Bernard Williams' liberal naturalism

Chappell, Sophie Grace (2022). Bernard Williams' liberal naturalism. In: MacArthur, David and De Caro, Mario eds. The Routledge Handbook of Liberal Naturalism. London: Routledge.



“Naturalism” is a word that has meant many things in its history. Williams counts as a naturalist because, first, he takes the considerations just rehearsed to be the essential ones in setting the stage for the basic question of metaethics, which he frames as the question how and where “the ethical” fits in with the rest of our world-view. The question about the extent of actual ethical disagreement, and the suggestion that the roots of most major disagreements in ethics are ideological rather than rational – these both need careful and detailed investigation not only by philosophers but also by historians and sociologists. The set of responses in which people agree, and the way they interweave with our activities, is our form of life. Beings who agreed in consistently giving bizarre quus-like responses would share in another form of life.

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