I have spent my professional life in philosophy, lecturing and writing for over 30 years at the University of St.Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. I have always tried to make the big issues accessible to students and readers, and my Twelve Theories of Human Nature is now in its 6th edition. I could never confine my interests to academia, however: I have followed my dad’s example in landscape painting, I have played bassoon in an amateur way for 50 years, and for the last 20 I have been a Quaker.
My earliest foray into fiction was an attempt to embody some ethical themes from Plato’s stylish dialogues in a modern setting, and the eventual result was the playscript “From Athens to the North” (no.13 in the book). The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the political background for “A Taste of Terror” (no.10). Scepticism about the afterlife is an obvious motivation for “Good Heavens!” (no.14), but themes about forgiveness, compassion and spiritual life come into “The Theology of Scarecrows” (no.1), “Gate Zero” (no.6), and “A Lift to the Spirit?” (no.7). Some stories are rather bleak – “Nematode Island” (no.8) and “The Wind from the Cairngorms” (no.11), but the rest are, I hope, good fun. I have revised these stories many times, sometimes in the light of comments, trying to get every word right. I hope you will enjoy the result, even if defects remain.