Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002
Bernard Williams was one of the most important philosophers of the last fifty years. He was a careful and thorough thinker, with well-regarded and thoughtful positions on a number of topics, including politics, ethics, and metaphysics. Until now, it might have gone unnoticed that the care and consistency with which he defended his own philosophical positions also went into the many short essays and reviews which he wrote during his career.
The essays in this volume are far reaching: from religion, abortion, feminism, education, and philosophy. These essays were intended for a wide audience, and so while they reflect the care and thorough treatment of a first rate philosophical mind, they are accessible to the non-specialist.
Much more interesting, however, are the reviews. The titles that Williams reviewed read from a who’s who of late 20th century philosophy. His reviews of Rawls’ Theory of Justice and Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia are relevant today, thirty years after they were written. Find also reviews of Sartre, Martha Nussbaum, CS Lewis, Dawkins, Parfit, Dworkin, Rorty, Putnam, and dozens of others. Reading short reviews of these classic philosophical volumes in such a clear, accessible tone is a great pleasure, and the editors of this volume should be congratulated for making them available in this format.
Bernard Williams, Michael Wood
Princeton University Press