Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Indexes

Michael Dummett, in his preface to the first edition of Frege: Philosophy of Language, says:

"I am always disappointed when a book lacks a preface: it is like arriving at someone's house for dinner, and being conducted straight into the dining room" (ix).

I agree, but I am also disappointed when a book lacks a good index: it's like having an enjoyable dinner with friends but then not being able to remember all the witty anecdotes.

The best example of an index entry I am aware of is the entry for "Hegel" in Terry Pinkard's Hegel: A Biography, which itself can function as a kind of super-abbreviated biography. I've reproduced a slightly abridged version of the "Hegel" entry below:

2 comments:

e. fiction said...

Holy shit, that's awsome. If anyone ever writes my biography, the index would certainly include:

napping on sofa, 18-349

Michael Kremer said...

Nat: Of course, the first edition of Dummett's Frege: Philosophy of Language notoriously had a terrible index.