Ethics & The Limits of Philosophy by Bernard Williams

4 April 2015
Analyzes author’s ideas on radical difference between moral certainty & scientific knowledge.

The purpose of this research is to examine Bernard Williams’s statement that there would be a radical difference between ethics and science even if ethics were objective in the only way in which it intelligibly could be (155). The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which Williams makes this statement, and then to discuss the distinctions he makes between the subjectivity of moral philosophy enterprise and the objective methodology of the hard sciences.

The closest Williams comes to acknowledging the scientific potential of human reason is his assertion of thick concepts, which he says express a union of fact and value (129). The density of such concepts appears to derive from the extremity of emotion and action that is implicit in them. Thus brutality and courage are on the list but not such less vigorous description of value…

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Ethics & The Limits of Philosophy by Bernard Williams. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved December 5, 2019, from
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