Teaching philosophy for more than twenty years at Queen's University, Belfast, Cardinal Daly specialised in metaphysics and ethics, with particular attention to Thomas Aquinas and to those in the thomistic tradition aiming at all times to place thomism in dialogue with contemporary philosophy, both in its British and in its French expressions.
For Cardinal Daly, in the forty years since he left academic life, the most exciting development in philosophy has been the rediscovery of Aquinas in Anglo-American philosophical circles. During his teaching years, the 'leap over the Middle Ages' was taken for granted; everything between the Greeks and Hume was almost universally judged to be of no interest whatever to philosophers, however much it might interest historians or students of religion. Mediaeval or 'scholastic' philosophy was left largely to Catholic Church-related places of learning and to clerics. Happily, this attitude has largely been abandoned. Aquinas is now generally recognised as having made a very important contribution to strictly philosophical debate, particularly in the areas of metaphysics and ethics. Philosophers in secular universities have been paying serious attention to his thought. This new openness to thomistic thought has encouraged him that the time is right to publish this collection of papers in a single volume.
Cardinal Cahal Daly is the former Archbishop of Armagh and the author of Moral Philosophy in Britain: from Bradley to Wittgenstein (1997).