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SHORTLY after the war a small group of philosophers and theologians in Oxford began to meet regularly in one another's rooms to discuss whatever questions each felt like raising. There was no set programme and no thought whatever of writing a book. The nearest thing to a manifesto was the choice of a name, 'The Metaphysicals'. This title voiced a common dissatisfaction with the restrictions which tacitly governed philosophical discussion at a time when 'metaphysical' was the rudest word in the philosopher's vocabulary. In an atmosphere thick with inhibitions, we wanted to be free to ask what questions we liked, even if some of them turned out to be 'ultimate questions' of an allegedly unanswerable and, indeed, unaskable sort.