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Bernard Williams: Why Philosophy Needs History

Bernard Williams’ piece originally from the LRB and reprinted in Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002 along with Colin Koopman’s commentary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ‘Lack of a historical sense is the hereditary defect of philosophers . . . So what is needed from now on is historical philosophising, and with it the virtue of modesty.’ Nietzsche wrote this in 1878, but it…

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

Still on Nozick and perhaps somewhat of a companion piece to Williams’ essay On Hating and Despising Philosophy. Though this Nozick essay is very well-known engagement with it tends to be primarily in the service of ideological cherry-pickers or scornful silence from its targets. Originally published in Cato Policy Report January/February 1998 and reprinted with some amendments…

Williams on Wagner & Politics

New York Review of Books November 2, 2000. My point here is not to reinstate the distinction between the work and the man, which I have already said is not a helpful device in Wagner’s case. The point is just that one cannot decide in advance, either positively or negatively, what facts about the man,…

Wittgenstein on Religious Belief

LW’s Lectures on Religious Belief online. Here is a nice discussion entitled ‘Philosophy to the glory of God’. Wittgenstein on God, religion and theology. Speaking of religion David Stern discusses the rather vexed question of Was Wittgenstein a Jew? Worth also checking out these videos. A. J. AyerBernard Williamsdavid sternepistemology of religious beliefGenia SchönbaumsfeldGodJewish IdentityJoost HengstmengelLudwig WittgensteinReligiontheology

Interview with Bernard Williams

This from Cogito, Volume 8, Issue 1, 1994, pp. 3-19 Cogito: Perhaps you could start by telling us something about your own philosophical background. How did you come to study philosophy, and what have been the main influences that have helped to shape your thought? Williams: I started learning philosophy formally at Oxford, where I went, in the…

On Hating and Despising Philosophy

Bernard Williams in the LRB reprinted in Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002. An update, see: The London Review of Books. As long as there has been such a subject as philosophy, there have been people who hated and despised it. I do not want to exaggerate, in a self-pitying or self-dramatising way, the present extent or intensity of this dislike; I…

Bernard Williams

It’s been about 18 months since my last posting on Bernard Williams. Having worked my way through Bryan Magee’s excellent series (Men of Ideas and The Great Philosophers) my original perception that BW was the best performer of both series, remains in tact 25 years on (Searle being the other good performer though I think BW…