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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and wide, 6 July 2005
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Hardcover)
I've always been somewhat amused at books with the words 'shorter' or 'brief' in their title that then go on to total hundreds if not thousands of pages. This is one such text. Amounting to 1077 pages of proper text (not including the 26 pages of introductory material), it may seem at first glance that this is not a book that should have the word 'shorter' in its title - however, given a topic as broad and diverse as philosophy, one might alternately think that a mere 1000 pages or so would only begin to address the subject. This text walks the line between depth and breadth, as is explained in the introductory material.
This comes out of a process of distilling the original ten-volume Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1998) into a one-volume Concise Encyclopedia, which included each of the references in the ten-volume set, only in briefer format. This succeeded, according to the editor Edward Craig, in satisfying the need from breadth, but not depth. This Shorter Encyclopedia has only half as many articles as the Concise version, but many are in greater depth - this includes over 100 entries that are in full-text version from the ten-volume parent work. It also includes all 24 Signpost entries, essays set apart in headings in light gray pull-boxes; these give in-depth treatment about key issues, schools and trends in philosophy.
According to Craig, the Shorter Encyclopedia is 'unashamedly "Western" in its emphasis, being designed to suit the needs of undergraduate philosophy students and the courses they are most likely to encounter.' However, particularly with regard to the more substantial Signpost entries, there is a fair amount given to Latin American, Indian, Jewish, African, East-Asian and other philosophical traditions.
Thanks to the availability of the larger, ten-volume work online, there have been continuing updates and revisions, of which this Shorter volume has taken full advantage. Admittedly very few of the entries here are substantially different from those in the previous print edition, but a critical few (such as the entry on the major figure David Hume) have been revised or completely rewritten. More than a dozen previously internet-only entries have been included in this volume as well.
The suggestions for further reading have also been updated from the original ten-volume text, taking advantage of publishing in the last decade.
This is a good volume for reference for those who are students of philosophy - geared toward undergraduates, graduate students will likely also appreciate the ready availability of the entries here. This is a wonderful text for students of theology, ministry or religious studies, who often have some background in philosophy, but not in the same depth as philosophy students proper. Students of history, politics and other humanities and social sciences will also find this a very useful tool. I have found the entries on art, aesthetics and value appreciation to be very useful; 'Aesthetics' is one of the major entries, and 'Painting, Aesthetics of' is one of the new entries for this volume.
Among the list of contributors (which one finds in the introductory material as the list of entries and contributors) one finds a veritable who's who of contemporary philosophical scholarship. This includes the entry on 'Process philosophy' by David Ray Griffin (one of the leading voices in this field) and the entry on 'Simone Weil' by Rowan Williams (current Archbishop of Canterbury).
This is a very useful, very readable, and rather comprehensive one-volume treatment of philosophy, that should have a good shelf-life for students, scholars and others with interest in philosophical disciplines.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Treat yourself with this one..., 29 Sep 2011
S. MOHAMADI (London,SW) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Hardcover)
No philosophy student or anyone interested in philosophy should be without this book. It is a valuable and concise source of information and your companion for yours to come. I have learnt more from this book than many other books combined. Don't be put off by the price as it certainly worth every penny you spent on it. Treat yourself with this one and you would be amazed by the sheer extensive research that was done to produce this gigantic and magnificent treasure. Highly engrossing, informative and remarkable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle edition has a drawback - but there is a workaround, 15 Sep 2010
P. Davies (London, UK) - See all my reviews
Having the thousand or so pages of this excellent book on my Kindle was irresistible. Great for browsing and reference, but without all the weight. I read the first item "A Posteriori" - at the end of the item were four active links to other sections in the book. Excellent! I continued reading - all very good. Then I decided to read the entry on Leibniz. I went to the Table of Contents and went to "List of entries and contributors". Yes - there was an article on Leibniz by Daniel Garber - but no active link. So I did a search on "Leibniz" - 94 pages of results (over 370 references). I tried a couple of them to see if they had a link to Leibniz but they didn't. I then searched on "Wilhelm" - 9 pages of results. Then "Gottfried" - just two pages of results, the Leibniz article being the sixth result. So I got there eventually (and hastily bookmarked it!) but what a pain.

With hindsight, I realised I should have searched on "Garber", the author of the article. Sure enough - just six entries. So until Routledge provide a version with a proper active table of contents, search on the authors of the articles!
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The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Edward Craig (Hardcover - 31 Mar 2005)
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