Quotes by Bernard Williams

Bernard Williams

English philosopher

Alive from: 1929-2003

Category: Philosophers

Quotes 1 till 11 of 11.

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    A friend is a lot of things, but a critic isn't.
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    I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy.
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    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.
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    Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.
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    People who express themselves in paradoxes are in a strong position; and the more outrageous the paradox, in general the stronger the position.
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    Philosophy is altogether less pure now. It's been impurified by science and social science and history.
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    Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire.
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    The majority of philosophers are totally humorless. That's part of their trouble.
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    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.
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    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.
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    We grow a little every time we do not take advantage of somebody's weakness.
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