Book reviews: Philosophy East & West

As I was answering a question at the Daily Nous blog about book reviews, it struck me that a quick announcement here encouraging potential reviewers (and authors) to be in touch with me might be a good idea.

I’ve taken over the South Asian Philosophy book review editor position from Matt Dasti (since last year), and I am always looking for reviewers. Below is a summary of our book review process, as well as a list of books for which I’m currently seeking reviewers. If you are interested in reviewing, please email me at, along with a CV and brief explanation as to why you’re a suitable reviewer. If you have a new/forthcoming book, email me after confirming it fits the journal’s scope.

Bloomsbury Academic2020Chinese and Indian Ways of Thinking in Early Modern European Philosophy: The Reception and the ExclusionAmbrogio, Selusi
Oxford Univ Press2020Seeing Clearly: A Buddhist Guide to LifeBommarito, Nicholas
Columbia Univ Press2021Philosophy’s Big QuestionsEmmanuel, Stephen M.
Columbia Univ Press2021Other LivesKachu, Sonam
Austrian Academy of Sciences Press2021Meaning and Non-existence: Kumārila’s Refutation of Dignāga’s Theory of ExclusionKataoka, Kei and Taber, John
Routledge Press2021Pyrrhonian Buddhism: A Philosophical ReconstructionKuzminski, Adrian
Hackett2021God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from the Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion Phillips, Stephen and Dasti, Matt and Guha, Nirmalya
SUNY Press2020Buddhist Literature as Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy as LiteratureStepien, Rafael
Oxford Univ Press2021A Time of Novelty: Logic, Emotion, and Intellectual Life in Early Modern India, 1500-1700 C.E.Wright, Samuel

Book Reviews in Philosophy East & West

PEW publishes book reviews as an online supplement with the print edition. They are typically 2,000 words long, though, depending on the book, this can be flexible, in consultation with the book review editor. For important books which merit a roundtable, in consultation with the book review editor and journal editor, we can extend the review length and invite replies. Below is a summary of the book review process, from initial commission to publication.

Initial Commission

The book review editor solicits a reviewer for the book based on appropriate areas of expertise. In consultation with the reviewer, they set a submission deadline and target length.

Book Copies

The publisher will, at the book review editor’s request, send review copies to the reviewer. These may be print or e-book copies, depending on reviewer preference and publisher availability. Increasingly, publishers prefer to send e-book versions rather than hard copies.

Review Writing

The structure of the review itself is at the discretion of the reviewer. However, excellent book reviews typically include a synopsis for the reader, brief discussion of the philosophical and scholarly conversation that the book is intervening in, along with evaluative comments. Unless a longer, thesis-driven review has been agreed-upon with the editors, book reviews should not present the reviewer’s own position about a topic, but limit themselves to evaluating the book’s merits and demerits with respect to the aims that it sets out.

  1. A chastening administers discipline over anything from flaws in book structure to diacritical errors.
  2. A review-splaining solely demonstrates the reviewer’s own intellectual superiority and above-average intelligence.
  3. A revised proposal describes in overwhelming detail the book on the subject which the reviewer would have written, if they were given the chance.
  4. An homage skips over discussion of the book; it just gushes over the enjoyment of reading it.
  5. A good review succinctly represents the book, independent of evaluation. It also offers a point of view to engage with the book critically.[1]

Manuscript Guidelines

All articles and features are printed in English. If a contribution is written in another language, the original and an English translation are requested. If a contribution is submitted by an author for which English is not a native language, the manuscript must be edited by a native speaker before submission.

The system of transliteration of foreign terms and names should be consistent within each article and should conform to generally accepted practice.

Manuscripts should be prepared according to the specifications of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all quotations and for supplying complete references. All copy, including block quotations, end notes, and reference lists, must be double-spaced, and in Times New Roman font. All footnotes must be converted to endnotes.

More details about manuscript preparation:

Submission to Book Review Editor and Revisions

Once the review is complete, it should be sent to your book review editor as a Word document for editing and review, accompanied by a PDF (to ensure no diacritical or Asian language errors are introduced). The editor will review the submission for content and style. They will return it to you with suggested changes. At any point in the process, the editor may reject the review for not meeting PEW standards.

After incorporating revisions, send the revised document to the editor, who will vet it again. Once editor and reviewer are satisfied, the review will then go to Editorial for preparation.

Submission to Editorial

When the book review is in final form, the reviewer should send it, along with a headshot of the author in high resolution, in a *.jpg format, to, cc-ing the book review editor. Send the review in PDF and Word format to ensure no errors are introduced in diacritics or Asian languages.

[1] Adapted from Roger Shiner/ Philosophy in Review’s adaptation of Susan Swan, “Nine ways of looking at a critic,” Toronto Globe and Mail 30th November 1996. E23.

About Malcolm Keating

Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Humanities Division at Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

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