Bernard Arthur Owen Williams 1929–2003

Simon Blackburn

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 150 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VI

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264232
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734243 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Bernard Arthur Owen Williams 1929–2003

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Bernard Williams is considered by distinguished contemporaries from many fields as one of the great, inspirational humanists of his time. Aside from his terrifying brilliance, his dazzling speed of mind and extraordinary range of understanding, his zest, and his glittering wit, he was also admired for the deep humanity that had infused his life and work, and the seriousness with which he had tried to transform the role of the moral philosopher. The paradoxical combination of exhilaration and pessimism, of complete facility in the academic exercises of philosophy juxtaposed with an almost tragic sense of the resistance that the human clay offers to theory and analysis, let alone to recipes and panaceas, made Williams a unique, and uniquely admired, figure in his generation.

Keywords: philosopher; biography; obituary

Chapter.  5994 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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