Commentary to B. Williams’s French Introduction to "Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy"


  • Paolo Babbiotti University of Turin
  • Nikhil Krishnan University of Cambridge
  • Mathis Marquier Ecole Normale Supérieure-PSL



The English original of Bernard Williams’s Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy was published in 1985. Since its publication, it has provoked a substantial body of philosophical commentary, sympathetic as well as critical. Williams’s introduction to the 1990 French translation of Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy is an unusual text and an illuminating new source for readers of Williams. Refreshingly, it reflects an effort on Williams’s part to establish a connection with a new set of readers. It is also the work of a philosopher relishing the freedoms that come from not having to connect with the old one. Does his introduction itself benefit from a further introduction? We believe that it does, and for the same reason that the book needed some prefatory words before it could be put into the hands of French readers: because the work is not, or no longer, fully self-explanatory.






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