I joined the London Institute of Education, fresh from my doctoral studies, in 2001, a year after John White’s retirement as Professor of Philosophy of Education. Fortunately for me, retirement had little impact on John’s involvement in either the intellectual life of the Institute or the fi eld of philosophy of education. Over the last dozen years, John has continued to publish prolifi cally, to make major contributions to meetings, seminars and conferences at the Institute, and to be an unusually active Honorary Vice-President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. He was even persuaded to come out of retirement for a short spell to lead the Institute’s Philosophy Section during an interregnum between the incumbencies of Harry Brighouse and Terry McLaughlin. During this period I have come to know John well, to consider him a touchstone for my philosophical thinking, and to count him as a friend. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to this Festschrift in his honour.