In this article I discuss the main reasons why, 22 years after Bernard Williams's Shame and Necessity was published, this book still represents a fundamental source concerning: 1) The nature and history of the concept of shame. 2) A comparative discussion of guilt and shame. 3) A critical reflection on progressive history. 4) A reflection on the relationship between emotions and virtues. 5) A reflection concerning the relationship between philosophy and the ethical life. I argue that Williams, who has often been accused of being a destroyer of theories, had a fundamental insight, which can be expressed negatively, though it was meant to have positive consequences: philosophy ought not to aim at total awareness. I then proceed to present the conceptual structure of the volume of which I am the editor, and to explain the relationship between the different contributions and their respective view of Williams's conception of shame.
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