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Essays and reviews, 1959-2002 - download pdf or read online

By Bernard Williams, Michael Wood

ISBN-10: 0691159858

ISBN-13: 9780691159850

ISBN-10: 0691168601

ISBN-13: 9780691168609

Bernard Williams was once some of the most very important philosophers of the earlier fifty years, yet he was once additionally a unusual critic and essayist with a sublime kind and an extraordinary skill to speak complicated rules to a large public. this can be the 1st selection of Williams's renowned essays and reports. Williams writes a couple of large variety of topics, from philosophy to technological know-how, the arts, economics, feminism, and pornography.

Included are experiences of significant books corresponding to John Rawls's Theory of Justice, Richard Rorty's outcomes of Pragmatism, and Martha Nussbaum's Therapy of Desire. yet lots of those essays expand past philosophy, offering an highbrow travel in the course of the earlier part century, from C. S. Lewis to Noam Chomsky. irrespective of the topic, readers see a first class brain grappling with landmark books in "real time," sooner than severe consensus had shaped and ossified.

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The celebrated conflicts were more than a campaign in the struggle for freedom of thought; they concerned the nature of scientific inquiry itself. They raised, in particular, two vital issues. First, what is the relation of scientific inquiry to traditional authority? To this question the century returned a fairly unambiguous answer. Second, what is the relation of scientific inquiry to the common understanding, to the methods of thought of the ordinary inexpert man? To this question it returned a variety of answers, mostly ambiguous and none entirely satisfactory.

And all those hairy old toughs of centurions in Tacitus, clinging to one another and begging for last kisses when the legion was broken up—­all pansies? ’ These outbreaks of padre talk make for painful reading. The odd thing about the book, however, is that this is obviously not a padre talking. Now and again, a deeper insight and a freer sensibility are allowed to emerge.  . ’ In this book Lewis is rather like a porpoise; we see its jolly sportings on the surface, and when it goes deeper it disappears from view, but we know that it does have a submarine life.

It is that in the first part of the century the men in the front of the new advance tended fantastically to under-estimate the size of the scientific task before them, and were able to believe that in outline at least the shape of all scientific explanations might be discovered by one man of genius, or a few, in their own lifetimes. Granted this, it is not surprising that they should have not carried very far any belief which they had, that science was really only the methodical application of the good sense which was latent in the common understanding.

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Essays and reviews, 1959-2002 by Bernard Williams, Michael Wood


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