Although Ackermann's approach is philosophical, his arguments are grounded in his personal experience - from encounters with the subtle workings of racism and sexism to active participation in local government. He urges his readers to draw on their experiences to test the validity of his conclusions. In his view, only by breaking down the traditional distinction between private perception and public authority, "subjective" and "objective" knowledge, can the insights of philosophy prove useful in promoting meaningful social change.
In a final chapter, Ackermann stresses the need to combine social theory with political practice. Against the advocates of universal rationalism on the one hand, and the champions of multiculturalism on the other, he makes the case for a genuinely democratic politics of inclusion.