Very Short Introductions (series).

Title: Very Short Introductions (series) .
Material type: Book.
Publisher/date: Oxford University Press.
Format: Paperback (Between 130-180 pages.)
Area and topic: General series: Sciences/ Arts, Humanities. Philosophy books: History of philosophy and ideas. Core areas/ branches/ sub-disciplines of philosophy.
Intended audience/ reading level: General/accessible.
Purchasing and information:
Unique and/or salient feature/s: Each book in the ‘Very Short Introductions’ series (those concerned with philosophical matters) surveys a specific philosophical topic/issue/area. As the series title indicates, the aim is to offer a ‘very short’ and tight overview of the subject in question.
Synopsis and/or additional information: The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’) and the text.

  • ‘Each book in the series offers a concise yet cogent introduction to a particular subject. Written by acknowledged experts, most books are between 100–150 pages and contain suggestions for further reading. Authors often present personal viewpoints, but each introduction is intended to be balanced and complete. Veritably ‘short and to the point’, they are absolutely ideal for anyone who needs an authoritative and accessible entry to a new subject.’
  • The series covers a wide and varied range of subject matter outside of philosophy. Examples include: ‘A Very Short Introduction to …The Koran; Psychology; Archaeology; the Tutors, Ghandi, Druids, The blues, Forensic Science … and so forth. The series does however offer and very wide range of topics in philosophy.
  • The philosophy titles are ‘A Very Short Introduction to – Heidegger, Ancient Philosophy, Socrates, Marx, Logic, Descartes, Machiavelli, Hume, Ayer, Nietzsche, Augustine, Continental Philosophy, Freud, Wittgenstein, Indian Philosophy, Rousseau, Hegel, Kant, Philosophy, Barthes, Kierkegaard, Russell, Schopenhauer, Hobbes, Philosophy of Science, Spinoza, Post-Structuralism, Plato, Ethics, Locke, Political Philosophy, Atheism, Pre-Socratic Philosophy, Freewill, Medical Ethics, Consciousness, Foucault, Habermas, Existentialism, The Meaning of Life, Thomas Aquinas, German Philosophy, Logic, Rousseau, Hobbes,.
  • In addition, there are titles that are not strictly philosophy but may well be of philosophical interest: E.g. Modernism, Feminism, Ideology, Human Rights, Buddhist Ethics, Post Modernism, Romanticism … and a host others.
Strengths: The series offers a large and wide variety of philosophy titles with regards to both of subject matter and specific philosophers. The most obvious strength with this series is that the books are short in length yet generally well written and relatively comprehensive for their length. Many of the books in the series are of a level that may be read by high-school students in their final years.
Limitations: Because the books are short and compact, the authors have allowed themselves little room for reflection, exploration, or development of the themes and issues being discussed. The point being that the books do not readily lend themselves to being resources for active philosophical engagement. Put simply, they are ‘definitely not’ text books.

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