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Christopher A. Riddle

I would not send it to the author before hand for reasons Marcus indicates concerning pressure to change the review.

Unrelated to the question, but George Anastaplo once sent me a hand written note thanking me for reviewing his book. I've since sent thank you notes to everyone who has taken the time to review my books and the response has been incredible.

Benedict Eastaugh

I want to add a slightly different perspective, namely for those who are reviewing books with a large technical component, whether that be logic, probability theory, or whatever it might be.

In such cases I think it's a good idea to send a review to the book's author prior to submitting it. This is partly because there is always the chance, however slight, that one has misunderstood some subtle technical detail and one's comments or criticisms are therefore not correct. It's also because, if there is a mistake of some kind, I think it's good practice to make the author aware of it before it's plastered all of the pages of a journal.

I've reviewed a couple of books, and in both cases I sent a copy of my review to the author before submitting it to the journal. Both of them replied with comments that helped improve my reviews, and neither put any overt or implied pressure on me to alter or remove criticisms. But as I say, my considerations apply specifically to more technical books: it may not be an appropriate practice for all or most books in philosophy.

Filippo Contesi

I think Benedict Eastaugh’s point also applies to less technical areas. The possibility of misunderstandings is present everywhere in philosophy. Indeed, sharing and discussing material with those we criticize are not uncommon practices when it comes to other forms of philosophical writing beyond reviews. In the case of reviews, the risk of misunderstandings is if anything greater since there has been less time for a charitable interpretation of the original work to have developed. Philosophy in the West started in Socratic dialogue, or so the standard story goes, and we should seek dialogue and collaboration even outside of the rigid confines of today’s publication game.


My book has been reviewed a few times, and the authors of the reviews always sent me the reviews beforehand. A couple of times, I was able to catch some misunderstandings/technical errors. Correcting those improved the reviews without changing the main point of the comments. I certainly wouldn't pressure an author to change a review unless it was inaccurate. But I guess this could be a concern.

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