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Mark P. Jenkins's Bernard Williams (Philosophy Now Series) PDF

By Mark P. Jenkins

ISBN-10: 0773531807

ISBN-13: 9780773531802

From his earliest paintings on own id to his final at the worth of truthfulness, the tips and arguments of Bernard Williams - within the metaphysics of personhood, within the background of philosophy, yet specifically in ethics and ethical psychology - have proved occasionally debatable, usually influential, and constantly worthy learning. This ebook offers a accomplished account of Williams's many major contributions to modern philosophy. themes contain own id, quite a few opinions of ethical idea, functional reasoning and ethical motivation, fact and objectivity, and the relevance of old Greece to trendy lifestyles. It not just positions Williams between those vital philosophical subject matters, but in addition in regards to the perspectives of different philosophers, together with in demand forerunners equivalent to Hume and Nietzsche and modern thinkers resembling, Nagel, McDowell, MacIntyre and Taylor. The fragmentary nature of Williams's paintings is addressed and habitual subject matters and connections inside his paintings are delivered to mild.

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Bring about” (Williams 1973a: 95). But, Williams objects, the doctrine of negative responsibility violates our deeply held conviction that individual, personal agency, that who actually acts or pulls the lever, makes, as Ross might say, a vast difference. Utilitarianism “cuts out . . a consideration involving the idea . . : 99). In an effort to elucidate this connection, Williams introduces two examples, whose protagonists, George and Jim, have become household names in contemporary moral philosophy.

Just who actually does the pulling is largely irrelevant: “As a Utilitarian agent I am just the representative of the satisfaction system who happens to be near certain causal levers at a certain time” (Williams 1981f: 4). And this indifference to the particular circumstances of agency is, Williams feels, closely related to utilitarianism’s doctrine of negative responsibility: “that if I am ever responsible for anything, then I must be just as responsible for things that I allow or fail to prevent, as I am for things that I myself .

109). Williams here has in mind, and means to differentiate between, more classical versions of indirect utilitarianism such as Henry Sidgwick’s and relatively contemporary versions such as R. M. Hare’s (see, for example, Sidgwick 1981; Hare 1952, 1981). Theory and practice now come apart intrapersonally rather than interpersonally, not at a distance, but at a point, in so far as indirect utilitarians “distinguish between the time of theorizing and time of practice, and use Bishop Butler’s notion of the ‘cool hour’ in which the philosophically disposed moralist reflects on his own principles and practice” (Williams 1985: 109).

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

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