Download Reading Bernard Williams by Daniel Callcut PDF

By Daniel Callcut

When Bernard Williams died in 2003, the days newspaper hailed him ‘as the best ethical thinker of his generation’. This striking choice of especially commissioned new essays on Williams's work is crucial studying for an individual drawn to Williams, ethics and ethical philosophy and philosophy in general.
Reading Bernard Williams examines the outstanding scope of his philosophy from metaphysics and philosophy of brain to ethics, political philosophy and the background of philosophy. a world line up of remarkable members speak about, among others, the next relevant points of Williams's work:

  • Williams's problem to modern ethical philosophy and his criticisms of 'absolute' theories of morality
  • reason and rationality
  • the reliable life
  • the emotions
  • Williams and the phenomenological tradition
  • philosophical and political agency
  • moral and political luck
  • ethical relativism

Contributors : Simon Blackburn; John Cottingham; Frances Ferguson; Joshua Gert; Peter Goldie; Charles Guignon; Sharon Krause; Christopher Kutz; Daniel Markovits; Elijah Millgram; Martha Naussbaum; Carol Rovane

 

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Additional info for Reading Bernard Williams

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L. Hardin, Colour for Philosophers (Indiana: Hackett, 1988). 18 Hilary Putnam, “Reply to Bernard Williams’s Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline”, Philosophy 76, 2001, p. 608. 19 Williams, Ethics and the Limits, p. 139. , p. 140. , pp. 137–8. S. Schiller, Studies in Humanism (London: Macmillan, 1907), p. 459. 23 David Lewis, “New Work for a Theory of Universals”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61, 1983, 343–77. 24 Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics, Vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Chapter 8.

A single evolutionary process, we may grant, led to the rise of species like the sheep and the tiger, and us, but the branch of the ‘tree’ of 26 THE “RADICAL CONTINGENCY OF THE ETHICAL” life to which we humans belong diverged so far ago from that which produced these other mammals that it is incoherent to suppose that we might have been such creatures. Nonetheless, there are concerns that do seem to be raised once we adopt a biologically informed genealogical perspective on our origins. Our human nature came into being, let us grant, as a result of various complex evolutionary pressures, which might, under different circumstances, have produced creatures very similar to us but with slightly different characteristics.

An urbane modern European who regards human sacrifice as inconceivably abhorrent might well have regarded it as quite the done thing had he been born in ancient Mesopotamia or Peru. How disturbed should we be by this apparent contingency in our deepest beliefs and attitudes? This will be the question I shall mostly be concerned with in this chapter. The way we answer that question has crucial implications for the ancient philosophical project of trying to determine how one should live. Bernard Williams was very pessimistic about the viability of that project, at least in anything like its traditional ambitious form; and the eloquent articulation of the grounds for such pessimism – centring on the problem of contingency – was among his most potent philosophical legacies.

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