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Discovering and Engaging Wagner

Born on this date. It’s worth giving a listen to this curated bunch of podcasts presented under the auspices of the BBC’s “Composer of the Week” series. As the one and only Bernard Williams wrote: “You can have a well-formed, deep relation to Western music while passing Wagner’s works by, finding them boring or not…

Delvaux + Wagner + Williams

1957. Oil on canvas, 270 x 200 cm. Koninklij Museum voor Schone Kunsten A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (3 ed.), John Glaves-Smith and Ian Chilvers Here is a late piece by the one and only Bernard Williams from The New York Review of Books. (It’s easy to imagine the crass approach the regressive…

Williams: Hume on Religion

The vulgar perhaps need a religion: if so, polytheism may well be better, as doing less harm. The sophisticated may well do without one: the trouble is that the religion they may be tempted to embrace may be even worse than the primitive one. Here also, and in some ways parallel, is a distinction that…

Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy

Someone has uploaded a reissue of Bernard Williams’ classic book. [m]y conclusion is that the demands of the modern world on ethical thought are unprecedented, and the ideas of rationality embodied in most contemporary moral philosophy cannot meet them; but some extension of ancient thought, greatly modified, might be able to do so. Wanting philosophy…