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Stewart Candlish

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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