I boken 12 Modern Philosophers (Blackwell, 2009) profileras bland andra Bernard Williams (av Cathrine Wilson).
Williams was unmistakenly an analytical philosopher, a mapper of entailment relations, a discoverer or manufacturer of distinctions, an inventor and sometimes a solver of conceptual puzzles. [s. 76]
Det jag främst gillar med Williams är att denna analytiska ådra kombineras med idéhistorisk medvetenhet samt anknytning till reella problem och dilemman.
Mer ur 12 Modern Philosophers:
Williams distinguished between ethics, the study of how to live, involving a sensitive, historically informed, analytical attention to questions of conduct and attitude that he tried to practice, and morality, which he intermittently stigmatized as a Kantian and post-Kantian ”peculiar institution,” organized around the concepts of ineluctable or overridable duties and immunity to luck and tragedy on the part of the truly moral agent. [s. 89]
En av Williams poänger som många filosofer har tagit till sig, skriver Wilson, är följande:
[That] people have personal interests — ”desires for things for oneself, one’s family and friends, including the basic necessities of life, and, in more relaxed circumstances, objects of taste . . . pursuits and interests of an intellectual, cultural or creative character”. The utilitarian project to enhance all lives would have no grounding, were this not the case; at the same time, given those interests, the impersonal utilitarian calculus can only be a philosopher’s artifice that can be worshipped as an idol but that cannot command the deep loyalty of anyone who is not a dangerous fanatic. [s. 92]