The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy

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Princeton University Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Philosophy - 393 pages
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Before his death in 2003, Bernard Williams planned to publish a collection of historical essays, focusing primarily on the ancient world. This posthumous volume brings together a much wider selection, written over some forty years. His legacy lives on in this masterful work, the first collection ever published of Williams's essays on the history of philosophy. The subjects range from the sixth century B.C. to the twentieth A.D., from Homer to Wittgenstein by way of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Sidgwick, Collingwood, and Nietzsche. Often one would be hard put to say which part is history, which philosophy. Both are involved throughout, because this is the history of philosophy written philosophically. Historical exposition goes hand in hand with philosophical scrutiny. Insights into the past counteract blind acceptance of present assumptions.

In his touching and illuminating introduction, Myles Burnyeat writes of these essays: "They show a depth of commitment to the history of philosophy seldom to be found nowadays in a thinker so prominent on the contemporary philosophical scene."

The result celebrates the interest and importance to philosophy today of its near and distant past.

The Sense of the Past is one of three collections of essays by Bernard Williams published by Princeton University Press since his death. In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument, selected, edited, and with an introduction by Geoffrey Hawthorn, and Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline, selected, edited, and with an introduction by A. W. Moore, make up the trio.

  

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The sense of the past: essays in the history of philosophy

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This posthumous collection edited by Burnyeat (philosophy, All Souls Coll., Oxford; A Map of Metaphysics Zeta ) includes 25 essays by Williams (philosophy, Cambridge, Berkeley, & Oxford;Problems of ... Read full review

Contents

The Legacy of Greek Philosophy
3
The Women of Trachis Fictions Pessimism Ethics
49
Understanding Homer Literature History and Ideal Anthropology
60
Socrates and Plato
69
Pagan Justice and Christian Love
71
Introduction to Platos Theaetetus
83
Plato against the Immoralist
97
The Analogy of City and Soul in Platos Republic
108
Introductory Essay on Descartes Meditations
246
Descartes and the Historiography of Philosophy
257
Hume
265
Hume on Religion
267
Sidgwick
275
The Point of View of the Universe Sidgwick and the Ambitions of Ethics
277
Nietzsche
297
Nietzsches Minimalist Moral Psychology
299

Platos Construction of Intrinsic Goodness
118
Cratylus Theory of Names and Its Refutation
138
Plato The Invention of Philosophy
148
Aristotle
187
Acting as the Virtuous Person Acts
189
Aristotle on the Good A Formal Sketch
198
Justice as a Virtue
207
Hylomorphism
218
Descartes
229
Descartes Use of Scepticism
231
Introduction to The Gay Science
311
There are many kinds of eyes
325
Unbearable Suffering
331
RG Collingwood
339
An Essay on Collingwood
341
Wittgenstein and Idealism
359
Wittgenstein and Idealism
361
Complete Philosophical Publications
381
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About the author (2006)

Bernard Williams was Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge (1967-1979) and Provost of King's College. He held the Monroe Deutsch Professorship of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley (1998-2000) and was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford (1990-2003). He was Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford until his death in 2003. Myles Burnyeat is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, All Souls College, Oxford. His books include "The 'Theaetetus' of Plato" (Hackett, 1990) and "A Map of Metaphysics Zeta" (Mathesis Publications, 2001).

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