find the book to be especially useful, much good can come from bringing philosophy to the non-specialist. Oxford University Press should be commended for adding this title to the many books it has published in an effort to bring knowledge to the novice and general reader. Because Blackburn's dictionary meets its objective, this one gets five stars.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Have Reference book!, May 6, 2006
A great reference book for anyone who is a student of Philosophy, Theology or Law. Great for the casual reader of philosophical works as well.

Best value for the price as well. A better priced, more complete book will be very hard to find.

Get it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the point, December 18, 2010
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This review is from: The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference) (Paperback)
This is an excellent philosophy dictionary. It's not too big, the definitions are very straightforward, with an easy to read language; very well written indeed. I recommend it.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dictionary of Philosophy, January 10, 2004
By 
smartnurse123 (Slidell, LA United States) - See all my reviews
A helpful reference book for the beginning philosophy student. It lists philosophical terms in alphabetical order and is easy to use as a dictionary. Great if you are memorizing terms or looking up the names of philosophers and need a quick answer.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a detailed review of the "thinking world", March 24, 2006
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Anyone wanting a grounding all things philosophical..can do no better than to have and read this book ...daily. I use it to research what I learn on "Philosophy Talk.org" .

jack barry

san francisco
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The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference) by Simon Blackburn (Paperback - October 2, 2008)
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