Essays and reviews, 1959-2002 by Bernard Williams, Michael Wood

By Bernard Williams, Michael Wood

Bernard Williams was once the most very important philosophers of the prior fifty years, yet he used to be additionally a extraordinary critic and essayist with a chic kind and an extraordinary skill to speak complicated principles to a large public. this is often the 1st selection of Williams's well known essays and studies. Williams writes a few vast diversity of topics, from philosophy to technological know-how, the arts, economics, feminism, and pornography.

Included are experiences of significant books comparable to John Rawls's Theory of Justice, Richard Rorty's results of Pragmatism, and Martha Nussbaum's Therapy of Desire. yet a lot of those essays expand past philosophy, offering an highbrow journey throughout the prior part century, from C. S. Lewis to Noam Chomsky. irrespective of the topic, readers see a first class brain grappling with landmark books in "real time," sooner than serious consensus had shaped and ossified.

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One would have to be very uncharitable to hold such individual idiocies against the Church as a whole. But they do not help it, and steps should be taken to see that no clergyman goes out to represent the Church without a deeper and sounder moral theology. This merely reverts to the 20 | Essays and Reviews training question. There are at least two points, however, on which I have the impression that the Church as a whole needs deeper thought about its moral theology. One concerns the relation between such things in this life as the improvement of living conditions, and the hope of eternal salvation which is said to be the end of the Christian life.

For Hampshire, human action seems to be radically distinct from any other animal behaviour. Now this is in a sense true, in so far as the human possession of language and self-consciousness (which Hampshire rightly connects together) constitutes an enormous conceptual difference in our views of human and of other animal behaviour. But it does not follow from this that the behaviour of other animals is really mechanical, while ours is not; nor that the interpretation of animal behaviour as purposive consists only in reading into a stimulus-response system a pattern merely analogous to a pattern familiar in human action.

Others go beyond this, only to introduce God as the crudest kind of sanction for morality. F.  . It was unclear whether this curious consideration was supposed to mean that because God exists, one shouldn’t steal, or that because one knows that one shouldn’t steal, one can see that God exists. I got the impression that the chaplain didn’t mind which he meant. One would have to be very uncharitable to hold such individual idiocies against the Church as a whole. But they do not help it, and steps should be taken to see that no clergyman goes out to represent the Church without a deeper and sounder moral theology.

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