The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy / Edition 2

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This best-selling dictionary covers all areas of philosophy and contains terms from the related fields of religion, science, and logic. Clear and authoritative definitions make it an essential resource for students and teachers and an ideal introduction for anyone with an interest in philosophy.

The Gambler's Fallacy, the Dirty Hands Argument, Wittgenstein's Beetle in the Box--philosophical terms can be both intriguing and baffling. Now, eminent philosopher Simon Blackburn offers the most authoritative and up-to-date dictionary of philosophy available in a single volume. Nearly 3,000 entries cover everything from Aristotle to Zen. Line drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Almost 3000 entries-many extensively cross-referenced-cover Eastern and Western philosophy (with emphasis on the latter), all the main subdivisions of philosophy, terminology from other disciplines that is significant in philosophical discussion, and major historical figures. Occasionally, information in a definition coupled with its cross references make the term's meaning unnecessarily murky (e.g., compare the "validity"-"follow"-"entailment" sequence to the definition of "validity" in a standard elementary logic text). Some definitions are idiosyncratic (e.g., that of "straw man"), and some omit something necessary for correctness (e.g., the common knowledge condition in defining D. Lewis's "convention"). On the whole, however, the definitions are clear, correct, and useful, and the subjects of biographical entries are generally chosen sensibly. Blackburn covers more than A.R. Lacey in A Dictionary of Philosophy (Routledge, 1990) and a bit more than Antony Flew in A Dictionary of Philosophy (St. Martin's, 1984. 2d ed.), though Flew is somewhat clearer. Since these three dictionaries have different emphases, they complement one another nicely. Recommended for academic libraries.-Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY
School Library Journal
YA-A wondrous study of the concepts that structure our thinking. The 25,000 entries include the traditional ancient Eastern and Western philosophers, statesmen, and theologians as well as the modern influences in literary, social, political, math, and scientific movements. From Plato to Turing, this dictionary explains the ideas in language that students can understand and enjoy. Each definition explores the origin, current thought, and philosophers most associated with the concept. Cross-references are included. At just over 400 pages, this volume is easily used and not as intimidating as many specific-knowledge dictionaries. Blackburn describes his dictionary as a ``playground for browsers and a resource for anyone interested in general intellectual movements...'' YAs are likely to find themselves browsing compulsively day after day.-Cecelia Blotkamp, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Zom Zoms
Blackburn designed "The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy" "as a playground for browsers and a resource for anyone interested in general intellectual movements, as well as a simple work of reference." He was editor of the journal "Mind" from 1984 through 1990 and is currently a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina. He is author of "Essays in Quasi-Realism" 1993 and "Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language" 1984. Blackburn operates in the Anglo-American analytic philosophical tradition, as opposed to the existentialist or phenomenological traditions of Europe The work is a distinctly personal one, though Blackburn's assessments of philosophical positions and discussions are objective and expository in tone. For example, of Immanuel Kant, he states, "his place as the greatest philosopher of the last 300 years is well assured.. . . [w]hilst his confidence in the a priori and the structure of his idealism have been widely rejected, it is not too much to say that all modern epistemology, metaphysics, and even ethics, is implicitly affected by the architecture he created. The nearly 3,000 entries cover a wide variety of topics. Biographical entries include Aquinas, Russell, Isaiah Berlin, Michel Foucault, Darwin, and Keynes. While philosophers such as Plato and Nietzsche receive a page or more of treatment, those included for a peripheral contribution to philosophy, such as Keynes or Einstein, receive about half a column. Other entries run from a few lines to a page in length. Topics range back to the beginnings of Western and Eastern philosophy and across fields to discuss philosophical insights or approaches to economics, love, dreams, biology, and so forth. Yet the bulk of the dictionary consists of concise, focused definitions of terms used by analytic philosophers and philosophy students: "falsifiability", "protocol statements", "liar paradox", "subjectivism/objectivism", and "prisoners' dilemma". Blackburn writes in an interesting and easy-to-follow style. He has made liberal use of cross-references marked by asterisks within the text and "see" and "see also" references at the end of entries. Some entries include bits of symbolic logic; a two-page appendix defines most of the symbols used. This book is the most recent dictionary of philosophy. Dagobert Runes edited numerous editions of his "Dictionary of Philosophy" between 1942 and 1984 Littlefield. Antony Flew's "Dictionary of Philosophy" came out in 1979 and 1984 St. Martin's. Peter Angeles wrote his "Dictionary of Philosophy" in 1981; a revised edition was published in 1992 as "The HarperCollins Dictionary of Philosophy". "The Oxford Dictionary" is uniquely broad in its coverage. It is accessible to the general reader, while at the same time being useful for the scholar or student. It is recommended for all academic and public libraries.
Reprint of the 1994 edition with a new chronology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

"A wondrous study of the concepts that structure our thinking."--School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198610144
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/19/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet 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 University, from 1969 to 1990. He is the author of Spreading the Word and Essays in Quasi-Realism, and from 1984 to 1990, he was editor of the journal Mind.

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Table of Contents

Appendix: Logical Symbols

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