Customer Review

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable, witty reference and learning tool., 8 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford Paperback Reference) (Paperback)
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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A Customer