From his earliest work on personal identity to his last on the value of truthfulness, the ideas and arguments of Bernard Williams - in the metaphysics of personhood, in the history of philosophy, but especially in ethics and moral psychology - have proved sometimes controversial, often influential, and always worth studying. This book provides a comprehensive account of Williams's many significant contributions to contemporary philosophy. Topics include personal identity, various critiques of moral theory, practical reasoning and moral motivation, truth and objectivity, and the relevance of ancient Greece to modern life. It not only positions Williams among these important philosophical topics, but also with regard to the views of other philosophers, including prominent forerunners such as Hume and Nietzsche and contemporary thinkers such as, Nagel, McDowell, MacIntyre and Taylor. The fragmentary nature of Williams's work is addressed and recurring themes and connections within his work are brought to light.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: "Against the shortsighted" 2. Personal Identity 3. Critique of utilitarianiasm 4. Critique of the morality system 5. Practical reason 6. Truth, objectivity and knowledge 7. The ancient world 8. Conclusion: "a pessimism of strength?" Bibliography Index