Comprehensive and authoritative the Dictionary of Philosophy contains over 2,500 entries, including biographies of nearly 500 influential philosophers. The dictionary provides wide-ranging and lively coverage of not only Western philosophical traditions, but also themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy. This clear and easy to use reference also contains in-depth analysis of philosophical terms and concepts, and a chronology of philosophical events stretching from 10,000 BC to the present day.
Almost 3000 entries-many extensively cross-referenced-cover Eastern and Western philosophy (with emphasis on the latter), all the main subdivisions of philosophy, terminology from other disciplines that is significant in philosophical discussion, and major historical figures. Occasionally, information in a definition coupled with its cross references make the term's meaning unnecessarily murky (e.g., compare the "validity"-"follow"-"entailment" sequence to the definition of "validity" in a standard elementary logic text). Some definitions are idiosyncratic (e.g., that of "straw man"), and some omit something necessary for correctness (e.g., the common knowledge condition in defining D. Lewis's "convention"). On the whole, however, the definitions are clear, correct, and useful, and the subjects of biographical entries are generally chosen sensibly. Blackburn covers more than A.R. Lacey in A Dictionary of Philosophy (Routledge, 1990) and a bit more than Antony Flew in A Dictionary of Philosophy (St. Martin's, 1984. 2d ed.), though Flew is somewhat clearer. Since these three dictionaries have different emphases, they complement one another nicely. Recommended for academic libraries.-Robert Hoffman, York Coll., CUNY