What can--and what can't--philosophy do? What are its ethical risks--and its possible rewards? How does it differ from science? In Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline, Bernard Williams addresses these questions and presents a striking vision of philosophy as fundamentally different from science in its aims and methods even though there is still in philosophy "something that counts as getting it right." Written with his distinctive combination of rigor, imagination, depth, and humanism, the book amply demonstrates why Williams was one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. Spanning his career from his first publication to one of his last lectures, the book's previously unpublished or uncollected essays address metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, as well as the scope and limits of philosophy itself. The essays are unified by Williams's constant concern that philosophy maintain contact with the human problems that animate it in the first place. As the book's editor, A. W. Moore, writes in his introduction, the title essay is "a kind of manifesto for Williams's conception of his own life's work."
It is where he most directly asks "what philosophy can and cannot contribute to the project of making sense of things"--answering that what philosophy can best help make sense of is "being human." Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline is one of three posthumous books by Williams to be published by Princeton University Press. In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument was published in the fall of 2005. The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy is being published shortly after the present volume.
Bernard Williams was Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy, Cambridge University (1967-1979), Monroe Deutsch Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley (1988-2003), and White's Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford University (1990-1996), and was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford until his death in 2003. A. W. Moore is Professor of Philosophy at Oxford and the author of "The Infinite, Points of View," and "Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty".
Preface by Patricia Williams vii Introduction by A.W.Moore xi PART ONE: Metaphysics and Epistemology CHAPTER ONE: Tertullian's Paradox (1955) 3 CHAPTER TWO: Metaphysical Arguments (1957) 22 CHAPTER THREE: Pleasure and Belief (1959) 34 CHAPTER FOUR: Knowledge and Reasons (1972) 47 CHAPTER FIVE: Identity and Identities (1995) 57 PART TWO: Ethics CHAPTER SIX: The Primacy of Dispositions (1987) 67 CHAPTER SEVEN: The Structure of Hare's Theory (1988) 76 CHAPTER EIGHT: Subjectivism and Toleration (1992) 86 CHAPTER NINE: The Actus Reus of Dr.Caligari (1994) 97 CHAPTER TEN: Values, Reasons, and the Theory of Persuasion (1996) 109 CHAPTER ELEVEN: Moral Responsibility and Political Freedom (1997) 119 CHAPTER TWELVE: Tolerating the Intolerable (1999) 126 CHAPTER THIRTEEN: The Human Prejudice (unpublished) 135 PART THREE: The Scope and Limits of Philosophy CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Political Philosophy and the Analytical Tradition (1980) 155 CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Philosophy and the Understanding of Ignorance (1995) 169 CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline (2000) 180 CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: What Might Philosophy Become? (unpublished) 200 Bernard Williams: Complete Philosophical Publications 215