Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy

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Overview

In this book Bernard Williams delivers a sustained indictment of moral theory from Kant onward. His goal is nothing less than to reorient ethics toward the individual. He deals with the most thorny questions in contemporary philosophy and offers new ideas about issues such as relativism, objectivity, and the possibility of ethical knowledge.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

Who has not asked—if only when depressed—"How should I live, and how can I find out?" To read this book is to be taken through one of the most sophisticated discussions available of such questions by an engaging, skeptical, often wryly witty and extraordinarily subtle professional.
— Ronald de Sousa

Times Higher Education Supplement

Bernard Williams's book is better read not as an introduction to ethics, but as an attempt to take stock of the present state of the subject. As such, it is a splendid piece of work It illuminatingly maps the various tendencies and the difficulties which they encounter...Such stocktaking is much needed. Bernard Williams is probably the philosopher best placed to undertake it, and he has done it admirably.
— Richard Norman

Times Literary Supplement

Remarkably lively and enjoyable...It is a very rich book, containing excellent descriptions of a variety of moral theories, and innumerable original and often witty observations on topics encountered on the way.
— Philippa Foot

New York Times Book Review - Ronald De Sousa
Who has not asked--if only when depressed--"How should I live, and how can I find out?" To read this book is to be taken through one of the most sophisticated discussions available of such questions by an engaging, skeptical, often wryly witty and extraordinarily subtle professional.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Richard Norman
Bernard Williams's book is better read not as an introduction to ethics, but as an attempt to take stock of the present state of the subject. As such, it is a splendid piece of work It illuminatingly maps the various tendencies and the difficulties which they encounter...Such stocktaking is much needed. Bernard Williams is probably the philosopher best placed to undertake it, and he has done it admirably.
Times Literary Supplement - Philippa Foot
Remarkably lively and enjoyable...It is a very rich book, containing excellent descriptions of a variety of moral theories, and innumerable original and often witty observations on topics encountered on the way.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674268586
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1986
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 624,288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Williams was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford, and Deutsch Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Berkeley.
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Table of Contents

1. Socrates' Question

2. The Archimedean Point

3. Foundations: Well-Being

4. Foundations: Practical Reason

5. Styles of Ethical Theory

6. Theory and Prejudice

7. The Linguistic Turn

8. Knowledge, Science, Convergence

9. Relativism and Reflection

10. Morality, the Peculiar Institution

Postscript

Notes

Index

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