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Unfortunately, this talk has been cancelled due to travel restrictions.  We hope to have the opportunity to welcome Dr. Leiter to McMaster University in the future.


Brian Leiter (University of Chicago)

“Bernard Williams’ Debt to Nietzsche:  Real or Illusory?”

Abstract: Bernard Williams was one of just two prominent figures within the mainstream of Anglophone moral philosophy in the second half of the 20th-century to devote serious attention to Nietzsche. (Philippa Foot was the other comparably famous figure to do so, and she, unsurprisingly, shared with Williams skepticism about many orthodoxies of analytic moral philosophy during this time.) My aim is to assess the Williams-Nietzsche relationship, and the extent to which Williams learned from Nietzsche, and the extent to which he retreated from or ignored Nietzsche’s actual views. I argue that the alleged influence is mostly superficial, and that Williams’s limited engagement with Nietzsche tells us something about the distinctive and conservative nature of Anglophone philosophy over the last century.