From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up–Opening with a stimulating preface (Philosophy thrives….It is only the sciences and the superstitions that come and go), Honderich presents this considerably revised and expanded update of his 1995 edition as a resource that will be equally useful to scholars and to general readers. Now including more than 2200 alphabetically arranged entries from nearly 300 contributors, it provides an encyclopedic view of philosophy's past and present, its ideas, disputes (the editor himself contributes an article on unlikely philosophical propositions), and key figures, living and dead. The articles range in length from several sentence definitions to meaty topical and biographical essays of several pages. Each concludes with a list of references; a scattered few are illustrated. A massive index backs up frequent cross-references to enhance ease of access. Back matter includes a time line and an absorbing series of maps, or schematic diagrams, of types and schools of philosophy. More extensive in scope and level of detail than the Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(1999), this title makes an excellent companion for standard multivolume subject encyclopedias, and will serve college-bound students and beyond well for both quick reference and sustained enquiry.–John Peters, New York Public Library
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"The brave, large aim of this book," boasts editor Honderich, as he did of the 1995 first edition, "has been to bring philosophy together between two covers better than ever before." That is a lofty goal indeed, given such outstanding competition as The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
(1999), Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(2000), and The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(2005). The latter two are abridgements of the 10-volume Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(1998). What all have in common are alphabetical arrangement, 2,000 or so articles of varying length by hundreds of experts, and an emphasis on the Western philosophical tradition beginning with the pre-Socratics and culminating in twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy while still making room for the continental and non-Western philosophical traditions. All have considerable complementary differences in terms of authors and entries.
As with the first edition, Honderich has provided a reference work of both great value and pleasurable reading. He has allowed authors to show their idiosyncrasies, perhaps nowhere more so than in his own mind-twisting entry on Unlikely philosophical propositions. Some 300 new entries (including Animal consciousness, Cloning, and Corporate responsibility) have been added. Many others have been revised, lengthened, or updated. The distinguished list of contributors has increased from 249 to 291. Subjects range from paragraph-length entries on philosophers (some of whom are represented in the handful of illustrations) and concepts to entries of several thousand words on 20 or so giants of Western philosophy, aspects of the major branches of philosophy, and various national philosophies. There are entries for some 150 contemporary philosophers. Each entry is followed by a reference list. Adding value are appendixes of logical symbols, maps of philosophy showing hierarchical relationships, and a chronology of philosophy with contemporaneous figures and events in the facing column. The index is composed almost entirely of main-entry headings with lists of entries that are related.
This volume is highly recommended for academic, public, and high-school library reference collections and for philosophically curious browsers. For libraries looking for a work more uniformly accessible to the uninitiated, Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a better choice. Craig Bunch
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