By Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer, Mark Lilla
During this remarkable choice 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 version, Berlin brings to existence unique minds that swam opposed to the present in their times--and nonetheless problem traditional knowledge. In a new foreword to this corrected version, which additionally contains a new appendix of letters during which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its issues, famous essayist Mark. Read more...
summary: during this extraordinary selection of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of many nice thinkers of the 20th century, discusses the significance of dissenters within the background of ideas--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. together with his strange powers of inventive new edition, Berlin brings to existence unique minds that swam opposed to the present in their times--and nonetheless problem traditional knowledge. In a brand new foreword to this corrected variation, which additionally incorporates a new appendix of letters during which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its subject matters, famous essayist Mark
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Additional info for Against the current : essays in the history of ideas
E. Lessing, Voltaire and the editors of the Encyclopédie was a blind act of human self-assertion whose consequences no one (except perhaps Jean-Jacques Rousseau) had bothered to calculate. Even if one were to grant that their works established solid foundations for human knowledge and scientific advance, much more fundamental questions remained. What are knowledge and science good for? What role should they play in the lives of the beings we actually are, not the creatures we imagine ourselves to be?
Their procedure usually takes the following form: they first identify a privileged class of indubitable entities or incorrigible propositions, claiming an exclusive logical or ontological status for these, and assigning appropriate methods for their discovery; and finally, with a gusto that has deep psychological roots in the instinct for both order and destruction, reject as ‘not real’, confused or, at times, ‘nonsense’ what cannot be translated into the type of entity or proposition which they have chosen as the impregnable model.
But the history of ideas as Isaiah Berlin practiced it offers something close. Reading him I’ve often had the sensation of being hoisted by the scruff of the neck, up to a point where I finally get some perspective on myself and on the narrow range of questions and answers that are occupying me. I don’t think I’m alone. The feeling it leaves is a mix of humility and excitement. Humility because you see how parochial and unoriginal you’ve been, how bound to your time and inclinations, like so many in the past.
Against the current : essays in the history of ideas by Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer, Mark Lilla