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Quotes of the day: Bernard Williams

Published Tuesday, June 09, 2015 @ 2:26 PM EDT
Jun 09 2015

Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams, FBA (September 21, 1929 – June 10, 2003) was an English moral philosopher, described by The Times as the "most brilliant and most important British moral philosopher of his time." His publications include Problems of the Self (1973), Moral Luck (1981), Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (1985), and Truth and Truthfulness (2002). He was knighted in 1999. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A friend is a lot of things, but a critic isn't.

A half-truth is usually less than half of that.

Americans are optimists. They hope they'll be wealthy someday- and they're positive they can get one more brushful of paint out of an empty can.

An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.

Books had instant replay long before televised sports.

Few things are as democratic as a snowstorm.

Few things move as quietly as the future.

I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy.

Ideas are like wandering sons. They show up when you least expect them.

If we try and fail, we have temporary disappointments. But if we do not try at all, we have permanent regrets.

Laziness has many disguises. Soon 'winter doldrums' will become 'spring fever.'

Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.

No symphony orchestra ever played music like a two-year-old girl laughing with a puppy.

People who say, 'Let the chips fall where they may,' usually figure they will not be hit by a chip.

Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.

Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire.

The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a Pirate.

The most primitive experiences of shame are connected with sight and being seen, but it has been interestingly suggested that guilt is rooted in hearing, the sound in oneself of the voice of judgment; it is the moral sentiment of the word.

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.

We grow a little every time we do not take advantage of somebody's weakness.

We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.

What a strange world this would be if we all had the same sense of humor.

Women have a favorite room, men a favorite chair.


(June 10 is also the birthday of F. Lee Bailey.)

Categories: Bernard Williams, Quotes of the day


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