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

Princeton University Press
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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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About the author

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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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 9, 2009
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781400827107
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Social History
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Hailed as “lucid and magisterial” by The Observer, this book is universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject of Western philosophy.

Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago.

Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century.

Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.
I marched with the Eight Army An excerpt from comments made by Winston Churchill at Tripoli on 5 Feb, 1943. I must tell you that your fame, the fame of the desert army, has spread throughout the world. After Tobruk surrendered there were very dark hours, and many people who do not know about us were ready to take a discouraging view. But the events you have achieved have put the British Army on the map and won the admiration of all the troops now engage against the common enemy. When I was in Casablanca with the President of the United States, it was the arrival of the desert army on Tripoli and the Fact that it had come into play as a great new factor the more than anything else influenced the course of our discussions and opened up hopeful prospects for the future. Your are entitled to dwell on this fact with that satisfaction which men can feel in their hearts when great work has been finally done. You have rendered great services to your country and to the common cause. It must have been a tremendous experience, driving them further say after day over this dessert which it has taken me six and a half hours to fly across. And the lines come to me of a hymn which you must know: You nightly pitched your moving tents A days march nearer home. Yes, not only in the geographic sense, but in the sense that what you have done undoubtedly gives goof grounds for the home that the war itself may be shortened and home may come nearer to all than before could have been hoped. I am here to thank you on behalf of His Majestys Government, of the people of the British Isle and of all those people throughout the British Empire and the and the world who have followed your marches and your actions. I do so from the bottom of my heart.
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