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The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford Companions) [Hardcover]

Ted Honderich
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Mar 2005 0199264791 978-0199264797 2
Oxford University Press presents a major new edition of the definitive philosophical reference work for readers at all levels. For ten years the original volume has served as a stimulating introduction for general readers and as an indispensable guide for students; its breadth and depth of coverage have ensured that it is also read with pleasure and interest by those working at a higher level in philosophy and related disciplines. A distinguished international assembly of 249 philosophers contributed almost 2,000 entries, and many of these have now been considerably revised and updated; to these are added over 300 brand-new pieces on a fascinating range of current topics. This new edition offers enlightening and enjoyable discussions of all aspects of philosophy, and of the lives and work of the great philosophers from antiquity to the present day.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1100 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (10 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199264791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199264797
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 17.9 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Magisterial and unrivalled... the new edition remains the definitive reference guide to the world of philosophy. (Library Journal )<br /><br />A reference work of both great value and pleasurable reading. (Booklist )<br /><br />Philosophy students in search of a crisp (or comparatively crisp) summary are certainly spoilt for choice. Lively. (Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Times )<br /><br />that rarest of things: a philosophical work that is genuinely entertaining ... by far the best - and best value - philosophical reference book on the market.' (Observer ) --Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Times

About the Author

Ted Honderich is Emeritus Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London. He was born in Canada and educated in Toronto and London. His major work is A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and Life-Hopes, published by the Clarendon Press in 1988 and subsequently issued in two paperback volumes. He addresses the same subject for a more general readership in How Free are You? (1993). He is also known for his<BR>writings on political philosophy, and for the widely successful philosophy readers which he has edited.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Articulate and deeply informative 26 Jan 2006
I am studying philosophy at University and cannot recommend this book more highly. It is an extraordinarily erudite and lucid exploration of ideas. One of the great successes of the book I believe is that it provides first a brief historic overview and outline of the intellectual contribution of the thinker/or school of thought and then discusses some of the more detailed ideas in relative depth and relates and compares them to both contemporary opinions and more recent developments in analytic philosophy (at least this is what happens in the more extensive entries). Therefore it is equally useful as both a quick reference guide and as a tool for finding out about more specific and detailed dare I say technical components of ideas. One of the great highpoints of the book is the treatment of the philosophy of science; the topic is very clearly explained without the excessive and misleading jargon that dominantes so many books that attempt to explore this subject. Oxford University have, however, thankfully not just restricted themselves to Plato, Kant, Russel and Wittgenstein... they also have covered a huge selection of thinkers from almost every conceivable culture. A number of extracts are dedicated to the exploration of even obscure African and Asian thinkers. I was recently delighted to find that the 19th century philosopher and poet Solovyov is included, having encountered one of his poems by chance I was pleasantly surprised that my faithful Oxford companion could provide a point of reference yet again! At the back of the edition there is also a series of maps of philosophy that explore how different facets of the subject inter-relate to one another. These maps are very useful for people new to the subject. I would recommend this over the Cambridge Dictionnary to philosophy which I also own, although find much less extensive and informative. In conclusion: A great buy!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good resource for both layperson & academic 2 Aug 2007
Speaking as a layperson I found this book gave an extremely wide coverage of recent, & past, philosophy. The varied entries are easy enough for an intelligent layperson to understand, yet they had the depth that would be useful for undergrad philosophy students.

As well as covering the greats, and different branches of philosophy, there was good coverage of contemporary philosophers - something lacking other encyclopaedias/Dictionaries. Also, an eye-opener, was the coverage of some [possibly] curious problems [e.g. death] which, again, are not found in many other works of reference.

In contrast to another recent popular tome [the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy] this book is definitely NOT dry and boring. This is important, as it combats the image of the philosopher as a dull academic with nothing of interest to say about life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! 29 Dec 2005
At once detailed and insightful, this book truly is the best out there as a reference guide for Philosophy. One of its many strengths lies in the recognition that Philosophy is a broad encompassing field of study, and this is made clear by the many contributors from different Academic Institutions and contexts. One complaint might be the disproportionate time and space devoted to some subjects, with others receiving not much more than a passing reference. However, the subjects at the two ends of this spectrum are usually there for good reasons. Its very nature makes sure that there a no real common bias slants, even if the examinations of each topic occasionally stray beyond just description.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reference work. 15 Sep 2010
This volume sits somewhere in-between an introduction to philosophy and a more comprehensive dictionary of philosophy such as Audi's Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Its not as hard going as the latter, whilst providing an often in depth look into many philosophical topics, if not all. Really good!
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