Browse by:

Williams on Ethics, Knowledge, and Reflection

This conclusion is disappointing for those who hoped that we could argue somebody into morality. But Williams is adamant that this was always an ill-conceived hope. The very excellent A. W. Moore taking on the devastating brilliance of Bernard Williams. Williams wants to challenge the idea that moral notions are through and through pure . .…

René Descartes

Born on this day. The following extract from Bernard Williams’ brilliant (but dense) Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry. René Descartes was born on 31 March 1596 in a small town near Tours, now called la-Haye-Descartes, where the house of his birth can still be seen. His family belonged to the lesser nobility, his father and…

Some Bernard Williams Quotes

Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire. Utilitarians are often immensely conscientious people, who work for humanity and give up meat for the sake of the animals. They think this is what they morally ought to do and feel guilty if they do not live up to their own standard. They do not, and…

A Mistrustful Animal: An Interview with Bernard Williams

THE HARVARD REVIEW OF PHILOSOPHY vol.XII no.1 I particularly learned from his criticism of dividing philosophy into what he called ‘isms’ and schools of philosophy. He believed there were many philosophical questions and ways of arguing about them, but that attaching labels like ‘physicalism’ or ‘idealism’ to any particular way of answering philosophical questions was…

Orwell on Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon”

That Wendell Berry takes on the campus commissars (and their complicitous willingly martyred cannon-fodder individual manqué bidders) offers some inkling of hope for preserving liberality. But I fear we are just entering the beginnings of a Darkness at Noon moment — the prospect of a total eclipse is immanent. Check out Orwell’s article on Koestler’s Darkness at Noon reprinted…

Nagel reviews the posthumous Williams

Reprinted here in case paywall is reinstated. The View from Here and Now Thomas Nagel The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy by Bernard Williams, edited by Myles Burnyeat Princeton, 393 pp, £26.95, March 2006, ISBN 0 691 12477 9 In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political…

A. E. Housman on Editorship

I’ve always felt that Housman was one of the sharpest and most insightful intellects of his day and certainly beyond, a caste of mind not terribly dissimilar to that other danger man, Bernard Williams. In critical mode reading them is akin to handling razor blades. Below is Housman as scathing classicist. After that is Richard Dawkins reading some…

David Pears

Born on this day — check out the obits along with Pears and Murdoch in discussion on the idea of freedom. When his book Ludwig Wittgenstein was published in 1971, Igor Stravinksy wrote to congratulate Pears on the beauty of his writing, which, wrote Bernard Williams, “combines in a very pure form the more conversational…

Sameness and Substance Renewed

Below is David Wiggins’ Preface from one of my favourite books. A tough read but well worth the effort. Here also is the Table of Contents and Preamble. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When Sameness and Substance (Blackwell, 1980) went out of print, Cambridge University Press agreed to take over the book. They suggested that the Longer Notes be dropped…