PHIL401H Philosophy Honours Coursework
Semester One, 2007

   
Bernard Williams' Political Philosophy


In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument

   
Unit Coordinator: Dr. Tony Lynch Bernard Williams [Stanford Entry]
   
Summary: The aim of this unit is to introduce students to Bernard Williams’ Political Philosophy. To this end students must read – and read closely and critically – Williams’ posthumous book In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument [they might like, too, to read his article “Political Philosophy and the Analytical Tradition” in his Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline [101/W721p] also printed in Richter, M. (ed.), Political Theory and Political Education (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980) [320.01/P7692]]. To properly appreciate Williams’ ideas students should familiarise themselves with the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, John Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke. They should pay special attention to the political philosophies of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Richard Rorty.
   
Topic/Question: Students are required to design their own essay topic in consultation with Tony Lynch – either at the Residential School, or by email before 08/05/07.
   
Assessment: 4000-7000 Word Essay Due Date: Friday 8th of June, 2007
   
Res School Dates: Monday 26th March 2007 [E11 RM126] Times: 9.30am-12pm, 2pm-5pm.
   
   
Prescribed Text: Williams, Bernard, In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005) (ed. Geoffrey Hawthorn). [320.01/W721i]
   
Book Review: Yack, Bernard, Book Review 'In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument', Ethics 116:3 (2006), pp. 614-619.
   
Table of Contents  
   
Preface by Patricia Williams vii
Introduction by Geoffrey Hawthorn xi
CHAPTER ONE: Realism and Moralism in Political Theory 1
CHAPTER TWO: In the Beginning Was the Deed 18
CHAPTER THREE: Pluralism, Community and Left Wittgensteinianism 29
CHAPTER FOUR: Modernity and the Substance of Ethical Life 40
CHAPTER FIVE: The Liberalism of Fear 52
CHAPTER SIX: Human Rights and Relativism 62
CHAPTER SEVEN: From Freedom to Liberty: The Construction of a Political Value 75
CHAPTER EIGHT: The Idea of Equality 97
CHAPTER NINE: Conflicts of Liberty and Equality 115
CHAPTER TEN: Toleration, a Political or Moral Question? 128
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Censorship 139
CHAPTER TWELVE: Humanitarianism and the Right to Intervene 145
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Truth, Politics, and Self-Deception 154
Bernard Williams: Writings of Political Interest 165
Index 171  
   
   
Chapters Published Elsewhere  
   
CHAPTER TWO: Williams, Bernard, 'In the Beginning Was the Deed' in Deliberative Democracy and Humans Rights, ed. Harold Hongju Koh and Ronald C. Slye (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).
CHAPTER THREE: Williams, Bernard, 'Pluralism, Community and Left Wittgensteinianism', Common Knowledge 1:1 (1992).
CHAPTER SEVEN: Williams, Bernard, 'From Freedom to Liberty: The Construction of a Political Value', Philosophy and Public Affairs 30:1 (2001). [P300.5/P567]
CHAPTER EIGHT: Williams, Bernard, 'The Idea of Equality' in Philosophy, Politics and Society, 2nd ser., ed. Peter Laslett and W. G. Runciman (Oxford: Blackwell, 1962) [300/P568/1962] and in Williams, B., Problems of the Self, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1973, pp. 230-249, [126/W721p] reprinted in L. Pojman & R. Westmoreland (eds.), Equality: Selected Readings, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997, pp. 91-102.
CHAPTER TEN: Williams, Bernard, 'Toleration, a Political or Moral Question?', Diogenes 44:4 (1996), pp. 35-48. [P105/DIO]
   
   
Course Layout  
   
Chapter

 

Suggested Reading  
       
1 Realism and Moralism in Political Theory Chen, Selina, 'Liberal Justification: A Typology', Politics 18:3 (1998), pp. 189-196.
Simmons, A. John, 'Justification and Legitimacy', Ethics 109:4 (1999), pp. 739-771.
The First Question (Consider Phlebas)
 
2 In the Beginning Was the Deed    
3 Pluralism, Community and Left Wittgensteinianism    
4 Modernity and the Substance of Ethical Life    
5 The Liberalism of Fear

Shklar, Judith, 'The Liberalism of Fear' in Rosenblaum, N. (ed.), Liberalism and the Moral Life (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1989). [320.51/L695]
Lassman, Peter, 'Pluralism without Illusions', Ethics & Politics 2 (2005).
The Liberalism of Fear (Jonathan Derbyshire)

   
6 Human Rights and Relativism    
7 From Freedom to Liberty: The Construction of a Political Value MacCallum, Gerald C., 'Negative and Positive Freedom', Philosophical Review 76:3 (1967), pp. 312-334.
Skinner, Quentin, ‘The Paradoxes of Political Liberty’ in McMurrin, S. M. (ed.), Tanner Lectures on Human Values VII (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1986).
 
   
8 The Idea of Equality

Elster, Jon, ‘The idea of equality revisited’, in J. Altham and R. Harrison, (eds.), World, Mind, and Ethics: a Festschrift for Bernard Williams (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 4-18.
Parfit, Derek, 'Equality or Priority', Ratio 10:3 (New Series) Special Issue: Ideals of Equality (1997) pp. 202-221.

Schaar, John H., ‘Some Ways of Thinking about Equality’, The Journal of Politics 26:4 (1964), pp. 867-895.

   
9 Conflicts of Liberty and Equality

Dworkin, Ronald, ‘What is Equality? Part 3: The Place of Liberty’, Iowa Law Review 73 (1987), pp. 1-54, reprinted in Dworkin, Ronald, Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000) Ch. 3. [305/D993s]
Graham, A. C., 'Liberty and Equality', Mind 74:293 (1965), pp. 59-65.

   
10 Toleration, a Political or Moral Question?

Heyd, David, (ed.) Toleration: An Elusive Virtue (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). [179.9/T649] Inside this volume: Williams, Bernard, “Toleration: An Impossible Virtue?” and Fletcher, G. P., “The Instability of Tolerance” and Scanlon, Thomas, “The difficulty of tolerance” and Heyd, David, “Is Toleration a Political Virtue?”.
Williams, Bernard, "Tolerating the Intolerable," in Mendes, Susan (ed.), The Politics of Toleration (Edinburgh University Press, 1999).
Galeotti, Anna Elisabetta, ‘Do We Need Toleration as a Moral Virtue?’ Res Publica 7:3 (2001), pp. 273-292.

Murphy, Andrew R., ‘Tolerance, Toleration, and the Liberal Tradition’, Polity 29:4 (1997), pp. 593-623.

Nagel, Thomas, Equality and Partiality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), Chapter 14: Toleration, pp. 156-168. [320.011/N147e]

   
11 Censorship    
12 Humanitarianism and the Right to Intervene    
13 Truth, Politics, and Self-Deception    
       
   
Extended Reading  
   

While the focus is on Williams’ Political Philosophy, students might find it worthwhile to read his book on Moral Philosophy – Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (London: Fontana, 1985). [170/W721e].

   
To properly appreciate Williams’ ideas students should familiarise themselves with the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes, John Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke. They should pay special attention to the political philosophies of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Richard Rorty.
   
Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan (1651)  
Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government (1680)  
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, The Social Contract (1762)  
   
Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971). [340.11/R261T]
Rawls, John, Political Liberalism (NY: Columbia University Press, 1993).
   
Dworkin, Ronald, A Matter of Principle (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985). [340.1/D993m]
Dworkin, Ronald, Taking Rights Seriously (London: Duckworth, 1977). [340.1/D993t]
Dworkin, Ronald, Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000) [305/D993s] Chapter One | Chapter Two
   
Rorty, Richard, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989). [191.1/R787c]
Rorty, Richard, 'Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism', Journal of Philosophy 80:10 (1983), pp. 583-589.
Rorty, Richard, Philosophy as Cultural Politics (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007).
   
For A Collection of Essays on Judith Shklar's Political Thought See: Yack, Bernard (ed.), Liberalism without Illusions: Essays on Liberal Theory and the Political Vision of Judith N. Shklar (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
   
   

Any Questions,  Any Comments or Help

Contact: Dr. Tony Lynch

 

Created: 18/01/07 Modified: 07/03/07