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Masterpieces in World Philosophy. Reference Sources in Philosophy and Psychology – The 100’s LIBR 150 Spring 2007 Dave Van Kleeck. Bibliographic Information:. Authors: Edited by Frank N. Magill; Selections and Introduction by John K. Roth

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masterpieces in world philosophy

Masterpieces in World Philosophy

Reference Sources in Philosophy and Psychology – The 100’s

LIBR 150 Spring 2007

Dave Van Kleeck

bibliographic information
Bibliographic Information:
  • Authors: Edited by Frank N. Magill;

Selections and Introduction by John K. Roth

  • Title: Masterpieces of World Philosophy
  • Publication Location: New York
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Date: 1990
  • MLA Citation: Masterpieces of World Philosophy. Magill, Frank N., Editor. New York: Harper Collins, 1990
  • Discussing work ranging from the late sixth or early fifth century B.C., to work published in the 1970’s, Masterpieces of World Philosophy “explains the historical background of (each) work, the life of its author, and its influence on modern thought”.
  • The work is presented in chronological order and is also indexed by the title of the work and by the author.
who will benefit from this reference work
The book's jacket claims that it is intended for students and general readers. Given the nature of the work and the presentation of the material, it seems likely that this work is best suited for students high school age and above and for the general reader with an interest in the subject.

Additionally, students and general readers of other subjects, like History or Law, could find it useful.

Who will benefit from this reference work?
special features
Special Features:
  • Covering “nearly 100 classics of the world’s greatest philosophers”, it also lists "pertinent literature" and "additional recommended reading" for each work. This greatly enhances the reader’s understanding of each work and can open unexpected avenues of research.
  • Despite its publication date, this reference source appears to remain relatively current. Perhaps more recent analysis of each philosophical work exists now, but that doesn't appear to unduly detract from the value of this particular reference book.
  • The review of the book in the King County Library System catalog states that it is "recommended for those libraries that do not have World Philosophy (the five volume work from which this work was condensed) or for those professors with that rare need to know what Sextus Empiricus said."
  • A lengthy search of the databases at HCC's Library returned only one database with a reference to the work. The database had the same review as the one KCLS used.
  • According the book's jacket, "Dr. Frank N. Magill has been a writer and editor of distinguished reference works for the past forty years. John K. Roth is Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. In 1988 he was named Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.“
complimentary sources
Complimentary Sources
  • A search of HCC's library catalog yielded the following complimentary source. It would compliment Masterpieces of World Philosophy well in that it provides quick reference information for the material covered in Magill's work in a user friendly dictionary format.
  • Iannone, A. Pablo. Dictionary of World Philosophy. London : Routledge, 2001. An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web;
  • This book is best suited to answering questions regarding who wrote a particular philosophical treatise, what were the main ideas espoused, and what other related works one could follow up with.
  • For example, questions like "Who wrote Being and Nothingness?", or "Which philosopher came first, Aristotle or Plato?“, could be answered easily with this reference work.
  • I would characterize this reference source as a useful tool for identifying, presenting the key ideas, and providing perspective for, most of the major philosophical treatises in history.
  • The special features of additional reading suggestions and related literature seem particularly useful for following a particular research subject.
the end

The End

“Skeptical arguments are designed to cure dogmatists of the disease of supposing that knowledge is possible.” – Sextus Empiricus