Download e-book for kindle: Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas (2nd by Isaiah Berlin

By Isaiah Berlin

ISBN-10: 1400843235

ISBN-13: 9781400843237

During this extraordinary selection of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of many nice thinkers of the 20 th century, discusses the significance of dissenters within the heritage of ideas--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. together with his strange powers of resourceful new edition, Berlin brings to lifestyles unique minds that swam opposed to the present in their times--and nonetheless problem traditional wisdom.

In a brand new foreword to this corrected version, which additionally contains a new appendix of letters within which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its subject matters, famous essayist Mark Lilla argues that Berlin's choice to renounce a philosophy fellowship and turn into a historian of rules represented no longer an abandonment of philosophy yet a call to do philosophy through different, maybe greater, capacity. "His intuition instructed him," Lilla writes, "that you examine extra approximately an idea as an concept in the event you recognize whatever approximately its genesis and comprehend why definite humans came upon it compelling and have been spurred to motion via it." This selection of interesting highbrow graphics is a wealthy demonstration of that trust.

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Additional info for Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas (2nd Edition)

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He has himself answered this question in a series of important and penetrating essays. ’, and ‘The Concept of Scientific History’,2 taken together, reveal (among many other things) his conception of the positive and vital place of philosophy in all mental activity, and above all of the history of ideas as a type of philosophical endeavour which may yield a genuine form of knowledge, or self-knowledge, which is entirely sui generis, illuminating and liberating, and discoverable only by the systematic study of the intellectual history of men –­of cultures, civilisations, intellectual and political movements, and so forth.

They are not intended directly to illustrate or support (or for that matter attack or undermine) any single historical or political theory, doctrine or ideology; they range Pensées 253. ‘Bentham’ (1838): Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, ed. J. M. Robson and others (Toronto/London, 1963–­91), x 91. 3 The Sociological Imagination (New York, 2000 [1959]), 171. 1 2 xxxii • Roger Hausheer from such wholly diverse figures as Marx, Disraeli and Sorel to topics as apparently remote from one another as nationalism and the theory of knowledge; they are wholly exploratory and undogmatic, raising more tentative but often deeply unsettling questions than they claim to answer; and, above all, they represent an utterly independent, scrupulously open-minded, but deeply passionate search for truth.

For while he himself claimed that he had founded a new science in the spirit of Descartes, he knew in his heart that the very nature of his material was resistant to such methods, and his practice belies his professions. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, he could never bring himself to regard concrete specific detail as mere material for illustrating general rules or laws. He respects, and indeed delights in, the irreducibly unique and particular for its own sake; and is deeply distrustful of the concept of man in general.

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