Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Continuum Companion to Kant

A new publication is always a pleasure to announce but the arrival of The Continuum Companion to Kant is one that I am particularly pleased with. It is a collection I edited with Dennis Schulting and Nigel Hems. The Companion is intended to function in a different way to many volumes that are called "companions". Generally a work with this title includes a dozen essays by experts on different topics and a brief bibliography. Our companion, by contrast, is quite different. The nature of the difference can be seen by looking at how our companion is structured.

It opens with an introduction that orients the reader with regard to key topics, giving indicators of major trends in contemporary Kant scholarship. This is followed by a lengthy section on "key works" in which all of Kant's major works are discussed in chronological order with the central themes examined and critically assessed. The section on "key works" is unlike the rest of the volume since it is entirely composed by one person which enables an overview to arise of Kant's works. It is followed by a section on Kant's "contexts" that looks firstly on the philosophical and historical context of Kant's work and secondly at the sources and influences to which he was responding. They are followed by an A-Z list of entries that covers all the major themes and topics of Kant's work from "aesthetic judgment" to "will (choice)". A section devoted to longer essays on the reception and influence of Kant's works covers everything from the immediate responses to Kant's work to surveys of contemporary analytic readings of his ethics. Finally there is a very extensive bibliography that covers English-language secondary sources on all aspects of Kant's philosophy and is perhaps one of the most extensive such bibliographies recently produced.

The price of the volume is not cheap but I think I can truthfully say that any university that aims to cover trends in academic philosophy should include a copy in its library so I hope all readers of this blog will petition any university libraries to which they belong to purchase a copy!

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