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The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference) [Paperback]

Simon Blackburn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
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Book Description

21 Aug 2008 Oxford Paperback Reference
This best-selling dictionary is written by one of the most famous philosophers of our time, and it is widely recognized as the best dictionary of its kind. Comprehensive and authoritative, it covers every aspect of philosophy from Aristotle to Zen. With clear and concise definitions, it provides lively and accessible coverage of not only Western philosophical traditions, but also themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy.

Entries include over 500 biographies of famous and influential philosophers, in-depth analysis of philosophical terms and concepts, and a chronology of philosophical events stretching from 10,000 BC to the present day. The first edition of this dictionary became a market-leader and a standard work of reference, selling over 100,000 copies. Now the author, Professor Simon Blackburn, has revised it to include web links which provide up-to-date and valuable extra information via the Dictionary of Philosophy companion website.

Fully cross-referenced and containing over 3,000 alphabetical entries, it is the ideal introduction to philosophy for anyone with an interest in the subject, and it is an indispensable work of reference for students and teachers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (21 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199541434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199541430
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


an excellent source book (Times Higher Education Supplement)

the most comprehensive dictionary of philosophy in English (Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford from 1969 to 1990. Best-selling author of Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics, and Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, he also edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Rich as Sacher torte or Bill Gates, this dictionary does double or triple duty as reference book, browser's delight, and educator. Furthermore, it weighs well under ten pounds. It has the advantage over more massive dictionaries and encyclopaedias of philosophy that it's written by one person, so instead of the usual necessarily anonymous voice-from-the-mountain we get a personality, one with a sly wit. Rather than an all too reliable narrator, a bit of a trickster, one who likes to take us by surprise. Some examples: Under 'punishment': A thought more popular among judges than among philosophers is that punishment simply expresses society's revulsion at some kind of behaviour, and needs no other defence. The difficulty is that judges are often revolted by too many things, such as long hair, youth and poverty. Under 'nothing': The difference between existentialists and analytical philosophers on the point is that whereas the former are afraid of Nothing, the latter think that there is nothing to be afraid of. Under 'Pascal's wager': The ancient and popular (or vulgar) view that belief in God is the 'best bet'... The book is very thoroughly cross-referenced, so that after a few minutes with it you feel you've already started an education.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 23 April 2006
An essential book for any student studying philosophy at AS or A2, or anyone interested in philosophy. Clear and precise definitions which are particularly useful for improving the accuracy of my work, or for general revision. The book is thoroughly cross-referenced and I would definitely recommend it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read in Moderation 29 Dec 2005
Certainly it is an informative and witty book, but its very size means that sometimes important details are over-looked. If you buy it, it by not be a bad investment also to purchase Honderich's 'Oxford Companion to Philosophy;' the two complement each other nicely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Portable instant guide to philosophical terms 1 Oct 2009
I already have a lot of help from this book. It's size makes it easy to take with you.
In terms of useability it is very easy to quickly find the right explanations and references for further info on your search.
As a dictionary should be, it is easy in use and gives you sufficient explanation on your searchterms.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 'dictionary' without definitions. 3 Jan 2011
I believe I have the 2005 'Second Edition' of this book with the statement "New Edition" posted on it. Hopefully the newer versions have been improved and not just reprinted. I am academically studying philosophy (which is seen as a bit of a joke I know) and need to be able to reference the philosophically based definitions of terms before I can do anything with them. So I was advised to get a dictionary of philosophy to provide very importantly the *accurate* definitions I need (if you cite a term in an exam without saying accurately what it means you can get no or fewer marks), one focused in the area of philosophy as most dictionaries leave out more obscure philosophical terms or do not provide a broad enough definition.

The book only gets two stars because it occasionally provides useful information and has a chronology at the back. Why so low? Because as a dictionary it VERY frequently entirely fails to define its terms, which is supposedly the point of being called a dictionary, or more often than not provides only a partial definition or one that lacks key information.

For example in defining *chance* the 'definition' provided states "Chance is frequently regarded as unreal, a mere reflection of human existence, due to be eroded by the onset of deterministic science." It then proceeds to continue these ramblings and even mentions that it has implications in quantum mechanics without ever defining what in fact is meant by the term. When defining *anguish* we are given, quoted in its entirety, "In the philosophy of Sartre, an inescapable sense of deep and total responsibility for one's own choice and action". No where is it so much as implied that it is so much as a negative emotion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It meets my expectations: 8 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It serves as a valuable research tool for my work and studies, as Philosophy has always been one of my preferable subjects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it 4 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very impressed by the excellent condition of the book and the great price. It was delivered within 4 days, right to my doorstep and I will definitely use your site again. It is a beautiful addition to my evergrowing library of philosophy books and was indispensable during my end of year exams.
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