BA -- Philosophy

Monistische und antimonistische Weltanschauung: eine Auswahlbibliographie [Monist and Anti-Monist World Views: A Selective Bibliography]. Heiko Weber. Berlin: VWB, Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 2000. 260 p. 24 cm. (Ernst-Haeckel-Haus-Studien, 1). ISBN 3-86135-480-2: EUR 24.00 [02-1-032]

This volume is not an attempt at a comprehensive bibliography on the topic of monism, but rather a selective work on the German monism movement since 1900, marked mainly by the consolidation of the movement into the Deutscher Monistenbund (German Monist Union) in 1906. The 4,000 documents listed are chiefly pre-1933, the bulk of them from periodicals involved in the world view discussion of the early 20th century, whose main protagonist was the zoologist Ernst Haeckel. The editor’s division of the bibliography into monistic and anti-monistic sections results in a skewed perspective, especially when it comes to the newer literature; the latter is given disappointingly short shrift with only 270 titles. This work is too limited in scope and coverage to provide a good introduction to the history of this movement. [fsr/hh]

Biographische Enzyklopädie deutschsprachiger Philosophen [Biographical Encyclopedia of German-Speaking Philosophers]. Ed. Bruno Jahn. München: Saur, 2001. xiv, 718 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-598-11430-3: EUR 110.00 [02-1-033]

This is the first of a series of spin-off volumes from the venerable Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie (DBE), the newest edition of which was completed in 2000 (see RREA 6:39). The articles for the 1,370 German philosophers are taken from the DBE; the long ones verbatim, the short ones rewritten and enhanced with additional bibliographical citations. Though they take up one third of the volume, the four indexes are of limited usefulness: (1) chronology of philosophers, (2) personal names, (3) places, and (4) chronological index of works. This specialty encyclopedia is quite appropriate for libraries with a specialization in philosophy; general academic libraries, which will no doubt already own the DBE itself, will purchase it grudgingly for the added information, which should have been included in the DBE to begin with. [sh/hh]

Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie des 17. Jahrhunderts [Outline of the History of Philosophy: 17th Century]. Founded by Friedrich Ueberweg. Fully rev. ed. Basel: Schwabe. 25 cm. [02-2-270]

Vol. 4. Das heilige römische Reich deutscher Nation [The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation]. Ed. Helmut Holzhey and Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann. 1 vol. in 2. xxiii, 1,509 p. ISBN 3-7965-1035-3: SFr. 290.00

In 1923, the twelfth and final edition of Friedrich Ueberweg’s Grundriss der Philosophie appeared in five volumes. Publication of a completely revised edition, planned for 30 volumes, began in 1983, with the sections on ancient philosophy and on the philosophy of the 17th century. The latter section (unlike the former) is now complete in four double volumes. (The other volumes are: Vol. 1. Allgemeine Themen, iberische Halbinsel, Italien, see IFB 00-1/4-096; vol. 2. Frankreich und Niederlande, see RREO 94-3/4-420; and vol. 3. England.)

Like earlier volumes in the “new Ueberweg,” the tremendously expanded scale of the work allows treatment of a far greater range of figures, not only the major ones, but countless virtual unknowns. Among them are some one would not automatically expect to find in such a work: religious mystics such as Jakob Böhme, polymaths such as Athanasius Kircher, legal theorists such as Pufendorf, natural scientists such as Kepler. Chapter 4, by far the longest, covers the traditional teaching of philosophy at German universities. The second of the two half-volumes, covering northern and eastern Central Europe, offers the most thorough treatment yet in German of regions such as Poland, Scandinavia, Slovakia, and Transylvania.

The work’s geographical organization means that some thinkers are scattered throughout the volumes: Kircher, for example, appears in all four. Volume 4 contains a name index (of persons and institutions). It also offers an index of “philosophical and historically significant concepts, and philosophical tendencies and schools” that covers all four volumes. Unfortunately, readers need to consult the individual volume indexes for people.

Overall, the volume meets its goal, to give “an orientation to individuals and historical trends with special attention to neglected figures, and to provide an unbiased history in accordance with the latest scholarship” (p. xxii). The latter aim is only slightly undercut by the fact that not all the contributions (some of which date back a number of years) were brought fully up-to-date bibliographically. [sh/dss]

Encyclopédie de la franc-maçonnerie [Encyclopedia of Freemasonry]. Ed. Eric Saunier. 2d ed. Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 2001. x, 982 p. ill. 19 cm. (Encyclopédies d’aujourd’hui) (Le livre de poche: La pochotèque). ISBN 2-253-13252-7: EUR 25.76 [02-2-273]

Over the past five years, several encyclopedias of Freemasonry have been published, including two in German (Internationales Freimaurerlexikon, see RREA 6:93; Deutsches Freimaurer-Lexikon, see RREA 6:94) and one in French (Dictionnaire de la franc-maçonnerie, see RREA 7:66). The paperback Encyclopédie, now in its second edition, is less extensive than the Dictionnaire, containing some 620 detailed articles in three categories: (1) countries—although strangely, an article on France is missing; (2) biographies of important freemasons, but lacking the numerous short biographies of the Dictionnaire; and (3) lodges, as well as definitions of freemasonry terms. Neither reference work includes bibliographies at the end of its articles. Both append an international, systematically organized bibliographic section—15 pages in the Encyclopédie and 51 pages in the Dictionnaire. Unfortunately, the latter lacks an analytic index and illustrations, while the Encyclopédie offers some 450 mostly colored and good quality pictures. The Dictionnaire should be a library’s first choice, complemented by the Encyclopédie, which thanks to its lower price is also affordable for private libraries. [sh/hsb]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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