978-0-345-43706-8 / 9780345437068

A World of Ideas: The Dictionary of Important Ideas and Thinkers


Publisher:Ballantine Books



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About the book:

Sure, you can throw around words like deconstruction and solipsism in conversation, and pick up what you need to know about them from context, but wouldn't it be great if there were a dictionary of concepts important to thinkers? That's what writer Chris Rohmann thought, so he researched and put together A World of Ideas, with 444 entries covering 333 ideas and 111 individuals who influenced the history of thought. You'll find everything from the ancients to the present day, with a deliberate widening of the scope to include women and non-Western thinkers, though, as Rohmann says, "the ideas that are our cultural currency are still predominantly those of 'western civilization'." Covering science, politics, and philosophy, A World of Ideas has "relativism" next to "relativity," with concise definitions and explorations of their histories and effects on modern thought. It's great to find a volume that acknowledges and even embraces the cross-currents between science and the humanities, and while there's no room for exhaustive detail--only 111 thinkers from all of history!--the superior quality of the entries and the extensive cross-indexing still make this both useful and unique. Whether you're pursuing graduate studies or just want to get the skinny on the "mind/body problem," you'll find your answer somewhere in A World of Ideas. --Rob Lightner

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