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Record Type: Review   ID: 999

Dictionary of Philosophy

Bunge, Mario

 This is a deliberately shortened dictionary of philosophy. The author, a well-known philosopher of science at McGill University, accomplished this by omitting many terms that he considers only of topical not basic relevance to philosophy, such as Whitehead’s marvelously fecund term (my description, certainly not Bunge’s), prehension. The entries themselves are brief, primarily because he is only interested in their rational, empirical, scientific value and import. Thus, terms of high interest to me in the study of exceptional human experience, such as hermeneutics, metaphor, and verstehen, are given short shrift because they are subjective, not testable. He claims that some explanations are mini-articles, but I think he overstates the case. Thumbing through, Religion seemed to be the longest entry at a page and a half in a 6 x 9 book. Nonetheless, if someone interested in experience for its own sake wants to know what the attitude toward it of empirical science is, he or she will find many ways of dismissing such terms in this book. It sets the standard as the bottom line of the status quo of modernity. Chaos is included, barely, bereft, of course, of its tantalizing implications and exciting aspects. This is a first-rate tool of depotentiation, and is reviewed here as the opposite side of the one we are attempting to set forth and potentiate.
Publisher Information:Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1999. 316p
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