LETTER: Sins of omission

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The Independent Online
From Professor Ted Honderich

Sir: Ray Monk, having got into the habit of skating over things in his biography of Wittgenstein, now leaves things out in his review of The Oxford Companion to Philosophy ("In pursuit of truth", 16 September). In his report of the entry on Craig's Theorem, he leaves out exactly the lines that make the lines he quotes intelligible, and also leaves out the enlightening last bit of a line he does quote.

He makes a little meal of our having forgotten to put in one philosopher, John McTaggart, thereby leaving out the fact that we didn't forget. McTaggart is in the book, right there under "McTaggart". As for Michael Dummett's entries, of which he cannot find a single one, he could look up Gentzen, or Logical Harmony, or Natural Deduction, or Normalisation or Tarot.

I'm a little worried that he says the book is "the most far-reaching and the most authoritative single-volume reference work on philosophy yet published". Has he left something out? By my lights, but not his, he could have added the reason that the book reaches out to the English poets and has incisive and novel entries on their lines about philosophy, unrandomly chosen. He makes some strong points elsewhere in what he says.

Yours sincerely,

Ted Honderich

London, NW3