Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy


The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the most ambitious international philosophy project in many years. Edited by Edward Craig and assisted by thirty specialist subject editors, the REP consists of ten volumes of the world's most eminent philosophers writing for the needs of students and teachers of philosophy internationally. The REP is a project on an unparalleled scale:

  • Over 2000 entries ranging from 500 to 15,000 words in length - ...
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The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the most ambitious international philosophy project in many years. Edited by Edward Craig and assisted by thirty specialist subject editors, the REP consists of ten volumes of the world's most eminent philosophers writing for the needs of students and teachers of philosophy internationally. The REP is a project on an unparalleled scale:

  • Over 2000 entries ranging from 500 to 15,000 words in length - thematic, biographical and national
  • 10 volumes consisting of over 5 million words of text plus considerable bibliographic material
  • A Chief Editor and thirty specialist Subject Editors from across the world
  • Over 1200 authors from all over the world.

The importance of the REP is not to be found just in the sheer size of the project but also in its breadth of subject matter. It covers:

  • The core of most Anglo-American philosophy - the metaphysical, epistemological and logical questions
  • The usual menu of ethics, political philosophy and the history of philosophy
  • The philosophy of other cultures - from Chinese, Arabic and Jewish philosophy to the philosophy of Africa and Latin America

The most impressive range of authors have been gathered together on this unique project: William Alston, Roderick Chisolm, Fred Dretske, Joel Feinberg, Sandra Harding, Larry Laudan, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Popkin, Richard Rorty, Alan Ryan, Gyatri Chakravorty Spivak, Stephen Stich, Patrick Suppes and Bernard Williams, to name just a few.

Also available online:

"Depth and breadth of coverage, clarity of presentation, impressive bibliographies, excellent use of cross references, and an extensive index combine to make this an impressive reference work. The contributors have addressed both current and past scholarship on world philosophy and religion and have produced a worthy successor to Macmillan's 1967 Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It will be read and understood by the educated public as well as scholars and will be a fine addition to academic and large public library reference collections."--"Outstanding Reference Sources : the 1999 Selection Sources Committee, RUSA, ALA.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'More than 30 years after the publication of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy comes this new set that is likely to be the definitive encyclopedia of philosophy for the next generation.' — Booklist
Jim Holt
The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy [is] impeccably edited, indexed and cross-referenced, it is also a very handsome physical object. . . . Even the most technical entries are accessible to nonspecialists. -- Wall Street Journal
Library Journal
Essentially a CD-ROM version of the print product, this disc offers a long-needed update to the reference standard The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Paul Edwards LJ 9/15/98. Over 2000 articles, varying in length from 500 to 15,000 words, cover philosophical thought from antiquity to the present. Entries range from individuals Kant, Simone Weil to philosophical issues and theories Utilitarianism, Justice, Agnosticism, Buddhist Philosophy, Free Will, Trust and current issues e.g., Structuralism, Postcolonialism, and Feminism. The disc offers a variety of access points: Philosophical Themes, World Philosophies, and World Religions. These broad headings are further subdivided by topic, and you can get a list of topics by time period. The inexperienced philosopher will find this a useful way to get acquainted with the themes, individuals, terminology, and history of a field, while the scholar will be able to exploit the breadth and nuances of philosophical thought in full. The search engine is highly flexible, allowing standard Boolean and proximity searching. The Bottom Line: Highly recommended; a required purchase for all public and academic libraries. We have another standard here.--Ed Tallent, Research Instruction, Harvard Coll. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415073103
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/26/1998
  • Edition description: BOXED
  • Pages: 8680
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 20.90 (d)

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Broadly speaking, there have been two main types of philosophical response to psychoanalysis. The first sets out to assess the scientific status of Freud's hypotheses; the second uses the insights of psychoanalytic theory to re-evaluate the status and foundations of philosophy. Feminists in philosophy have overwhelmingly adopted the second stance, which in practice turns the first on its head, since the epistemological basis of science itself becomes a problem from the vantage point of psychoanalytic accounts.

Although in the popular imagination feminism and psychoanalysis are sworn enemies, and many feminists continue to be hostile to Freud, serious feminist engagement with psychoanalysis began with post-1970 feminism in the work of Juliet Mitchell, Luce Irigaray, Dorothy Dinnerstein and Nancy Chodorow. Feminists in philosophy turned to psychoanalysis in an attempt to understand what they perceived as the masculinism of philosophy and its attempt to exclude the feminine. Since psychoanalysis is specifically concerned with issues such as the formation of masculine and feminine identity at the level of the unconscious, it provides a framework for arguing that rationality and knowledge are always unconsciously gendered, thus challenging the self-proclaimed neutrality and universality of philosophy, a claim which feminists had come to see as increasingly suspect.

1.Trends in psychoanalytic feminism 2.Theoretical issues in psychoanalytic feminism

1. Trends in psychoanalytic feminism

To understand the thrust of psychoanalytic interventions in philosophy, it is helpful to make a comparison between psychoanalytic approaches to literary theory and psychoanalytic approaches to philosophy. Because psychoanalysis looks at the effects of desire in language, psychoanalysis and literary criticism are allies in a way that psychoanalysis and philosophy are not (see FEMINIST LITERARY CRITICISM). Whereas psychoanalysis has given literary criticism a new lease of life, it has, on the contrary, tended to destabilize philosophy as traditionally understood.

Psychoanalytic criticism examines texts with a view to locating literary or rhetorical strategies analogous to psychic mechanisms. It takes into account relationships both between author and text, and reader and text. It may often extrapolate from the strategies of the text to the strategies of the culture in general. Using Wright's (1984) classification as a guide, one can distinguish five main types of approach: (1) psychobiography or psycho-critique (analysing the psyche of the author or the characters); (2) reader-response theory (analysing the psyche of the reader, or the relationship between reader and writing); (3) analysis of psyche as text, starting from the Lacanian assumption that psychic mechanisms are analogous to linguistic ones; (4) analysis of the text as psyche, starting from the Derridean assumption that textual mechanisms are analogous to psychic ones; (5) analysis of the ideology of psychoanalysis, an approach inspired by Foucault which sees psychoanalysis as a discourse which produces effects of power, both positive and negative (see LACAN, J.; DERRIDA, J.; FOUCAULT, M.).

Because mainstream English-language philosophy has been reluctant to see itself as 'text', that is as in any way 'literary', and has often been resistant to structuralist and post-structuralist philosophy, feminist work here has tended to remain within the first kind of approach, psychobiography or psychocritique, which is also the most vulnerable to the charge of reductivism. In its early attempts to use psychoanalytic theory in philosophy, there was a certain lack of theoretical clarity concerning the analysand or 'patient' whose psyche or psychopathology was up for scrutiny. The analysand was seen variously as the individual philosopher (Plato, Descartes and Hobbes were typical examples), the philosophical system each had produced, or Western culture in general. All of these were in turn subject to analysis. The definition put forward by Naomi Scheman (1993: 7) of the analysis and as 'the normative philosophical subject', 'the epistemically authoritative modern subject', would probably now be generally accepted.

Feminist English-language philosophy relies on the strand of psychoanalytic theory known as object-relations theory and associated with the post-Kleinians: Winnicott and Fairbairn in Britain, Guntrip in the USA. Object-relations theory differs both from classical Freudianism and also from (post-)structuralist psychoanalysis. Whereas the focus of classical Freudianism was primarily on the conflict between instinctual drive and the frustrations of external reality, object-relations theory focuses more on the child's relations with its real or fantasied 'others'. It thus provides a more intersubjective and socially-orientated account of psychic reality. Similarly, whereas Lacanian theory stresses the internal splitting and division of the self, object-relations theory is more likely to stress the integration of different parts of the self in healthy development, with 'splitting' as a mark of pathology. Emphasis once more is placed on the child's social and familial environment, which assists or militates against psychic integration. Object-relations theory plays down the drives in favour of social reality; this makes it readily accessible to feminist theory which already has a predominantly social orientation. It is argued, for example, that the sexual division of labour, both within the family and also between public and private worlds, creates a pathogenic environment, reproducing the distortions of masculinity and femininity which have been the target of feminist critique (Chodorow 1978).

In the continental tradition, psychoanalytic critique has been more far-reaching. There was a convergence between the feminist critique of the claims of philosophy, and the structuralist and post-structuralist critiques of the primacy accorded to consciousness. Feminism's argument that there was no possibility of an Archimedean point anchoring knowledge found common ground with the claim of psychoanalysis that complete self-possession or self-awareness is impossible, that the knowing, rational, speaking subject is dependent on structures outside conscious control and which are impossible in principle to grasp in their entirety. For feminists in the continental tradition, the aim is to rethink what is understood by subjectivity, given the hypothesis of the unconscious: 'The subject of the unconscious demands that the subject of philosophy…faces his/her incompleteness, recognises the libidinal bodily roots of intelligence, and accepts the partiality of his/her modes of thinking' (Braidotti 1991: 35). In displacing the centrality of consciousness, a challenge is raised to the project of philosophy as previously understood.

Continental philosophy refers to a different set of psychoanalytic theorists. Lacan's reading of FREUD has dominated, but Klein has also been influential (in the work of J. KRISTEVA), as have Abraham and Ferenczi(see PSYCHOANALYSIS, DOCTRINES). There is also a flourishing French tradition of psychoanalysts with an interdisciplinary orientation, who have read Nietzsche, Hegel, Heidegger and the phenomenologists, and are acquainted with surrealism, as well as structural linguistics (Saussure) and structural anthropology (Lévi-Strauss) (Roudinesco 1986). Unlike object-relations theory, French psychoanalysis has retained and developed Freud's controversial notion of the death drive; it remains suspicious of the US stress on the integration of the ego, and is much more likely to emphasize the decentred subject, a notion which had already been introduced in French philosophy.

Structuralism and post-structuralism have made it clear that there is more than one way of reading Freud: there is the Enlightenment Freud, committed to science and rational mastery; there is also a more deconstructive Freud, whose drive theory introduces a permanent threat of destabilization to the constructions of the rational ego. Feminist theorists in the continental tradition have been more interested in the deconstructive Freud, since they perceive the constructions of the rational ego as hostile to the feminine. While this has produced some undoubtedly powerful theoretical work, the links to feminism as a social movement remain on the whole more tenuous and less programmatic than for more ego-orientated philosophy (see STRUCTURALISM; POST-STRUCTURALISM).

2. Theoretical issues in psychoanalytic feminism

Two levels of theoretical problem can be identified in the encounter between feminism, psychoanalysis and philosophy. To the first level belong the objections to the use of psychoanalytic theory per se, made from a feminist but not necessarily philosophical perspective. One can distinguish four types of argument here. First, it was held that psychoanalytic theory was organized around male desire (represented by the centrality of the phallus) and that its central concepts, implicitly or explicitly, maintained women as inferior. This argument is associated with the view that psychoanalysis is inevitably prescriptive rather than primarily descriptive. Psychoanalytic feminists accept that psychoanalytic theory is often phallocentric; however, masculine bias may also be seen, not as a reason for rejecting psychoanalysis in toto, but rather for rethinking its concepts (Brennan 1992; Flax 1990; Kofman 1980; Schneider 1980). Even in his own lifetime, Freud's account of women's psycho-sexuality had been challenged by women analysts. Second, it was thought that psychoanalytic theory (particularly in the work of French feminists) equated the feminine with the irrational, so that the celebration of the feminine was in effect promoting irrationalism. However, it was not so much that objectivity or rationality were thrown out, which would have been self-defeating; it was more that they were displaced. Psychoanalytic feminists wanted to discuss issues such as objectivity as a mechanism of defence (involving splitting, or the attempt to distance oneself from unacceptable or unbearable feelings by projecting them elsewhere) and the consequences of this, especially for women (Bordo 1987; Keller 1985).

Third, it was further pointed out that it was reductive to read philosophical texts in terms of the hypothetical psychopathology of their - often long-dead - authors. In practice, this argument has been generally accepted, and has led to more sophisticated textual readings. It is a critique which has less bite when one adopts the more literary technique of taking the 'author' to be an extrapolation of the text rather than an actual individual. The fourth and perhaps most telling objection was that major tenets of Freudian theory, such as the Oedipus complex, were presented as though they were universal and ahistorical data, rather than hypotheses generated in a particular social, cultural and historical era. This critique of ethnocentrism was difficult to evade; in response there has been an attempt to distinguish between the content of unconscious fantasies, which may be culturally specific, and the inevitability of certain types of mental processes occurring during the development and socialization of children. These processes have greater claim to universality and it seems legitimate to accept them provisionally as cross-cultural, although the distinction between form and content is not always easy to make in psychoanalytic theory, so that the problem of universality remains a controversial one.

We now turn to the second level, where the arguments taking place within the three-way debate between feminism, philosophy and psychoanalysis are more conceptual. At this fundamental level, central issues include the status of psychoanalytic theory and the limits of philosophy.

It is recognized that Freud's account of the mind (and the elaboration of this account in subsequent and not always mutually compatible theories) provides an immanent critique of its own constructions. Psychoanalytic theory explicitly recognizes that all theory, including its own, is indebted to unconscious determinants. For example, one of the problems of psychoanalytic theory has to do with the representation of the drives and the way in which fantasies, images and words become attached to what are in origin somatic impulses. Since no correspondence can ever be established between the drive and its representation (there is no possible position from which the drive can be observed, one can only observe the representation), it is argued that the representation has a structuring effect on the drives (Irigaray 1974). Arguments of this type have major implications for theoretical formulations in psychoanalysis, which are claimed to produce as well as derive from the objects which are their field of study. This gives a particularly passionate edge to theoretical arguments. It also means that questions about the status of psychoanalytic concepts can be raised without necessarily implying a complete rejection of psychoanalytic findings. Such questions are major philosophical issues in contemporary feminist theory. For example, Judith Butler (1990), drawing on Foucault, analyses the power-effects of psychoanalytic discourse. According to Butler, psychoanalytic theory maintains the irreducibility of the binary (and heterosexist) structure of gender as though this were foundational. It accepts that masculine and feminine identities are constructions, but it continues to build on the bedrock of the castration complex which divides human beings into men and women. In so doing it takes culture to be nature. In Butler's view, the sexual binary reinforces male primacy and makes heterosexuality normative. She puts forward an alternative account of the construction of gender designed to allow for the possibility of multiplicity where previously there had only been a hierarchical dualism.

Feminists in more activist traditions such as socialist feminism are also concerned that psychoanalytic feminism, with its emphasis on unconscious determinants, does away with any useful notion of agency; they are concerned about its apparent lack of strong social orientation. At the same time, they accept that materialist theory has no adequate account of subjectivity and that psychoanalysis might be a source of indispensable insights here (Sayers 1986).

Drawing on the psyche-text analogy, the mental operations described by psychoanalysis -- projection, introjection, identification, splitting, repression, disavowal, unconscious fantasy, and so on - are identified in the text of the culture at large (following the precedent set by Freud who thought social phenomena could be described in psychoanalytic terms). They are seen as functions of a text, a discourse, or a culture in general, so that a whole culture, or subsection of it, may be said to be projecting (for example, projecting men's gender-specific fears on to women) or splitting, or disavowing (for example, disavowing the debt to the mother, or the bodily origins of language). This leads on to an analysis of the cultural imaginary (that is the unconscious fantasies of a whole culture), a task undertaken by many feminists who do not define themselves as philosophers, but who use psychoanalytic premises. Outstanding studies include work by Parveen Adams, Teresa Brennan, Elisabeth Bronfen, Teresa De Lauretis, Jane Gallop, Mary Jacobus, Rosalind Krauss, Griselda Pollock, Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, Jacqueline Rose, and Kaja Silverman. (For a survey of the range of work in feminism and psychoanalysis, see Wright (ed.) 1992). There are particularly incisive analyses in meta-psychological theory, literary theory, film theory and art criticism. If one accepts the argument put forward by Michèle LE DOEUFF - that the traffic between philosophy and the wider culture is not all one-way, that it is not just a question of philosophy clarifying culture, but also of philosophy depending on influences and understandings from other disciplines - then it is hard to draw clear boundaries between what is philosophically relevant and what is not. The issue of what is internal to the text/psyche being analysed and what is external, and how/whether one establishes the boundaries in any instance becomes one of the theoretical issues up for debate.

Feminists are interested in psychoanalysis because of a felt necessity for change. They take from psychoanalysis the recognition that intellectual understanding does not in itself effect unconscious transformation, for which the shifts of desire in transference are necessary. Such transformations are evidently subject neither to conscious decision nor to the exercise of either will, reason or force. This indicates the limits of philosophy for feminists, but also the dilemmas with which psychoanalysis confronts the feminist project.


--Margaret Whitford

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Table of Contents

Using the Encyclopedia List of entries Volume 1 A posteriori -- Bradwardine, Thomas Volume 2 Brahman -- Derrida, Jacques Volume 3 Descartes, Rene -- Gender and science Volume 4 Genealogy -- Iqbal, Muhammad Volume 5 Irigaray, Luce -- Lushi chunqiu Volume 6 Luther, Martin -- Nifo, Agostino Volume 7 Nihilism -- Quantum mechanics, interpretation of Volume 8 Questions -- Sociobiology Volume 9 Sociology of knowledge -- Zoroastrianism Volume 10 Index
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