Isaiah Berlin

Berlin, Sir Isaiah

Sir Isaiah Berlin, 1909–97, English political scientist, b. Riga, Latvia (then in Russia). His family moved to St. Petersburg when he was a boy and emigrated to London in 1921. He was educated at Oxford, where he became a fellow (1932), a professor of social and political theory (1957–67), and president of Wolfson College (1966–75). In The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), Berlin explored Leo Tolstoy's view of irresistible historical forces, and in Historical Inevitability (1954) he attacked both determinist and relativist approaches to history as superficial and fallacious. His other works include Karl Marx (3d ed. 1963), Four Essays on Liberty (1969), Personal Impressions (1980), and the essay collection The Proper Study of Mankind (1997). He was knighted in 1957.

See his Letters, 1928–1946 (2004, ed. by H. Hardy); biographies by J. Gray (1996) and M. Ignatieff (1998).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Isaiah Berlin: Selected full-text books and articles

Two Concepts of Liberty By Isaiah Berlin Clarendon Press, 1958
Sociological Insights of Great Thinkers: Sociology through Literature, Philosophy, and Science By Christofer Edling; Jens Rydgren Praeger, 2011
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 27 "Isaiah Berlin: On the Sociology of Freedom"
A Philosopher's Story By Morton Gabriel White Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Includes Ch. 17 "Isaiah Berlin: A Bridge Between Philosophy and the History of Ideas"
Passion and Paradox: Intellectuals Confront the National Question By Joan Cocks Princeton University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "On the Jewish Question: Isaiah Berlin and Hannah Arendt" and Chap. 4 "Are Liberalism and Nationalism Compatible? A Second Look at Isaiah Berlin"
The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History By Walter Z. Laqueur Praeger, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "The Origins of Israel" by Isaiah Berlin begins on p. 204
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