The book offers a conception of philosophy as a form of self-enquiry which begins not in reflection, but in silence and meditation, conceived as conditions for the emergence and cessation of contending states of mind which influence perception and action. The philosopher thus becomes a kind of cartographer of a shifting interior landscape. This underlying perspective explains the personal nature of the writing and its mixing of genres. The book draws on both the Greek and Buddhist traditions, recognising that it is time for Western thinkers to acknowledge and respond to an intercultural canon. It aims to integrate ethics and a non-theistic philosophy of religion through the medium of aesthetics, mapping Buddhist 'mindfulness' and the Greek virtues and vices of temperance and licentiousness, continence and incontinence, onto an account of the development of moral sentiments and their relation to practical judgement in the context of oppressive political and social realities.
'Michael McGhee has a distinctive and original voice. His philosophy of religion is personal and lucid, respectful of argument but not narrowly analytical; he pays acute attention to the specific forms that inwardness and spirituality may have.' Onora O'Neill 'This is an original, profound, but extraordinary book.' Theology 'A brave, gripping and illuminating book.' Times Higher Education Supplement 'McGhee's superb and moving achievement is to record for us what it would be to live a conception of philosophy that places 'how we should live' at its centre. That much of it is autobiographical can be no accident. ... I find it difficult to restrain my admiration for this work. Read it, preferably in the company of those who can share with you a sense of the seriousness and the importance of its contents.' Colin Lyas, Philosophical Investigations '... what we have in this book is the story of a profoundly searching Western mind, steeped in European high culture and philosophy and invigorated by a very new conception of Buddhist praxis. This work, rich, dense, though at times elusive, has a pedigree among the eccentrics of Western thought that runs from Augustine through Montaigne and Kierkegaard to Nietzche. For all its quirks, it makes for a provocative and rewarding ruminative reading.' Journal of Applied Philosophy