John O'Loughlin began writing dialogues in a play-like vein some time in 1976, two of which are included at the beginning of this collection, and soon progressed, via a study of Diderot and other French philosophers, to a more philosophical approach to the genre, which is amply documented in this first volume of a projected two volume 'collected dialogues'. The nineteen or so dialogues included here date from 1976-82 and become increasingly philosophical, in the sense of concerned with metaphysical and kindred issues, including ontology. Indeed, so much so that we have t hesitated to include, as with volume one of the author's 'collected essays', an aphoristic appendix, which properly follows the last seven dialogues, all of which were originally included in a collection entitled 'The Importance of Techlogy to the Transcendental Future; (1981-2). The title of this volume would seem to ackwledge the one-sided nature of many of the 'conversations' which take place in these dialogues, as though in deference to a teacher/pupil relationship biased towards didactic polemic and religious instruction. This is so as early as with 'A Dualistic Integrity' in which the participants, the characters, if you will, are simply described as 'professor' and 'student', and, the basic template once established, it was inevitable that Mr O'Loughlin should simply embellish and refine upon it in due course, even when there is a greater concern with characterization. The results, though fairly predictable, speak eloquently for themselves, insofar as it was on this basis that he gradually evolved towards the aphoristic purism characteristic of his mature philosophy, and accordingly became less relativistic and much more absolutely committed to the quest for metaphysical perfection. Such perfection may t be all that evident here, in this first volume of dialogues, but it was eventually to spring from them, as to some extent evidenced by the appendix.
John O'Loughlin is a London-based author who was born in the Republic of Ireland of an English mother of mixed Irish descent and grew up first in Hampshire and then in Surrey, where he attended a variety of state schools. Most of his adult life has been spent at different addresses in the London Borough of Haringey, north of the River Thames, to which he moved from Surrey in 1974, and all but a few of his books have been written there, the majority of which, like this one, are of an intensely philosophical not to say metaphysical and even ideological character.