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Bernard Williams (Philosophy Now Series) by Mark P. Jenkins

By Mark P. Jenkins

From his earliest paintings on own id to his final at the worth of truthfulness, the information and arguments of Bernard Williams - within the metaphysics of personhood, within the historical past of philosophy, yet specifically in ethics and ethical psychology - have proved occasionally debatable, usually influential, and consistently worthy learning. This e-book presents a accomplished account of Williams's many major contributions to modern philosophy. issues comprise own identification, quite a few opinions of ethical idea, useful reasoning and ethical motivation, fact and objectivity, and the relevance of old Greece to trendy lifestyles. It not just positions Williams between those very important philosophical subject matters, but additionally with reference to the perspectives of alternative philosophers, together with favourite forerunners reminiscent of Hume and Nietzsche and modern thinkers comparable to, Nagel, McDowell, MacIntyre and Taylor. The fragmentary nature of Williams's paintings is addressed and ordinary topics and connections inside of his paintings are dropped at mild.

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Perry, in his aforementioned review, raises an equally intriguing complaint as regards the role that fear of pain plays in Williams’s second experiment. Lamenting a certain vagueness in just what A is led to expect, particularly as far as amnesia goes, Perry memorably suggests that the procedure that seems best to capture Williams’s actual experimental designs in the article is a “brain zap”, whereby “The information in the brain is destroyed”, such that “Efforts to trigger the disposition to remember would be silly, because the dispositions are not there” (Perry 1976: 421).

Conclusion According to Raymond Martin and John Barresi’s helpful introduction to their excellent anthology of contemporary work on the subject, “the evolution of Western theorizing about the self and personal identity can seem to divide neatly into three phases: from Plato to Locke, from Locke to the late 1960s, and from the late 1960s to the present” (Martin & Barresi 2002a: 1). : 1–4). Now, the first thing worth noting, although perhaps obvious enough from the previous two sections, is that Williams explicitly or implicitly resists each of these moves, a resistance that seems to place him squarely in the second, Lockean, phase of history.

Suppose Jim refuses to shoot an Indian. Whether or not his refusal amounts to self-indulgence depends upon whether he had substituted for a thought about what is needed, a thought which focuses disproportionately upon the expression of his own 37 Bernard Williams disposition, and that he derives pleasure from the thought that his disposition will have been expressed – rather than deriving pleasure, as the agent who is not self-indulgent may, from the thought of how things will be if he acts in a certain way, that way being (though he may not think this) the expression of a disposition.

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