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The Cambridge Companion to Isaiah Berlin

$24.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Companions to Philosophy

Steven B. Smith, Joshua L. Cherniss, Amos Oz, Henry Hardy, Naomi Choi, Ryan Patrick Hanley, Aurelian Craiutu, Kathleen Parthe, Gina Gustavsson, Fania Oz-Salzberger, Ian Shapiro,Alicia Steinmetz, Alan Ryan, George Crowder, William A. Galston
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  • Date Published: September 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108693332
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About the Authors
  • Isaiah Berlin (1909–1997) was a central figure in twentieth-century political thought. This volume highlights Berlin's significance for contemporary readers, covering not only his writings on liberty and liberalism, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Russian thinkers and pluralism, but also the implications of his thought for political theory, history, and the social sciences, as well as the ethical challenges confronting political actors, and the nature and importance of practical judgment for politics and scholarship. His name and work are inseparable from the revival of political philosophy and the analysis of political extremism and defense of democratic liberalism following World War II. Berlin was primarily an essayist who spoke through commentary on other authors and, while his own commitments and allegiances are clear enough, much in his thought remains controversial. Berlin's work constitutes an unsystematic and incomplete, but nevertheless sweeping and profound, defense of political, ethical, and intellectual humanism in an anti-humanistic age.

    • Provides a comprehensive overview of the work and importance of Isaiah Berlin, including the full range of ideas and themes that motivated his work
    • Brings together essays about Berlin by leading political theorists and historians, offering a range of perspectives
    • Offers both appreciative and critical perspectives on Berlin's body of work, showing not only its relation to Berlin's own time but his enduring importance for ours
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the two opening pieces on Berlin the man, one by Amos Oz, who died in December, and the other by Hardy and Joshua Cherniss, are superb, two of the best essays ever written about him. … The book captures the range of Berlin's work, from his early writings as an analytic philosopher and on Karl Marx in the 1930s to his essays on Russian thinkers, the Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment and Romanticism, from nationalism to pluralism and liberalism.' David Herman, New Statesman

    Customer reviews

    02nd Mar 2019 by HRDH

    David Herman's review in the 'New Statesman' of 1 March 2019 – http://bit.ly/2C2bMUj – includes this: 'the two opening pieces on Berlin the man, one by Amos Oz, who died in December, and the other by [Henry] Hardy and Joshua Cherniss, are superb, two of the best essays ever written about him. Oz’s piece is only two pages, but manages to capture so much of Berlin’s Jewish and Russian roots and is a reminder of how much Israelis such as Oz, Shlomo Avineri and Avishai Margalit have contributed to our understanding of Berlin. The rest of the book [...] falls into several parts: Berlin on philosophy, the human sciences and political theory, Berlin and the history of ideas and Berlin and politics. It concludes with a piece from his papers, “The Lessons of History”, from the mid-1960s. The book captures the range of Berlin’s work, from his early writings as an analytic philosopher and on Karl Marx in the 1930s to his essays on Russian thinkers, the Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment and Romanticism, from nationalism to pluralism and liberalism. The essays do a good job of putting his work on liberalism in the crucial context of the Cold War, which he described in 1949 as “the battle between the creeds … the greatest since the Reformation and its aftermath”. The book marks a shift in thinking about Berlin from liberalism to pluralism. His writings on Negative and Positive Liberty in the 1950s made his name as a liberal thinker. In recent years, however, there has been a greater emphasis on his writings on pluralism and the clash of values, which have made him more relevant to today’s concerns about multiculturalism and identity politics.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108693332
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Editors' introduction: why Berlin? Why now? Steven B. Smith and Joshua L. Cherniss
    Part I. Berlin the Man:
    1. On Isaiah Berlin Amos Oz
    2. The life and opinions of Isaiah Berlin Henry Hardy and Joshua L. Cherniss
    Part II. Berlin on Philosophy, the Human Sciences, and Political Theory:
    3. Berlin, analytic philosophy, and the revival of political philosophy Naomi Choi
    4. 'The sense of reality': Berlin on political judgment, political ethics, and leadership Joshua L. Cherniss
    Part III. Berlin and the History of Ideas:
    5. Berlin on the nature and purpose of the history of ideas Ryan Patrick Hanley
    6. Isaiah Berlin on Marx and Marxism Aurelian Craiutu
    7. Privileged access: Isaiah Berlin and Russian thought Kathleen Parthe
    8. Isaiah Berlin on the enlightenment and counter-enlightenment Steven B. Smith
    9. Berlin's romantics and their ambiguous legacy Gina Gustavsson
    Part IV. Berlin and Politics: Liberalism, Nationalism, and Pluralism:
    10. Isaiah Berlin on nationalism, the modern Jewish condition, and Zionism Fania Oz-Salzberger
    11. Negative liberty and the Cold War Ian Shapiro and Alicia Steinmetz
    12. Isaiah Berlin: contested conceptions of liberty and liberalism Alan Ryan
    13. Pluralism, relativism, and liberalism George Crowder
    14. Liberalism, nationalism, pluralism: the political thought of Isaiah Berlin William A. Galston
    Epilogue.

  • Editors

    Joshua L. Cherniss, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Joshua L. Cherniss is the author of A Mind and its Time: The Development of Isaiah Berlin's Political Thought (2013), and of journal articles and book chapters on Berlin, Reinhold Niebuhr, Max Weber, and other twentieth-century political thinkers. He has been a Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, and a Graduate Fellow at the Center for European Studies and the Safra Center for Ethics, both at Harvard University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University, Washington DC.

    Steven B. Smith, Yale University, Connecticut
    Steven B. Smith is Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He has served as the Master of Branford College at Yale and is the Co-Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions. His book Spinoza, Liberalism, and the Question of Jewish Identity (1997) won the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize from Phi Beta Kappa. His most recent book, Modernity and its Discontents (2016), has been widely reviewed and the subject of book conference and panel discussions. He is currently working on a new book called In Defense of Patriotism.

    Contributors

    Steven B. Smith, Joshua L. Cherniss, Amos Oz, Henry Hardy, Naomi Choi, Ryan Patrick Hanley, Aurelian Craiutu, Kathleen Parthe, Gina Gustavsson, Fania Oz-Salzberger, Ian Shapiro,Alicia Steinmetz, Alan Ryan, George Crowder, William A. Galston

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