Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline

Bernard Williams 


Philosophy should not try to assimilate itself to the aims of the sciences. Scientism stems from the false assumption that a representation of the world minimally based on local perspectives is what best serves self-understanding. Philosophy must concern itself with the history of our conceptions, and we must overcome the need to think that this history should ideally be vindicatory. There is no basic conflict between arguing within the framework of our ideas, reflectively making better sense of them, and understanding their highly contingent history. The third of these activities is an inescapable part of the second.