1st Edition

Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy

By Bernard Williams Copyright 2006

    By the time of his death in 2003, Bernard Williams was one of the greatest philosophers of his generation. Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy is not only widely acknowledged to be his most important book, but also hailed a contemporary classic of moral philosophy.

    Presenting a sustained critique of moral theory from Kant onwards, Williams reorients ethical theory towards ‘truth, truthfulness and the meaning of an individual life’. He explores and reflects upon the most difficult problems in contemporary philosophy and identifies new ideas about central issues such as relativism, objectivity and the possibility of ethical knowledge.

    This edition also includes a new commentary on the text by A.W.Moore and a foreword by Jonathan Lear.

    1. Socrates’ Question  2.The Archimedian 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  Postcript  Commentary: Adrian Moore


    Bernard Williams

    'Williams's discussions are much to be valued: his explicitness and argumentative ingenuity focus the issues more sharply, and at greater depth, than any comparable work I know...One of the most interesting contributions of recent years, not only to ethics but to philosophy.' - John McDowell, Mind

    'This is a superior book, glitering with intelligence and style.' - Thomas Nagel, Journal of Philosophy

    'Remarkably lively and enjoyable…It is a very rich book, containing excellent descriptions of a variety of moral theories, and innumerable and often witty observations on topics encountered on the way.' - Times Literary Supplement

    'Bernard Williams has a greater force of thought, deployed over a wider horizon, than anyone else I have ever listened to.' John Dunn - The Times Higher Education Supplement