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on 8 September 2001
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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on 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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on 2 March 2013
To get a good insight into a subject, you can't get better than a modern subject oriented dictionary. I have several relating to Science, Astronomy, Chemistry and Biology. In an attempt to make sense of the Science/Religion debate, currently diminishing in the west, into a slanging match, I have read several books on Philosophy and predictably, the more I learn, the more I discover I need to learn. This supreme dictionary, (they are different), provides moderate chunks of relevant detail on all of the old and new ideas that I come across while reading about the various aspects of Philosophy.

I was pleased to see that this book is the work of Simon Blackburn, the author of several other good books I own. If you are interested enough in old and new ideas about the Universe, Life, Existence or Creation as well as the many great thinkers since Socrates, to read this review , then at some stage you will be ready to access the well written descriptions in the book.
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on 1 October 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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on 3 January 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. 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.
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on 4 July 2013
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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on 26 August 2011
I bought this to aid me in my philosophical studies...and it was one of the best buys I have ever made :) I find myself getting lost in its contents, being lead from definition to definition...and will forever use it as a point of reference in my future studies :)
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on 19 March 2013
Great book. An indispensible edition to any home library for those who like big ideas. Arrived in good condition. Very happy..
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on 8 November 2013
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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on 11 November 2014
The best dictionary of Philosophy so far. Covering every important term in Philosophy. but the words could be bigger.
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