Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 'dictionary' without definitions., 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Quick Reference) (Paperback)
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. The Collins English Dictionary defines anguish as "extreme pain or misery; mental or physical torture; agony". Thank you Collin.

The book does to a very good job of making entire entries around the statement "the problem is..." without ever defining, or referring to its relation to the term but instead digresses onto various tangents. Which, I confess, is the most philosophical thing about the book. For example with reference to its treatment of defining *free will* its definition begins with "The problem is to reconcile our everyday consciousness of ourselves as agents, with the best view of what science tells us that we are. Determinism is one part of the problem, it may be defined as the doctrine that every event has a cause". Fantastic, it managed to define a term there, but not the one in question!

I know the whole idea of a 'dictionary of philosophy' is a bit ironic and slightly contradictory, but if you are going to create one at least make an attempt to do it properly and do what the cover says. If you are looking for a book with actual useful definitions, this 'dictionary' is severely lacking. I am surprised and disappointed with Oxford University Press, given this is an Oxford dictionary you would expect it to be more accurate and academically useful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Aug 2011 17:00:52 BDT
Corinthian says:
In an exam, you won't get many marks for paraphrasing anyway; you are supposed to be demonstrating that you understand a theory or definition, not merely proving that you have a good memory.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›