By Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer, Mark Lilla
In this striking number of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of many nice thinkers of the 20th century, discusses the significance of dissenters within the historical past of ideas--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. along with his strange powers of ingenious new version, Berlin brings to existence 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 incorporates a new appendix of letters within which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its issues, famous essayist Mark Lilla argues that Berlin's choice to renounce a philosophy fellowship and turn into a historian of rules represented now not an abandonment of philosophy yet a call to do philosophy via different, possibly greater, skill. "His intuition informed him," Lilla writes, "that you research extra approximately an concept as an concept if you happen to comprehend anything approximately its genesis and comprehend why yes humans stumbled on it compelling and have been spurred to motion by means of it." This selection of attention-grabbing highbrow images is a wealthy demonstration of that belief.
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Additional resources for Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas
S. ] in our time, what is at issue is the very nature of man, the image we have of his limits and possibilities as man. History is not yet done with its exploration of the limits and meanings of ‘human nature’. C. Wright Mills3 I Isaiah Berlin’s essays in the history of ideas are not written from a point of view. 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.
An intrinsic part of the optimistic belief in steady general pro gress is the notion that all methods of investigation and research, all modes of knowing and understanding, are systematically interconnected; that the presuppositions and methods of all forms of intellectual discovery can be ultimately derived from lvi • Roger Hausheer a small handful of principles of the highest imaginable degree of abstraction; and that the entire sphere of human knowledge grows all of a piece, since each segment of it interlocks with and enlarges every other.
What matters to him before all else is the welfare and glory of his patria. His position implies that there are two equally ultimate, mutually exclusive ethical codes between which men must make an absolute choice. This suggestion that there may be a collision between ultimate values with no means of rational arbitration between them, and the consequent conclusion that there is no one single path to human fulfilment, individual or collective, has proved deeply disturbing. It entails that the need for choice between ultimate, conflicting values, far from being a rare and anomalous experience in the lives of men, is in fact an intrinsic element in the human condition itself.
Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas by Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer, Mark Lilla