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Michael Smith

It has become a rite of passage for foreign correspondents returning home from a stint in China to pen a memoir recounting their experiences. All too often, the story begins with the said reporter crossing into mainland China at Lo Wu, having just spent time enjoying the bright lights of Hong Kong. Clearly, the Lo Wu railway station holds a certain allure for wandering Australian journalists.

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The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy edited by Frank Jackson and Michael Shmith

April 2006, no. 280

Handbooks are not new to philosophy, but the twentieth century’s final decade witnessed the start of a publication flood. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and companions began to appear in unprecedented quantities. It is tempting to attribute this phenomenon to some fin-de-siècle anxiety – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? – but the principal explanatory factor is probably more mundane: in the face of an increasingly unsurveyable range of journal articles, collections and books, there was a correspondingly burgeoning need among students for guidance, and among professionals to share the labour of keeping up.

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