chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

WithSophie Grace Chappell, Marcel van Ackeren

The original publication of Bernard Williams’ Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (ELP) in 1985 was a major philosophical event, as was immediately recognised by other leading philosophers including Thomas Nagel, John McDowell, Philippa Foot and Simon Blackburn. Lorenzo Greco’s contribution, “Humanism and cruelty in Williams”, begins from the point in Williams’ thought at which ethics and politics meet: he inquires further into the interplay between reflection and concern for the fate of human beings by focusing specifically on that meeting point. On the basis of passages mainly from ELP but also from Williams’ political essays and from Truth and Truthfulness, he addresses the question of an ethical justification of politics in relation to Williams’ version of political realism. The collection opens with a Summary of ELP written by Adrian Moore, Bernard Williams’ principal philosophical executor, and one of his most distinguished philosophical successors and critics.