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The price of philosophy

AC Grayling finds it difficult to feel enthusiastic about Routledge's over-priced, 10-volume offering on philosophy

Pliny the elder was not the first to compile an encyclopedia-his Historia naturalis was anticipated by Speusippus in Greek and Cato and Varro in Latin. But Pliny held the field for a long time. His compilation was intended to be pure Gradgrind, but too many old wives got their tales in, rendering the work more entertaining than informative.

Since the middle ages scores of encyclopedias have been compiled, so many, indeed, that it is surprising how few of them have had an impact on the history of human intelligence. The celebrated Encyclop?die of Diderot (1751), which began as a translation…

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