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The sense of the past : essays in the history of philosophy /
Bernard Williams ; edited and with an introduction by Myles Burnyeat.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2006.
description
xxii, 393 p.
ISBN
0691124779 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
added author
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2006.
isbn
0691124779 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5705884
 
"Bernard Williams, complete philosophical publications": p. [381]-393.
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"It is difficult to imagine a better collection. The essays on Greek thought and literature, Plato, and Aristotle would make up a distinguished volume in their own right and, together with Williams's essays on Descartes, Hume, Nietzsche, and Collingwood (several of them unpublished until now), they constitute a work I can only describe as an idiosyncratic landmark. What could be more valuable than to see how, in the hands of one of the most important philosophers in recent years, all these philosophers and the questions they ask can illuminate one another?"--Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University "Philosophical activity, when it comes alive, is precious. This brilliant and captivating book is philosophy alive in its history."--Jonathan Lear, The University of Chicago
Flap Copy
"It is difficult to imagine a better collection. The essays on Greek thought and literature, Plato, and Aristotle would make up a distinguished volume in their own right and, together with Williams's essays on Descartes, Hume, Nietzsche, and Collingwood (several of them unpublished until now), they constitute a work I can only describe as an idiosyncratic landmark. What could be more valuable than to see how, in the hands of one of the most important philosophers in recent years, all these philosophers and the questions they ask can illuminate one another?"-- Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University "Philosophical activity, when it comes alive, is precious. This brilliant and captivating book is philosophy alive in its history."-- Jonathan Lear, The University of Chicago
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-03-01:
Levine's third book of poetry (after Debt and Enola Gay) is filled with meditative lyrics that juxtapose different kinds of diction. As the book proceeds, the poems grow rich in their peculiar explorations of memory and the natural world. Here are studies of the past, where "we were boys, boyish, almost girls./ Left alone on the roof, we would have dwindled," and of the present, with its memorable lyrical portraits ("he wore an air of soiled gravity./ Like a man on a child's train"); there is also a dimension "bent by knowledge of the divine/ collecting us at the exit." Levine's poems are made alive not only by the clarity of the remembered detail but also by the music of their abstractions ("Swimming for the cord she/ trailed from the hem of her appearance"). But his work is most interesting when it leans away from musings on grammar toward emotional maturity-a point where he dares a simplicity that truly pierces ("These two women will never meet./ Your mother, my mother. My mother, your bride. My aster, my Philomel, your crone,/ my vocalise). Such moments, attentive in their tenderness, resound with the classical poetry of the English tradition. For all poetry collections.-Ilya Kaminsky, San Diego State Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Bernard Williams' contribution to philosophy is timeless. He has a voice that is both distinctively of our time and a reminder that the past can still be brought alive philosophically. Williams' belief in the importance of history to philosophy is readily apparent in this collection. If for no other reason, readers of philosophy should value this book highly.
"Bernard Williams contribution to philosophy is timeless. He has a voice that is both distinctively of our time and a reminder that the past can still be brought alive philosophically. Williams belief in the importance of history to philosophy is readily apparent in this collection. If for no other reason, readers of philosophy should value this book highly."-- Peter Johnson, European Legacy
"It is pleasing to have many of Williams' previously published meditations on Plato's thought--including those dealing with Plato's construction of intrinsic goodness, the analogy of city and soul in the Republic, and an introduction to the Theaetetus dialogue--gathered together in one place. . . . [T]his book represents an appropriate tribute to a philosopher of rare talents."-- Jonathan Wright, Heythrop Journal
These discussions combine incisive authority and even a touch of technicality with Bernard Williams's characteristically urbane wit. A great intellectual wealth in which philosophy is made to show us how it thinks about philosophy.
"These discussions combine incisive authority and even a touch of technicality with Bernard Williamss characteristically urbane wit. A great intellectual wealth in which philosophy is made to show us how it thinks about philosophy."-- George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement
"The sheer variety of Williams's historical interests and the spontaneity with which he displays them give this collection a sense of vigor and dialectical fun that are characteristic of its author."-- Nicholas White, Ethics
"Williams attempts to make strange what is familiar in our assumptions, and he admirably succeeds in this task. . . . The Sense the of the Past is an excellent contribution to the field, and deserves a wide audience."-- Basil Smith, Review of Metaphysics
Philosophical activity, when it comes alive, is precious. This brilliant and captivating book is philosophy alive in its history.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, March 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This collection of historical essays range from the 6th century BC to the 20th century AD, from Homer to Collingwood by way of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and Nietzsche. This is the history of philosophy written philosophically. Insights into the past counteract blind acceptance of present assumptions.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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. 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 Pastis 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, andPhilosophy as a Humanistic Discipline, selected, edited, and with an introduction by A. W. Moore, make up the trio.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Greek: General
The Legacy of Greek Philosophyp. 3
The Women of Trachis: Fictions, Pessimism, Ethicsp. 49
Understanding Homer: Literature, History and Ideal Anthropologyp. 60
Pagan Justice and Christian Lovep. 71
Introduction to Plato's Theaetetusp. 83
Plato against the Immoralistp. 97
The Analogy of City and Soul in Plato's Republicp. 108
Plato's Construction of Intrinsic Goodnesp. 118
Cratylus' Theory of Names and Its Refutationp. 138
Plato: The Invention of Philosophyp. 148 Aristotle
Acting as the Virtuous Person Actsp. 189
Aristotle on the Good: A Formal Sketchp. 198
Justice as a Virtuep. 207
Hylomorphismp. 218
Descartes' Use of Scepticismp. 231
Introductory Essay on Descartes' Meditationsp. 246
Descartes and the Historiography of Philosophyp. 257
Hume on Religionp. 267
The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and the Ambitions of Ethicsp. 277
Nietzsche's Minimalist Moral Psychologyp. 299
Introduction to The Gay Sciencep. 311
"There are many kinds of eyes"p. 325
Unbearable Sufferingp. 331
An Essay on Collingwoodp. 341
Wittgenstein and Idealismp. 361
Complete Philosophical Publicationsp. 381
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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