About this topic
Summary Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (1929–2003) was an English philosopher, born in Essex, who studied Classics at Oxford and went on to hold academic posts in Oxford, London, Cambridge, Berkeley, and Oxford again. His work covers an unusually wide range. He was known as a sharp critic of the drive towards theory in moral philosophy, and in particular of what he called ‘the morality system’ as exemplified by Kantianism and utilitarianism. Many of his contributions set the agenda for subsequent debates, including his views on personal identity, the truth-directedness of beliefs, ethical consistency, internalism about reasons, the importance of the emotions to morality, thick concepts, how reflection can destroy knowledge, the possibility of an absolute conception of reality, the relativism of distance, toleration, integrity, moral luck, practical necessity, the importance of shame, the tedium of immortality, the idea of equality, political realism, and the liberalism of fear. Williams advocated a conception of philosophy as a humanistic discipline, arguing that philosophy needed to draw on other human sciences in order to achieve what it set out to achieve, which was to make sense of humanity. His own work includes a study of ethical ideas in Homeric Greece and a genealogy of truthfulness. He also wrote about how philosophy could profit from engagement with its own history, and himself offered readings of the Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Sidgwick, Collingwood, and Wittgenstein.
Key works

Williams’ most important books are: Morality (1972), a concise introduction to moral philosophy which doubles as an introduction to Williams’ distinctive take on it, and to which he added a preface in 1993Descartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry (1978), an influential study of Descartes that also includes some of Williams’ most important epistemological writings; Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (1985), the locus classicus of Williams’ ideas in ethics; Shame and Necessity (1993), a book based on the 1989 Sather Lectures that showcases Williams’ abilities as a Classical scholar and examines what we can learn from comparing our modern ethical ideas with those of the ancient Greek world; and Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy (2002), a vindicatory genealogy of truthfulness – and in particular of the twin virtues of truth which Williams labels Accuracy and Sincerity – that also reflects on the genealogical method itself and on the connection of truthfulness to trust, historiography, authenticity, liberal politics, and sense-making. His contribution to Utilitarianism: For and Against (1973) is also among his most influential publications. Many of Williams’ key ideas are only to be found in his articles, however. Three anthologies – Problems of the Self (1973), Moral Luck (1981), and Making Sense of Humanity (1995) – were published during his lifetime. Three more – In the Beginning was the Deed: Realism and Morality in Political Argument (2005), The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy (2006), and Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline (2006) – followed posthumously. The collections On Opera (2006) and Essays and Reviews: 1959–2002 (2014) contain many more occasional pieces that nevertheless also shed light on Williams’ views on such topics as pessimism and why philosophy needs history.

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  1. added 2020-11-02
    Political Obligations in Illiberal Regimes.Zoltán Gábor Szűcs - 2020 - Res Publica 26 (4):541-558.
    The paper is organized around two major, but closely interconnected goals. First, the paper’s principal aim is to offer a normative theory of political obligations that is based on certain insights of philosophical anarchism, theories of associative obligations and political realism. Second, the paper aims to offer a normative theoretical framework to examine political obligations in contemporary non-democratic contexts that does not vindicate non-democratic regimes and that does not exclude political obligations from the terrain of moral normativity. The theory of (...)
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  2. added 2020-10-02
    Guilt Without Perceived Wrongdoing.Michael Zhao - 2020 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (3):285-314.
    According to the received account of guilt in the philosophical literature, one cannot feel guilt unless one takes oneself to have done something morally wrong. But ordinary people feel guilt in many cases in which they do not take themselves to have done anything morally wrong. In this paper, I focus on one kind of guilt without perceived wrongdoing, guilt about being merely causally responsible for a bad state-of-affairs. I go on to present a novel account of guilt that explains (...)
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  3. added 2020-09-19
    Ethics Beyond the Limits. [REVIEW]Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Mind.
    Bernard Williams’ books demand an unusual amount of work from readers. This is particularly true of his 1985 magnum opus, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy—a work so charged with ideas that there seems to be nothing more to say, and yet at the same time so pared-down and tersely argued that there seems to be nothing left to take away. Reflecting on the book five years after its publication, Williams writes that it is centrally concerned with a Nietzschean question: (...)
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  4. added 2020-08-26
    Left Wittgensteinianism.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and political concepts are indispensable yet historically and culturally variable in a way that poses a challenge: how can we reconcile confident commitment to them with awareness of their contingency? In this article, we argue that available responses to this problem—Foundationalism, Ironism, and Right Wittgensteinianism—are unsatisfactory. Instead, we draw on the work of Bernard Williams to tease out and develop a Left Wittgensteinian response. In present-day pluralistic and historically self-conscious societies, mere confidence in our concepts is not enough. For (...)
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  5. added 2020-06-18
    Philosophy as Synchronic History.Daniel Stoljar - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Abstract: Bernard Williams argues that philosophy is in some deep way akin to history. This paper is a novel exploration and defence of the Williams thesis (as I call it)—though in a way anathema to Williams himself. The key idea is to apply a central moral from what is sometimes called ‘the analytic philosophy of history’ of the 1960s to the philosophy of philosophy of today, namely, the separation of explanation and laws. I suggest that an account of causal explanation (...)
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  6. added 2020-05-16
    Rawls and Political Realism: Realistic Utopianism or Judgement in Bad Faith?Alan Thomas - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 16 (3):304-324.
    Political realism criticises the putative abstraction, foundationalism and neglect of the agonistic dimension of political practice in the work of John Rawls. This paper argues that had Rawls not fully specified the implementation of his theory of justice in one particular form of political economy then he would be vulnerable to a realist critique. But he did present such an implementation: a property-owning democracy. An appreciation of Rawls s specificationist method undercuts the realist critique of his conception of justice as (...)
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  7. added 2020-05-14
    The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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  8. added 2020-04-06
    Choosing Values? Williams Contra Nietzsche.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Amplifying Bernard Williams’s critique of the Nietzschean project of a revaluation of values, this paper mounts a critique of the idea that whether values will help us to live can serve as a criterion for choosing which values to live by. I explore why it might not serve as a criterion and highlight a number of further difficulties faced by the Nietzschean project. I then come to Nietzsche’s defence, arguing that if we distinguish valuations from values, there is at least (...)
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  9. added 2020-02-11
    Facing Death: Epicurus and His Critics.R. Kamtekar - 2004 - Philosophical Review 116 (4):650-653.
    James Warren, Facing Death, Epicurus and his Critics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004. Pp. viii, 240. ISBN 0-19-925289-0. $45.00. Reviewed by Thornton Lockwood, Sacred Heart University Word count: 2152 words ------------------------------- To modern ears, the word Epicurean indicates an interest in fine dining. But at least throughout the early modern period up until the 19th century, Epicureanism was known less for its relation to food preparation and more so, if not scandalously so, for its doctrine about the annihilation of the human (...)
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  10. added 2020-02-11
    Making Sense of Humanity and Other Philosophical Essays, 1982-1993.Martha Nussbaum - 1997 - Ethics 107 (3):526-529.
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  11. added 2020-01-17
    The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy. [REVIEW]Jonathan Barnes - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (10):540-545.
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  12. added 2020-01-10
    The (Un)Desirability of Immortality.Felipe Pereira & Travis Timmerman - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (2).
    While most people believe the best possible life they could lead would be an immortal one, so‐called “immortality curmudgeons” disagree. Following Bernard Williams, they argue that, at best, we have no prudential reason to live an immortal life, and at worst, an immortal life would necessarily be bad for creatures like us. In this article, we examine Bernard Williams' seminal argument against the desirability of immortality and the subsequent literature it spawned. We first reconstruct and motivate Williams' somewhat cryptic argument (...)
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  13. added 2019-11-15
    On Opera.Bernard Williams - 2006 - New Haven: Yale University Press.
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  14. added 2019-11-08
    Bernard Williams and Practical Necessity.Matthew Prentice - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 19.
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  15. added 2019-11-08
    Practical Reasoning, the First Person and Impartialism About Reasons.Alan Thomas - unknown
    This paper considers the problem posed for impartialism about reasons by the claim that practical reasoning is essentially first personal. This argument, first put forward by Bernard Williams, has an obscure rationale. Barry Stroud has suggested that in the only sense in which it is true it is misrepresents the issue which is that substituting in a particular identity to a conclusion true of anyone can change the degree of support for a practical conclusion. This paper develops a complementary line (...)
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  16. added 2019-11-08
    Group Knowledge Attributions.Jennifer Lackey - unknown
    A view growing in popularity in the current philosophical literature is that the purpose of knowledge attributions is to identify or flag good informants. Such a thesis has its origin in the work of Bernard Williams and Edward Craig. Williams, for instance, claims that the central point of the concept of knowledge is “to find somebody who is a source of reliable information about something” (1973, p.
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  17. added 2019-11-08
    Towards a "What-If" Class.John Fantuzzo - Spring 2015 - Teaching Ethics 15 (1):83-96.
    This paper contends that the primary aim of teaching ethics to court-involved youth should be the realization of respect. I make this argument by defining what is meant by a practice of respect using Bernard Williams’s "The Idea of Equality." I then couch this understanding in my recent experience leading a moral/political philosophy workshop with court-involved youth in Harlem, New York. Raising the objection that educational opportunity, not the practice of respect, should be the primary aim of teaching court-involved youth, (...)
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  18. added 2019-11-08
    Can the Theory of Games Save Mill's Utilitarianism?John R. Lucas - unknown
    John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism engages our interest and sympathy because it is flawed. It reflects the crisis in Mill’s life, when he lost his faith. He had been brought up by his father in the straitest tenets of utilitarianism, but had had nervous breakdown in early adult life from emotional ill-nourishment. Utilitarianism might work as a guide for the well-governing of India by James Mill and his colleagues, but gave little sustenance to the aspiring spirit of the Romantic Movement. It (...)
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  19. added 2019-11-08
    Lecture One.Robert Pippin - unknown
    Bernard Williams once made the interesting point that both Wittgenstein and Nietzsche were trying to say something about what it might mean for philosophy to come to an end, for a culture to be cured of philosophy. He meant the end of philosophical theory, the idea that unaided human reason could contribute to knowledge about substance, being, our conceptual scheme, the highest values, the meaning of history or the way language works. For both Wittgenstein and Nietzsche there is no good (...)
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  20. added 2019-11-08
    The Aims of Political Philosophy in John Rawls, Bernard Williams, and Richard Rorty.Colin Koopman - manuscript
    What ought a political philosophy seek to achieve? How should political philosophy address itself to its subject matter? What is the relation between political philosophy and other forms of reflective inquiry? In answering these metaphilosophical questions, political philosophy has long been dominated by a roughly utopian self-image. According to this conception, the aim of political philosophy is the rigorous development of theoretical ideals of justice, state, and law. I show that leading political philosophers of the twentieth century, most notably John (...)
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  21. added 2019-11-08
    A Shelter From Luck: The Morality System Reconstructed.Matthieu Queloz - manuscript
    The “morality system,” Bernard Williams writes, is “a deeply rooted and still powerful misconception of life.” It combines, in ways that Williams finds problematic, certain quite special conceptions of value, motivation, obligation, practical necessity, responsibility, voluntariness, blame, and guilt. But why does the morality system combine just these ideas in the way it does? And what exactly is wrong with it? This essay seeks to answer these questions by reconstructing the morality system from the ground up, starting by explaining why (...)
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  22. added 2019-11-08
    Character and Context: What Virtue Theory Can Teach Us About a Prosecutor's Ethical Duty to 'Seek Justice'.Michael Cassidy - manuscript
    A critical issue facing the criminal justice system today is how best to promote ethical behavior by public prosecutors. The legal profession has left much of a prosecutor’s day-to-day activity unregulated, in favor of a general, catch-all admonition to “seek justice.” In this article the author argues that professional norms are truly functional only if those working with a given ethical framework recognize the system’s implicit dependence on character. A code of professional conduct in which this dependence is not recognized (...)
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  23. added 2019-11-08
    Aristotle's Hylomorphism.David Rosenthal - unknown
    In these comments on Bernard Williams's probing and provocative paper, I shall first try to develop a line of response to the pair of problems Williams poses concerning Aristotle's account of soul. I shall then offer some reactions, of a more general sort, to his discussion of hylomorphism (henceforth "HMism"). In particular, I want to suggest that, though HMism is in part a form of inoffensive materialism, it is more than just that. And I want to urge also that HMism (...)
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  24. added 2019-11-08
    Truthfulness Without Truth.Allan Hazlett - manuscript
    What is the relationship between the value of sincerity and the value of truth? You might assume that the value of sincerity and the value of truth (more exactly: true belief) are part of an evaluative package, such that they stand or fall together. In this spirit, Bernard Williams (2002) offers an account of the “virtues of truth,” which include sincerity and accuracy. My goal in this paper is to undermine the assumption that the value of sincerity is tied to (...)
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  25. added 2019-11-08
    How One Becomes What One Is: The Case for a Nietzschean Conception of Character Development.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Perspectives on Character. Oxford University Press.
    Gone are the heady days when Bernard Williams (1993) could get away with saying that “Nietzsche is not a source of philosophical theories” (p. 4). The last two decades have witnessed a flowering of research that aims to interpret, elucidate, and defend Nietzsche’s theories about science, the mind, and morality. This paper is one more blossom in that efflorescence. What I want to argue is that Nietzsche theorized three important and surprising moral psychological insights that have been born out by (...)
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  26. added 2019-11-08
    The EU's Democratic Deficit in a Realist Key: Multilateral Governance, Popular Sovereignty, and Critical Responsiveness.Jan Pieter Beetz & Enzo Rossi - forthcoming - Transnational Legal Theory.
    This paper provides a realist analysis of the EU's legitimacy. We propose a modification of Bernard Williams' theory of legitimacy, which we term critical responsiveness. For Williams, 'Basic Legitimation Demand + Modernity = Liberalism'. Drawing on that model, we make three claims. (i) The right side of the equation is insufficiently sensitive to popular sovereignty; (ii) The left side of the equation is best thought of as a 'legitimation story': a non-moralised normative account of how to shore up belief in (...)
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  27. added 2019-11-08
    Nietzsche’s English Genealogy of Truthfulness.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    This paper aims to increase our understanding of the genealogical method by taking a developmental approach to Nietzsche’s genealogical methodology and reconstructing an early instance of it: Nietzsche’s genealogy of truthfulness in On Truth and Lie. Placing this essay against complementary remarks from his notebooks, I show that Nietzsche’s early use of the genealogical method concerns imagined situations before documented history, aims to reveal practical necessity before contingency, and focuses on vindication before it turns to subversion or problematization. I argue (...)
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  28. added 2019-11-08
    The Indeterminacy of Desire and Practical Reason.Patrick Fleming - forthcoming - In David K. Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Values, Rational Choice, and the Will. Springer: Philosophical Studies Series.
    Bernard Williams has famously argued that all reasons for action are internal reasons.1 The internalist requirement on reasons is that all reasons must be linked to the agent’s subjective motivational state by a sound deliberative route. This argument has been the subject of a great deal of debate. In this paper I wish to draw attention to a much less discussed aspect of Williams’ papers on internalism. Williams believes that there is an essential indeterminacy regarding what an agent has a (...)
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  29. added 2019-11-08
    The Real Value of Equality.Robert Jubb - forthcoming - Journal of Politics.
    This paper investigates how political theorists and philosophers should understand egalitarian political demands in light of the increasingly important realist critique of much of contemporary political theory and philosophy. It suggests, first, that what Martin O'Neill has called non-intrinsic egalitarianism is, in one form at least, a potentially realistic egalitarian political project and second, that realists may be compelled to impose an egalitarian threshold on state claims to legitimacy under certain circumstances. Non-intrinsic egalitarianism can meet realism’s methodological requirements because it (...)
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  30. added 2019-11-08
    Whence the Demand for Ethical Theory?Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a place for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...)
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  31. added 2019-11-08
    Playing Kant at the Court of King Arthur.Robert Jubb - forthcoming - Political Studies.
    This article contrasts the sense in which those whom Bernard Williams called ‘political realists’ and John Rawls are committed to the idea that political philosophy has to be distinctively political. Distinguishing the realist critique of political moralism from debates over ideal and non-ideal theory, it is argued that Rawls is more realist than many realists realise, and that realists can learn more about how to make a distinctively political vision of how our life together should be organised from his theorising, (...)
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  32. added 2019-11-08
    Enquiry and the Value of Knowledge.Barnaby Walker - forthcoming - Philosophy.
    In this paper I challenge the orthodox view of the significance of Platonic value problems. According to this view, such problems are among the central questions of epistemology, and answering them is essential for justifying the status of epistemology as a major branch of philosophical enquiry. I challenge this view by identifying an assumption on which Platonic value problems are based – the value assumption – and considering how this assumption might be resisted. After articulating a line of thought that (...)
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  33. added 2019-11-08
    The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...)
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  34. added 2019-11-08
    From Paradigm-Based Explanation to Pragmatic Genealogy.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):683-714.
    Why would philosophers interested in the points or functions of our conceptual practices bother with genealogical explanations if they can focus directly on paradigmatic examples of the practices we now have?? To answer this question, I compare the method of pragmatic genealogy advocated by Edward Craig, Bernard Williams, and Miranda Fricker—a method whose singular combination of fictionalising and historicising has met with suspicion—with the simpler method of paradigm-based explanation. Fricker herself has recently moved towards paradigm-based explanation, arguing that it is (...)
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  35. added 2019-11-08
    Revealing Social Functions Through Pragmatic Genealogies.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - In Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James & Raphael Van Riel (eds.), Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. London: Routledge. pp. 200-218.
    There is an under-appreciated tradition of genealogical explanation that is centrally concerned with social functions. I shall refer to it as the tradition of pragmatic genealogy. It runs from David Hume (T, 3.2.2) and the early Friedrich Nietzsche (TL) through E. J. Craig (1990, 1993) to Bernard Williams (2002) and Miranda Fricker (2007). These pragmatic genealogists start out with a description of an avowedly fictional “state of nature” and end up ascribing social functions to particular building blocks of our practices (...)
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  36. added 2019-11-08
    How Genealogies Can Affect the Space of Reasons.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2005-2027.
    Can genealogical explanations affect the space of reasons? Those who think so commonly face two objections. The first objection maintains that attempts to derive reasons from claims about the genesis of something commit the genetic fallacy—they conflate genesis and justification. One way for genealogies to side-step this objection is to focus on the functional origins of practices—to show that, given certain facts about us and our environment, certain conceptual practices are rational because apt responses. But this invites a second objection, (...)
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  37. added 2019-11-08
    Tim Henning, From a Rational Point of View: How We Represent Subjective Perspectives in Practical Discourse. [REVIEW]Samuel Asarnow - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):113-118.
    Reasons internalists claim that facts about normative reasons for action are facts about which actions would promote an agent’s goals and values. Reasons internalism is popular, even though paradigmatic versions have moral consequences many find unwelcome. This article reconstructs an influential but understudied argument for reasons internalism, the “if I were you” argument, which is due to Bernard Williams and Kate Manne. I raise an objection to the argument and argue that replying to it requires reasons internalists to accept controversial (...)
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  38. added 2019-11-08
    Accepting Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck. New York: Routledge.
    I argue that certain kinds of luck can partially determine an agent’s praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. To make this view clearer, consider some examples. Two identical agents drive recklessly around a curb, and one but not the other kills a pedestrian. Two identical corrupt judges would freely take a bribe if one were offered. Only one judge is offered a bribe, and so only one judge takes a bribe. Put in terms of these examples, I argue that the killer driver and (...)
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  39. added 2019-11-08
    Value Pluralism and Public Ethics.Derek Edyvane & Demetris Tillyris - 2019 - Theoria 66 (160):1-8.
    ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. -Archilochus quoted in Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, 22The fragment from the Greek poet Archilochus, quoted in Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’, serves as a metaphor for the long-standing contrast and rivalry between two radically different approaches to public ethics, each of which is couched in a radically different vision of the structure of moral value. On the one hand, the way of the hedgehog (...)
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  40. added 2019-11-08
    Racje wewnętrzne i zewnętrzne.Bernard Williams & Tomasz Żuradzki - 2019 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 67 (1):231-246.
    Artykuł, opublikowany po raz pierwszy w 1979 r., jest jednym z najczęściej cytowanych tekstów filozoficznych z drugiej połowy XX wieku. Tekst Bernarda Williamsa zainicjował kilka ważnych debat, toczących się do dziś w etyce i filozofii działania. Zaproponowana przez niego interpretacja pojęcia racji działania jest, z jednej strony, niezwykle wpływowa, ale z drugiej bardzo niejednoznaczna i często krytykowana. Williams broni stanowiska, które z czasem zaczęto określać jako internalizm racji: pewne względy są racjami działania dla danego podmiotu tylko wtedy, gdy mają ścisły (...)
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  41. added 2019-11-08
    Modus Vivendi Beyond the Social Contract: Peace, Justice, and Survival in Realist Political Theory.Thomas Fossen - 2019 - In John Horton, Manon Westphal & Ulrich Willems (eds.), The Political Theory of Modus Vivendi. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 111-127.
    This essay examines the promise of the notion of modus vivendi for realist political theory. I interpret recent theories of modus vivendi as affirming the priority of peace over justice, and explore several ways of making sense of this idea. I proceed to identify two key problems for modus vivendi theory, so conceived. Normatively speaking, it remains unclear how this approach can sustain a realist critique of Rawlsian theorizing about justice while avoiding a Hobbesian endorsement of absolutism. And conceptually, the (...)
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  42. added 2019-11-08
    Value Pluralism Vs Realism in the Political Thought of Bernard Williams.George Crowder - 2019 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):529-550.
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  43. added 2019-11-08
    The Justification of Freedom in John Stuart Mill. Reply to Some Criticism by Martha Nussbaum.David José Blanco Cortina - 2019 - Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (14):35-54.
    This paper aims to check some Nussbaum’s reviews, in Hiding from Humanity, about Mill’s conception of liberty. The analysis frame is given by constant tension between the utilitarian justification and the justification based on per se value of liberty. This article wants to support the following hypothesis: Millean liberty cannot be criticized for reducing its value to instrumental terms. On the contrary, in order to be loyal with Mill, liberty has a double justification: one based on its utilitarianism and another (...)
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  44. added 2019-11-08
    A Truthful Way to Live? Objectivity, Ethics and Psychoanalysis.Michael Lacewing - 2019 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 85:175-193.
    Is there a best way to live? If so, is this a form of ethical life? The answer, I believe, turns on what we can say about the nature and place of the passions – emotions and desires – in our lives, including in particular, our ability to be truthful about our passions and our relations with other people. I approach the question through the work of Bernard Williams. I consider first what it might be for a way of life (...)
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  45. added 2019-11-08
    Agent-Regret and Sporting Glory.Jake Wojtowicz - 2019 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 46 (2):162-176.
    When sporting agents fail through wrongful or faulty behaviour, they should feel guilty; when they fail because of a deficiency in their abilities, they should feel shame. But sometimes we fail without being deficient and without being at fault. I illustrate this with two examples of players, Moacir Barbosa and Roberto Baggio, who failed in World Cup finals and cost their teams the greatest prize in sport. Although both players failed, I suggest that neither was at fault and neither was (...)
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  46. added 2019-11-08
    Towards a Unified Interpretation of Bernard Williams's Philosophical Projects.Pawel Pijas - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):43-74.
    This article proposes an interpretive key to Bernard Williams’s philosophy. It posits the idea that at its core, his philosophy consists in the following interconnected epistemological and metaphysical views: (1) scientific realism, (2) metaphysical naturalism, (3) methodological pluralism, (4) anthropological contingentism and (5) a post-analytical/humanistic understanding of philosophy. These are extracted in the first two sections. The third section provides a demonstration of how this interpretation can be applied vis-à-vis Williams’s critique of morality. The text concludes with some critical remarks (...)
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  47. added 2019-11-08
    Matilal's Metaethics.Nicolas Bommarito & Alex King - 2019 - In Colin Marshall (ed.), Comparative Metaethics: Neglected Perspectives on the Foundations of Morality. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 139-156.
    Bimal Krishna Matilal (1935-1991) was a Harvard-educated Indian philosopher best known for his contributions to logic, but who also wrote on wide variety of topics, including metaethics. Unfortunately, the latter contributions have been overlooked. Engaging with Anglo-American figures such as Gilbert Harman and Bernard Williams, Matilal defends a view he dubs ‘pluralism.’ In defending this view he draws on a wide range of classical Indian sources: the Bhagavad-Gītā, Buddhist thinkers like Nāgārjuna, and classical Jaina concepts. This pluralist position is somewhere (...)
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  48. added 2019-11-08
    Left-Wing Wittgenstein.Bernard Williams - 2019 - Common Knowledge 25 (1-3):321-331.
    Writing in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the moral philosopher Bernard Williams considers the opposing claims of Rawlsian liberalism, with its emphasis on pluralism and procedural fairness, and communitarianism, which instead promotes more or less culturally homogeneous societies formed around shared values. Williams shares the communitarians’ critique of Rawls’s theory as excessively abstract, questioning whether a rational commitment to pluralism as the most just social arrangement can serve as a sufficiently binding social force. He (...)
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  49. added 2019-11-08
    Alterity, Intimacy, and the Cultural Turn in Religious Ethics.Richard B. Miller - 2019 - Journal of Religious Ethics 47 (1):203-216.
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  50. added 2019-11-08
    Evolution and (Aristotelian) Virtue Ethics.John Mizzoni - 2019 - Human Affairs 29 (2):199-206.
    It is well known that virtue ethics has become very popular among moral theorists. Even Aristotelian virtue ethics continues to have defenders. Bernard Williams, though, has claimed that this “neo-Aristotelian enterprise” might “require us tofeign amnesia about natural selection.” This paper looks at some recent work on virtueethics as seen from an evolutionary perspective and explores whether Williams’ evolutionary challenge can be met. Against Williams’ challenge, I argue that “the first and hardest lesson of Darwinism,” as Williams calls it, has (...)
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