This book is the outcome of the author’s long concern with matters of belief: from indoctrination in Catholic theology as a child, to involvement in direct political action in the 1960s, to exposure to formal philosophy in the 2000s. Consequently, perhaps inevitably, the approach taken here is one which Marx would have applauded. In an often quoted (but not often heeded) remark, Marx asserts:

‘Hitherto, philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it.’
The German Ideology

The book is based, partly, on my previous book Postmodern Humanism and on two papers delivered at meetings of Café Philosophique of Newcastle Philosophy Society.

Any writer on philosophical matters must acknowledge their dependency on the work of past writers, whether or not he/she consciously expresses their views. We have all assimilated the ideas (pro or con) and to some extent the language of the canonical philosophical texts. Indeed, it is a theme of this book that philosophy represents the progressive unfurling of the human project. As Hegel put it:

‘The history of the world is none other than the progress of [intellectual] freedom.’
Lectures on the Philosophy of Freedom