Professional philosophy news
A Review of Bernard Williams: “Essays and Reviews 1959-2002”
March 11, 2014
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In The Telegraph.
Reading these essays was a wonderful journey back across the years of my own intellectual formation, revisiting the philosophical monuments of our time in the company of their acutest critic. Many of the significant post-war figures are called into the witness box: J L Austin, A J Ayer, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Thomas Nagel, Richard Rorty, Noam Chomsky, Derek Parfit, B F Skinner and many more, there to be cross-examined with consummate skill. Williams’s aim is not to score points, but to discover what these people are saying, why they are saying it and whether we should be saying it too. For readers without a philosophical training some of the essays will be uphill work. But they are never more difficult than the subject requires, and are written with a lightness of touch and a lack of solemnity that are a joy in themselves.