This is a volume of philosophical studies, centred on problems of personal identity and extending to related topics in the philosophy of mind and moral philosophy.
Preface; 1. Personal identity and individuation; 2. Personal identity and bodily continuity; 3. Imagination and the self; 4. The self and the future; 5. Are persons bodies?; 6. The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality; 7. Strawson on individuals; 8. Knowledge and meaning in the philosophy of mind; 9. Deciding to believe; 10. Imperative inference; 11. Ethical consistency; 12. Consistency and realism; 13. Morality and the emotions; 14. The idea of equality; 15. Egoism and altruism; Bibliography.
'This welcome volume contains fifteen papers by Bernard Williams, an especially stimulating and insightful philosopher … His papers usually are admirably clear, and always reward careful and sustained study.' Journal of Philosophy
'To read only a few pages of [this excellent book] is to get a fine impression of the character, or flavour, of contemporary philosophy. A powerful feel for analogy allows various phenomena in turn (belief, desire, consistency) to be illuminated by considering both their resemblances to, and their differences from contiguous phenomena. There is an impatience with the trivial. And there is a constant sense, as in a Dutch landscape, of how the roads lead beyond the visible horizon. Added to this Williams exhibits on every page a mind of exceptional acuity. I doubt if anyone could read the reflections on immortality entitled 'The Makropulos Case' without a consciousness that his deepest beliefs and feelings were being engaged: engaged and adjusted under the influence of reason. In these pages an ancient promise of philosophy has been kept.' Richard Wollheim, The Listener