Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2015
Ethical Life in Kierkegaard and Williams
A discussion of how the criticisms of ethical theory in Søren Kierkegaard and Bernard Williams both reinforce each other and also provide some challenges to each other. Despite Williams’ brief and dismissive encounter with Kierkegaard around the reading of a ancient tragedy, both oppose any tendency to see the characters in those tragedies as lacking in agency. Both are consistently concerned with how the individual struggles for some ethical agency and how no individual can be free of the influence of chance or error. Kierkegaard and Willliams are shown to both oppose relativism and communitarianism in ethics, along with utilitarianism and to both have an interest in plurality of ethical ideas of how to live.