To state that you are a philosopher is to risk committing social suicide. When asked one’s profession by a stranger, it is usually a conversation-stopper to affirm that one reads or teaches the subject. The image of the philosopher conjured up in many people’s eyes is that of a dilettante, an exponent of ideas and ideals unrelated to the real facts of life; an occupier of an ivory tower giving unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.