BA-96-2 -- Philosophy


Die Philosophie Japans: von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart [The Philosophy of Japan: From the Beginning to the Present]. Peter Pörtner and Jens Heise. Stuttgart: Kröner, 1995. viii, 428 p. 28 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 431). ISBN 3-520-43101-7: DM 42.00

Pörtner and Heise's well-organized introduction to Japanese philosophy follows two earlier German-language treatments of the same subject matter, namely Lydia Brüll's Die japanische Philosophie (2d ed., 1993) and Junko Hamada's Japanische Philosophie nach 1868 (1994). A look at Hamada's work shows clearly the extent to which Pörtner and Heise have limited their material--a necessity for an introductory work. Their coverage spans the beginnings of Japanese history to the present and includes discussion of Japanese religions, which strongly influenced Japanese philosophical thought, and relevant social background. A fault of the book is its lack of balance between general and detailed information, e.g. the use of original language does not contribute to the layperson's understanding of the subject matter, though the additions of an overview in tabular form and an exhaustive bibliography could have compensated for such shortcomings. This work is still a successful introduction to Japanese philosophy. [fm/rm]


Enzyklopädie Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie [Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Scientific Theory]. Ed. Siegfried Blasche with Gereon Wolters and Jürgen Mittelstraß. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler. 25 cm. Vols. 1-2 published by Verlag Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim [et al.]

Vol. 3. P-So. 1995. 866 p. ISBN 3-476-01352-9: DM 248.00, DM 198.00 (until Dec. 31,1996)

The first two volumes of this work appeared in 1980 and 1984; the fourth and final volume is scheduled for publication in 1996. Volume 3, now available, contains approximately 750 articles dealing with subjects and persons in the fields of philosophy and scientific theory. The selection and style of the articles is academic, and the topics covered fall into the areas of formal logic and theory of scientific language, general scientific theory (in the sense of a theory of knowledge), and specialized scientific theories dealing with fundamental questions of individual branches of science. Numerous references to primary literature, individual passages of text and research literature are scattered throughout the text, while references to secondary literature and articles about persons are found in a separate bibliographical section. Despite extensive citations, some relevant literature is overlooked. The work would have benefited from a more rigorous selection of literature and the addition of a general index organized by name and subject, with an integrated listing of references under the individual keywords.

Despite some weaknesses in the selection of entries and the balance of descriptive and bibliographical sections, the encyclopedia is a welcome complement to the Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie (1995) and the Europäische Enzyklopädie zu Philosophie und Wissenschaften (1990), especially in the areas of logic and scientific theory. [jw/rm]


Diccionario de filosofía [Encyclopedia of Philosophy]. José Ferrater Mora. New ed. revised, expanded and updated by Josep-Maria Terricabras. Barcelona: Ariel, 1994. 4 vols. xxiii, 3830 p. 23 cm. (Ariel referencia). ISBN 84-344-0500-8: Ptas. 37,400

Over the years this lexicon has grown from the original first edition in one volume (1941) to the four-volume format of the sixth edition (1979). It was conceived and spearheaded by J. Ferrater Mora (1912-1991) who taught history of philosophy at Bryn Mawr College from 1949-1981. The work contains more than 3,000 entries; some 1,760 are devoted individual philosophers, including Arab philosophers of the Middle Ages. Topical entries analyze the meaning of terms in their scholarly usage and historically, with examples. The treatment of amor, for instance, is broken down by aspect of meaning or particular context, e.g. amor in Christianity, in non-Christian religions, in psychoanalysis, and in different historical periods and literary traditions. The partially annotated bibliography following each entry contains references to primary literature in Spanish and German (and translations into those languages) and to secondary literature (through 1990). Cross references are infrequent, though specific. Detailed instructions for use are provided, and volume 4 contains a chronological listing of names. In short, this is a standard and internationally acclaimed source that has developed and matured with age. [jw/sd]


Metzler-Philosophen-Lexikon: von den Vorsokratikern bis zu den Neuen Philosophen [Metzler Encyclopedia of Philosophers: From the Presocratics to the New Philosophers]. Ed. Bernd Lutz. 2d updated and expanded ed., unabridged special ed. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 1995. 954 p. ill. 21cm. ISBN 3-476-01428-2: DM 39.80

This work focuses on some 320 figures of European philosophy who, over the course of more than two thousand years, have had lasting influence and continue to be cited today. Since the first edition of 1989, twenty, mostly contemporary names have been added to these ranks, and for others the bio-bibliographical information has been updated. The life and work of these figures has been skillfully combined with succinct analysis of their position within historical, academic, and political traditions. It is a book that could be read cover to cover despite its alphabetical arrangement. More than 130 authors have contributed to this work, coming from the fields of philosophy, theology, literature, linguistics, and the social and natural sciences. Primary literature is noted within the text, and the short bibliographical references at the end of each section are supplemented by a final, more complete bibliography and index. The Metzler Philosophen-Lexikon is a success both in concept and presentation, and it is a pleasure to read. [jw/sd]


Metzler-Philosophie-Lexikon: Begriffe und Definitionen [Metzler Dictionary of Philosophy: Terms and Definitions]. Ed. Peter Prechtl and Franz-Peter Burkard. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 1996. xiii, 593 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-476-01257-3: DM 58.00

This work is intended as a first stop for students and non-philosophers and not for experts. Nonetheless, its authors employ philosophical jargon freely and write in a dry, academic style. The desire for precision has resulted in articles that plunge straight into a discussion of the issues without any introductory thematic overview, an approach that is not at all helpful to the novice reader. In addition, the work does not contain entries for specific persons. The reader of the article on Bewußtsein, (consciousness), for example, has to make do with allusions to figures such as Wolff, Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant, who are not accorded their own entries. A name index would have been helpful here. The article on Euthanasie contains no mention of the advocates on either side of the issue nor mention of the relevant literature on the contemporary controversy. The Metzler-Philosophie-Lexikon is on the whole a reliable, though minor work that proceeds from a much too narrow conceptual basis, a handicap which even the combined efforts of many notable authors were unable to overcome. [jw/sd]


Lexikon der Aufklärung: Deutschland und Europa [Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment: Germany and Europe]. Ed. Werner Schneiders. München: Beck, 1995. 462 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-406-39920-7: DM 58.00

The focus of Schneiders' work is specifically German focus and ultimately challenges the view that the French Enlightenment represents the "true" or "prototypical" Enlightenment. His position is that Enlightenment is a constant struggle for true enlightenment and against faulty reasoning and pseudo-forms of enlightenment. Types of hindrances to enlightened, clear thinking include prejudice, superstition, and fanaticism, among others. His goal of bringing objectivity into the Enlightenment debate through a thorough knowledge of the era and its principles is accomplished by means of roughly 250 articles written by some 100 authors who represent the wide array of learning and disciplines from agriculture and music, law and legal history, to literature and economics. Despite the lack of specific entries on persons and important texts, the articles take into account and focus on many different aspects of the Enlightenment, such as geographical terms (China, Braunschweig), epochs (the Classical period, Romanticism), literary styles (fable, underground or secret literature), subjects and specialized areas (mathematics, economics, logic), and subjects such as "work" and "climate theory." Thus the major figures and texts are discussed from a variety of viewpoints and contexts. Specialized vocabulary is kept to a minimum; some references appear at the end of entries, and cross references are used only sparingly. Schneiders' Lexikon is a reliable reference work that may also serve as a reader. The articles are of consistent high quality and are characterized both by excellent style and succinctness. [jw/sd]

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