Catalogue

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In the beginning was the deed [electronic resource] : realism and moralism in political argument /
Bernard Williams ; selected, edited, and with an introduction by Geoffrey Hawthorn.
imprint
Princeton, NJ ; Woodstock : Princeton University Press, 2008.
description
xx, 174 p.
ISBN
0691134103 (pbk.), 9780691134109 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
added author
imprint
Princeton, NJ ; Woodstock : Princeton University Press, 2008.
isbn
0691134103 (pbk.)
9780691134109 (pbk.)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Originally published: 2005.
catalogue key
8841959
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the late twentieth century. He managed to combine an extraordinary sense for a real philosophical problem with an equally impressive gift for keeping in touch with the deepest issues of human life. Each of the essays here identifies a topic on which one longs to hear Williams's views, articulated with his characteristic combination of humane learning and intellectual rigor."--Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University "Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. His seminal essayThe Idea of Equality, included here, exemplifies this gift. It exploded the conventional wisdom that equality of opportunity is a less demanding political ideal than is substantive equality. This opened the way for John Rawls and his successors to try to establish what genuine equality of opportunity in a just society could mean. In this, as in so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come. Bernard Williams set the questions."--Ian Shapiro, Yale University, author ofThe Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences "All of Bernard Williams's characteristic brilliance and range is on display in these essays, which together form a volume of permanent value for anyone with an interest in contemporary philosophy and its engagement with the social and political world."--Richard Moran, Harvard University
Flap Copy
"Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the late twentieth century. He managed to combine an extraordinary sense for a real philosophical problem with an equally impressive gift for keeping in touch with the deepest issues of human life. Each of the essays here identifies a topic on which one longs to hear Williamss views, articulated with his characteristic combination of humane learning and intellectual rigor."-- Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University "Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. His seminal essay The Idea of Equality , included here, exemplifies this gift. It exploded the conventional wisdom that equality of opportunity is a less demanding political ideal than is substantive equality. This opened the way for John Rawls and his successors to try to establish what genuine equality of opportunity in a just society could mean. In this, as in so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come. Bernard Williams set the questions."-- Ian Shapiro, Yale University, author of The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences "All of Bernard Williams's characteristic brilliance and range is on display in these essays, which together form a volume of permanent value for anyone with an interest in contemporary philosophy and its engagement with the social and political world."-- Richard Moran, Harvard University "Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. In so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come."-- Ian Shapiro, Yale University
Reviews
Review Quotes
A splendid expression of Williams's distinctive outlook, which joined a conviction that moral argument is important in politics with an insistence that we keep our eyes firmly fixed on the real political world. . . . [S]harp, funny and incisive.
A splendid expression of Williams's distinctive outlook, which joined a conviction that moral argument is important in politics with an insistence that we keep our eyes firmly fixed on the real political world. . . . [S]harp, funny and incisive. -- Thomas Nagel "Times Literary Supplement"
"A splendid expression of Williamss distinctive outlook, which joined a conviction that moral argument is important in politics with an insistence that we keep our eyes firmly fixed on the real political world. . . . [S]harp, funny and incisive."-- Thomas Nagel, Times Literary Supplement
A splendid expression of Williams's distinctive outlook, which joined a conviction that moral argument is important in politics with an insistence that we keep our eyes firmly fixed on the real political world. . . . [S]harp, funny and incisive. -- Thomas Nagel, Times Literary Supplement
Characteristically, all of the essays are closely argued, elegantly written, and strongly engaging. The book is a welcome addition to the literatures on the many issues it addresses.
Characteristically, all of the essays are closely argued, elegantly written, and strongly engaging. The book is a welcome addition to the literatures on the many issues it addresses. -- Richard E. Flathman "Perspectives on Politics"
"Characteristically, all of the essays are closely argued, elegantly written, and strongly engaging. The book is a welcome addition to the literatures on the many issues it addresses."-- Richard E. Flathman, Perspectives on Politics
Characteristically, all of the essays are closely argued, elegantly written, and strongly engaging. The book is a welcome addition to the literatures on the many issues it addresses. -- Richard E. Flathman, Perspectives on Politics
In this collection, as in all of his other works, Bernard Williams shows how much more interesting our philosophic reflections on the problems of human life can be when they begin with life's most mundane and unavoidable experiences.
In this collection, as in all of his other works, Bernard Williams shows how much more interesting our philosophic reflections on the problems of human life can be when they begin with life's most mundane and unavoidable experiences. -- Bernard Yack "Ethics"
"In this collection, as in all of his other works, Bernard Williams shows how much more interesting our philosophic reflections on the problems of human life can be when they begin with life's most mundane and unavoidable experiences."-- Bernard Yack, Ethics
In this collection, as in all of his other works, Bernard Williams shows how much more interesting our philosophic reflections on the problems of human life can be when they begin with life's most mundane and unavoidable experiences. -- Bernard Yack, Ethics
This collection of essays is well-written, challenging and highly enjoyable. It has the searching, inquisitive and witty style typical of its author, with scores of ideas and insights briefly alluded to without further development, making for engaging reading.
"This collection of essays is well-written, challenging and highly enjoyable. It has the searching, inquisitive and witty style typical of its author, with scores of ideas and insights briefly alluded to without further development, making for engaging reading."-- Chris Nathan, Oxonian Review
This collection of essays is well-written, challenging and highly enjoyable. It has the searching, inquisitive and witty style typical of its author, with scores of ideas and insights briefly alluded to without further development, making for engaging reading. -- Chris Nathan, Oxonian Review
All of Bernard Williams's characteristic brilliance and range is on display in these essays, which together form a volume of permanent value for anyone with an interest in contemporary philosophy and its engagement with the social and political world.
Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. His seminal essayThe Idea of Equality, included here, exemplifies this gift. It exploded the conventional wisdom that equality of opportunity is a less demanding political ideal than is substantive equality. This opened the way for John Rawls and his successors to try to establish what genuine equality of opportunity in a just society could mean. In this, as in so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come. Bernard Williams set the questions.
Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the late twentieth century. He managed to combine an extraordinary sense for a real philosophical problem with an equally impressive gift for keeping in touch with the deepest issues of human life. Each of the essays here identifies a topic on which one longs to hear Williams's views, articulated with his characteristic combination of humane learning and intellectual rigor.
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
Back Cover Copy
"Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the late twentieth century. He managed to combine an extraordinary sense for a real philosophical problem with an equally impressive gift for keeping in touch with the deepest issues of human life. Each of the essays here identifies a topic on which one longs to hear Williams's views, articulated with his characteristic combination of humane learning and intellectual rigor."--Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University "Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. His seminal essay The Idea of Equality , included here, exemplifies this gift. It exploded the conventional wisdom that equality of opportunity is a less demanding political ideal than is substantive equality. This opened the way for John Rawls and his successors to try to establish what genuine equality of opportunity in a just society could mean. In this, as in so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come. Bernard Williams set the questions."--Ian Shapiro, Yale University, author of The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences "All of Bernard Williams's characteristic brilliance and range is on display in these essays, which together form a volume of permanent value for anyone with an interest in contemporary philosophy and its engagement with the social and political world."--Richard Moran, Harvard University "Bernard Williams saw the moral dimensions of politics more deeply and more clearly than any thinker of his generation. In so many of the subjects treated in this sparkling and captivating volume, the long shadow of his influence will be with us for many years to come."--Ian Shapiro, Yale University
Bowker Data Service Summary
Reflecting philosophically and on his public life, Bernard Williams asks where political thinking should begin, to whom it might be addressed and what it can deliver.
Main Description
Bernard Williams is remembered as one of the most brilliant and original philosophers of the past fifty years. Widely respected as a moral philosopher, Williams began to write about politics in a sustained way in the early 1980s. There followed a stream of articles, lectures, and other major contributions to issues of public concern--all complemented by his many works on ethics, which have important implications for political theory. This new collection of essays, most of them previously unpublished, addresses many of the core subjects of political philosophy: justice, liberty, and equality; the nature and meaning of liberalism; toleration; power and the fear of power; democracy; and the nature of political philosophy itself. A central theme throughout is that political philosophers need to engage more directly with the realities of political life, not simply with the theories of other philosophers. Williams makes this argument in part through a searching examination of where political thinking should originate, to whom it might be addressed, and what it should deliver. Williams had intended to weave these essays into a connected narrative on political philosophy with reflections on his own experience of postwar politics. Sadly he did not live to complete it, but this book brings together many of its components. Geoffrey Hawthorn has arranged the material to resemble as closely as possible Williams's original design and vision. He has provided both an introduction to Williams's political philosophy and a bibliography of his formal and informal writings on politics. Those who know the work of Bernard Williams will find here the familiar hallmarks of his writing--originality, clarity, erudition, and wit. Those who are unfamiliar with, or unconvinced by, a philosophical approach to politics, will find this an engaging introduction. Both will encounter a thoroughly original voice in modern political theory and a searching approach to the shape and direction of liberal political thought in the past thirty-five years.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
Introductionp. xi
Realism and Moralism in Political Theoryp. 1
In the Beginning Was the Deedp. 18
Pluralism, Community and Left Wittgensteinianismp. 29
Modernity and the Substance of Ethical Lifep. 40
The Liberalism of Fearp. 52
Human Rights and Relativismp. 62
From Freedom to Liberty: The Construction of a Political Valuep. 75
The Idea of Equalityp. 97
Con .icts of Liberty and Equalityp. 115
Toleration, a Political or Moral Question?p. 128
Censorshipp. 139
Humanitarianism and the Right to Intervenep. 145
Truth, Politics, and Self-Deception 154
Writings of Political Interestp. 165
Indexp. 171
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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