Bernard Williams
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Series: Philosophy Now
Author(s): Mark P. Jenkins  
ISBN: 190268396X
ISBN-13: 9781902683966
Publication Date: 21/07/2006
Pages: 256 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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From his earliest work on personal identity to his last on the value of truthfulness, the ideas and arguments of Bernard Williams (1929–2003) 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 covered 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. The book 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 Parfit, McDowell, Korsgaard and Nussbaum. Despite the fragmentary nature of Williams's work and the resistance of his views to familiar labels, Jenkins reveals the recurring themes and connections within his writings and the philosophical underpinnings to his work.


"The writing is unpretentious, lucid, informed and, where appropriate, engagingly opinionated. The balance between exposition and criticism is nicely judged, so that each stimulates interest in the other, and makes significance of both endeavours plain. Above all, Jenkins admirably communicates the interest and excitement to be derived from reading Williams. The reader will find here what is difficult to locate elsewhere: astute, non-partisan commentary on the rationale for Williams' highly idiosyncratic stances, a clear understanding of why he has long held so significant a place in contemporary philosophy, and generous discussion of those who engaged with him." – Ratio

"Bernard Williams's work is so nuanced, historically informed, subtle and wide-ranging that it takes a particular sort of commentator to follow him into the many territories into which he leads one. I can't imagine a better guide than Mark Jenkins or a better map than this book." – Robert B. Pippin, University of Chicago

"I have never found better accounts of Williams's arguments or more deft treatments of the places where Williams was unclear or uncertain, however suggestive. Jenkins gives us a vastly more systematic and analytically articulated Williams than Williams himself was ready to supply." – Candace Vogler, University of Chicago

"A clear and comprehensive assessment of Bernard Williams's work, which makes interesting connections between the various projects he pursued throughout his career. A very useful introduction to Williams's major writings." – Alan Malachowski, University of East Anglia

Mark P. Jenkins teaches philosophy at the University of Washington, USA.

1. Introduction: "Against the shortsighted"
2. Personal Identity
3. Critique of utilitarianism
4. Critique of the morality system
5. Practical reason
6. Truth, objectivity and knowledge
7. The ancient world
8. Conclusion: "a pessimism of strength?"

Also available in Hardback (1902683951), priced 50.00

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