Philosophy in Review/Comptes Rendus Philosophiques


Masthead | Subscribing | Call for Reviewers | Stylesheet for Contributors | Past Issues | UVic Philosophy


Stylesheet for Contributors

The best way to submit your review is electronically, as an e-mail attachment — the easiest format for us is RTF (rich text format), but almost any version of the file is worth a try. Send the message to

If you are unable to send an e-mail attachment, a poor second-best is to send the review within the body of an e-mail message. If you do so, please be sure that the text you are cutting and pasting into the e-mail message does not have any special characters (such as wrapped quotes), as these turn into gibberish in an e-mail message.

If you are unable to send the file electronically, please send a typescript by snailmail, double-spaced with ample margins; accompany this with a diskette of the file.


Five Kinds of Reviewer

(adapted by Roger Shiner from Susan Swan, ‘Nine ways of looking at a critic’, Toronto Globe and Mail 30th November 1996. E23)

1.      The Spankers are out to administer discipline over anything from ill-conceived plot-lines to misplaced commas.

2.      The Young (and Old) Turk sees the review solely as an opportunity to demonstrate her or his own intellectual superiority and above-average intelligence.

3.      The Self-Abusers feel they could have written a better book on the subject, given half the chance, and describe it at great length.

4.      Gushers skip over discussion of the book; they just want to communicate the enjoyment of reading it.

5.      The Good Reviewer will represent the book (without lapsing into long-winded summaries) so the reader gets a sense of what the book is like whether the reviewer likes it or not. The good reviewer will also offer an interesting or revealing point of view from which the book can be perceived critically.

Length and Deadlines

Please keep to the length limit: it is only fair to the other contributors. In any case, if you do not, the review will be returned to you for further editing. Don’t be neurotic, however. 1024 rather than 1000 is irrelevant, but 1204 rather than 1000 matters. There is a little more flexibility with the time deadline; we publish reviews as they come in, so that reviews that come in early will be published more quickly. However, we cannot retain credibility if we publish a lot of out-of-date reviews, and may reject reviews that are significantly late.


Please double-space the heading, using the following format and punctuation:

John Doe Making Sense. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press 1997. Pp. xvi + 227. $44.99 (Cloth: ISBN 0-123-45678-9); $14.99 (Paper: ISBN 0-123-45677-2)

[Note bold face for author, and italics for title.  If you don't have pricing information, please leave space for us to fill it in]

1. With multiple authors, put the names in bold face, and ‘and’ in normal, type.

2. If there are editors(s), abbreviate as ‘ed.’ or ‘eds.’:

e.g., John Doe, ed. or John Doe and Heidegger Jones, eds. Painting the Sky.

3. If you are reviewing a translation, use the format:

Robert Burch Confessions of a Technophobe. Trans. Joe Ubersetzung.

4. If there are both cloth and paper editions, use the following format:

[space for price] (cloth: ISBN 0-123-45678-9); [space for price] (paper: ISBN 0-123-45678-9 ).

5. Spell out ‘U.P.’ etc. in full.

6. Don’t give the province/state where it is well-know or redundant, e.g.:-

Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press ..., but New Sarepta, Alta.: ABC Press.

Use Cambridge, MA: , to distinguish it from the other place.


Don’t indent the first paragraph after the heading, but do indent all subsequent paragraphs.

Put page references inside parentheses as plain figures; put them inside final punctuation; use ‘p.’ only when it is part of the normal grammar of a sentence. So:

Blogg say on p.21 or

                Blogg says (21) ... / ... as Blogg says (21), ...

Please use the reduced form for reference: e.g. 239-67 not 239-267, 235-9 not 235-39; but 112-17 - leave the 1 in for teens.

Always use single quotes; use double quotes only for quotes within quotes.

Normally, when quoting the book reviewed, put closing commas and periods inside any quote-marks. Otherwise, put punctuation outside quote marks, including the case where a page reference follows a quotation. Punctuation always goes outside the titles of parts, sections or chapters.    

So ‘ ... an invalid argument.’ But ‘ ... an invalid argument’ (21).

For omissions in quotes, use space / three adjacent dots / space as in this sheet... .

Put your own name and affiliation in caps & lower-case on the right of the page at the end of the review. Put your Department only if it is not Philosophy: put it in parentheses and underlined after your name and before your affiliation. Non-affiliated persons may put whatever they like.


Avoid indenting quotations as far as possible; even a quote of 6-8 typescript lines can sit happily in the main text.

Do not use footnotes. Any references (which should be kept to a minimum) can be included in parentheses in the main text.

As far a possible refer to the author by unadorned surname (Wisdom, e.g.): if appropriate, abbreviations like ‘W’ are fine. Please don’t use the expression `the author’, unless the context wholly demands it.

Please don’t refer to yourself in the third person: ‘This reviewer thinks ...’ UGH! In fact, consider not referring to yourself at all. ‘It seems to me on the whole that P’ uses up eight more words than ‘P’. Do you really want to use up eight words like that?

And here's a Sample Review

* * * * *

Reviewing, especially reviewing new material, has in some ways more affinities with journalism than with scholarship. A PIR/CRP review is not a deep and thorough Critical Notice, the product of years and seminars of reflection. Write with integrity - and enjoy it.

Masthead | Subscribing | Call for Reviewers | Stylesheet for Contributors | Past Issues | UVic Philosophy

Department of Philosophy, University of Victoria, Canada