just”) is an emphatic form of the positivern(“just”).rnThis is the way Wilhams treats hisrnown field, philosophy. In dealing withrnClassical Greek literature his ignorancernof the scholarly problems of the texts herndeals with, and especially of the Germanrnbibliography on these problems, is appalling.rnHis occasional obiter dicta onrnproblems he knows nothing about are anrnembarrassment. His one comment onrntextual criticism combines arrogancernwith ignorance in a footnote that willrnremain a permanent blot on the Satherrnseries. What provoked him to attemptrnsuch a work? His apologia near the endrnof the book gives a hint. “We are in anrnethical condition that lies not only beyondrnChristianity, but beyond its Kantianrnand its Hegelian legacies. . . . Wernknow that the world was not made for us,rnor we for the worid, that our history tellsrnno purposive story, and that there is nornposition outside the world or outsidernhistory from which we might hope tornauthenticate our activities. . . . I amrnnot denying that the modern world isrnthrough and through different from thernancient world. . . . If we find things ofrnspecial beauty and power in what hasrnsurvived from that world, it is encouragingrnto think that we might move beyondrnmarveling at them, to putting them, orrnbits of them, to modern uses.”rnThis is the scholarship of bricolage.rnWilliams is a tourist who wanders out ofrnthe Holiday Inn in downtown Rome,rnphotographs Bernini’s baroque elephant,rnand stops for a cappuccino near the Pantheon.rnHe then strolls down an ancientrnRoman road until he comes to a modernrnthoroughfare. He makes his way throughrnthe busy traffic, walks into the PiazzarnNavona and sits down to enjoy a deliciousrngelato. As a civilized and liberalrnperson, he reminds himself that his appreciationrnfor this ice cream does not inrnitself prove the superiority of our societyrnto other or eariier cultures. He is rummagingrnthrough the past looking forrnhints to solve specific problems and tornpass his leisure time. For him, history isrnthe ultimate Old Curiosity Shop.rnWilliams mentions Alasdair Maclntyre’srntheory that human beings thinkrnand create in traditions. He approves ofrnMaclntyre’s rejection of progressivism,rnbut not of his reasons for doing so. ForrnMaclntyre, the liberal tradition thatrncomes from the Enlightenment is an intellectualrnmess because it is the “traditionrnof anti-traditionalism” (just asrnGadamer saw, it embodies the “prejudicernagainst prejudice”). It is, therefore,rnconstantly pulling out the rug from underrnits own intellectual feet. It confusesrnand misuses ideas and methods thatrnmake sense in one tradition, but cannotrnbe transferred ad lib., anymore than lifernforms can be transported from one environmentrnto another without great dangerrnto them or to the environment, orrnboth.rnWilliams has a problem with the historicalrnobservation that creativity takesrnplace in conscious traditions, and thatrnmen and women in all societies haverndifferent roles. Such observations rest onrnhistorical and philological researchrnwhose methods have been practiced forrnmillennia; they cannot be defended byrnthe techniques of British analytical philosophy,rnwhich are less than a centuryrnold. Williams can fiddle with bric-abrac,rnbut he cannot deal with coherentrntraditions, no matter how long lived andrncreative. Finally, he has nowhere else torngo, and by the end of the book he isrnopenly describing Enlightenment idealsrn(as opposed to those of earlier traditions)rnas “social and political ideals in favor ofrntruthfulness and the criticism of arbitraryrnand merely traditional power,” evenrnas “social and political honesty.” ThusrnBernard Williams ends his own SatherrnLectures as a progressivist.rnHis proclamations of honesty andrntruthfulness are soon belied. He continuallyrnmisrepresents Aristotle. He cannotrnmention Plato without equating himrnwith (usually) Kant, and sometimes withrnDescartes. The reason eventually slipsrnout. Plato “is manifestly and professedlyrnoffensive to liberal and democratic opinion.”rnIf there was ever a philosopher whornwas in favor of truth and “the criticism ofrn… merely traditional power,” even to thernextent of questioning private property,rnand role division between the sexes andrnwithin the family, it was Plato. It doesrnhim no good, however, because he alsorncriticized democracy. So in the feverrnswamps of the analytical philosophers,rnPlato is a priori wrong, and any stick isrngood enough to beat him with, even thernworn cudgel of Kantianism.rnHot on the heels of suggestio falsirncomes her sister, suppressio veri. Thern20th-century philosopher who spent hisrnlife reading the pre-Socratic Greeks inrnsearch of a way out of our contemporaryrnmalaise is Heidegger. Williams neverrnmentions him by name, although therernis at least one sneering reference to “ourrnrelations to Being,” and there may bernother hints that I missed. Heidegger isrnblackballed, like Plato, for his politics.rnWilliams spends pages trying to invent arngame where he can choose Sophocles,rnThucydides, and Nietzsche for his team,rnand leave Plato, Aristotle, Kant, andrnHegel on the other. In doing so, he suppressesrnthe profound differences betweenrnKant and the earlier figures, andrnthe similarity of his own enterprise tornHeidegger’s. It is not only implausible; itrnis dishonest.rnBut Williams ends up on the samernside as his old bugbear, Kant, in theirrncommon mission of salvaging the Enlightenment.rnWilliams differs fromrnNeo-Kantians like John Rawls regardingrnthe best way to do so, and such internecinernfeuds are often fiercer than thernslow wars of attrition that take place betweenrntraditions. Rawls thinks a defensernof the liberal regime means going back tornKant, and he has made an impressiverncase for that strategy. The moral andrnphilosophical problems that this involvesrnhave led many to seek other ways out ofrnthe dilemma. Alasdair Maclntyre understoodrnthat the rejection of Kant meansrnthe rejection of the Enlightenment, andrnof the liberal regime. Bernard Williamsrnis trying another possible escape route,rnone suggested by Nietzsche and Heidegger:rnthe careful investigation of a great,rncreative non-Christian civilization, suchrnas Greece from the eighth to the fifthrncentury, B.C., as represented by writersrnfrom Homer to Thucydides. What thernGreeks of this period have to tell us—rnand it is much—does not lead directly,rnor even probably, to the liberal regime.rnOf course, this last sentence rests on historicalrnobservation, not on proofs acceptablernto analytical philosophy.rnAs the work of a talented amateur.rnShame and Necessity is marked by brilliantrninsights but also by naivete—whichrnis not all bad—and by ignorance, whichrnis. The worst problem, however, is thernauthor’s unwillingness to admit to himselfrnwhat he is doing. Like ImmanuelrnKant and John Rawls, he is seeking a defensernof the regime that rules his countryrnand ours. He misrepresents his mission,rnand he misrepresents the intellectual andrnpolitical context of the tools he is usingrnfor his rescue operation. He frequentlyrntalks about what the ancient Greeks canrnmean for “us” in “our” post-Christianrnsituation. The careful reader will eventuallyrndiscover that by “us” BernardrnWilliams means “them.” <£•rn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn