Bernard Williams Quotes

 

There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.

— Bernard Williams

I like the word ‘indolence’. It makes my laziness seem classy.

— Bernard Williams

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

— Bernard Williams

Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire.

— Bernard Williams

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.

— Bernard Williams

We grow a little every time we do not take advantage of somebody’s weakness.

— Bernard Williams

We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.

— Bernard Williams

Books had instant replay long before televised sports.

— Bernard Williams

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.

— Bernard Williams

Women have a favorite room, men a favorite chair.

— Bernard Williams

Few things are as democratic as a snowstorm.

— Bernard Williams

A half-truth is usually less than half of that.

— Bernard Williams

A friend is a lot of things, but a critic isn’t.

— Bernard Williams

An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.

— Bernard Williams

What a strange world this would be if we all had the same sense of humor.

— Bernard Williams

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.

— Bernard Williams

People who say, ‘Let the chips fall where they may,’ usually figure they will not be hit by a chip.

— Bernard Williams

Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.

— Bernard Williams

People who express themselves in paradoxes are in a strong position; and the more outrageous the paradox, in general the stronger the position.

— Bernard Williams

Philosophy is altogether less pure now. It’s been impurified by science and social science and history.

— Bernard Williams

I was interested in philosophy before I knew I was. That’s to say, when I was at school, I used to argue with my friends about issues that turned out to be philosophical ones of some kind.

— Bernard Williams

Virtually the only subject in which one could ever get a scholarship to Oxford or Cambridge was classics. So I went to Oxford to study classics and, unlike Cambridge, it had a philosophy component, and I became completely transported by it.

— Bernard Williams

If there’s one theme in all my work, it’s about authenticity and self-expression. It’s the idea that some things are, in some real sense, really you – or express what you and others aren’t.

— Bernard Williams

The majority of philosophers are totally humorless. That’s part of their trouble.

— Bernard Williams

I was attracted to opera when I was 15 or 16. A very rich man in England bankrupted himself to put on a lot of opera during the war, but he converted a lot of people, myself included, in the process.

— Bernard Williams

The people I really do dislike are the morally unimaginative kind of evolutionary reductionists who, in the name of science, think they can explain everything in terms of our early hominid ancestors or our genes, with their combination of high-handed tone and disregard for history. Such reductive speculation encourages a really empty scientism.

— Bernard Williams

People have been predicting the death of philosophy since the 17th century. When I was a student, people were saying, ‘We’re in the last days of philosophy.’ Then we were told in the ’60s it would be replaced by sociology, then by literary criticism.

— Bernard Williams

‘Humanity’ is a name not merely for a species but also for a quality.

— Bernard Williams

The truth is that we all have to do more things than we can rightly do, if we are to do anything at all.

— Bernard Williams

Tragedy is formed ’round ideas it does not expound, and to understand its history is, in some part, to understand those ideas and their place in the society that produced it.

— Bernard Williams

Disagreement does not necessarily have to be overcome. It may remain an important and constitutive feature of our relations to others and also be seen as something that is merely to be expected in the light of the best explanations we have of how such disagreement arises.

— Bernard Williams

Contemporary moral philosophy has found an original way of being boring, which is by not discussing moral issues at all.

— Bernard Williams

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