By Laurence Brockliss, Ritchie Robertson
Isaiah Berlin (1909-97) used to be well-known as Britain's such a lot distinct historian of rules. a lot of his essays mentioned thinkers of what this ebook calls the 'long Enlightenment' (from Vico within the eighteenth century to Marx and Mill within the 19th, with Machiavelli as a precursor). but he's rather linked to the idea that of the 'Counter-Enlightenment', comprising these thinkers (Herder, Hamann, or even Kant) who in Berlin's view reacted opposed to the Enlightenment's naive rationalism, scientism and progressivism, its assumption that humans have been primarily homogeneous and will be rendered chuffed through the remorseless software of medical cause. Berlin's 'Counter-Enlightenment' has bought severe recognition, yet no-one has but analysed the certainty of the Enlightenment on which it rests. Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment explores the improvement of Berlin's perception of the Enlightenment, noting its curious narrowness, its ambivalence, and its indebtedness to a particular German highbrow culture. participants to the e-book learn his reviews on person writers, exhibiting how they have been inflected via his questionable assumptions, and arguing that a number of the writers he assigned to the 'Counter-Enlightenment' have nearer affinities to the Enlightenment than he famous. by way of finding Berlin within the background of Enlightenment experiences, this publication additionally makes a contribution to defining the ancient position of his paintings and to comparing his highbrow legacy.
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Additional resources for Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment
48 See Marx/Engels Gesamtausgabe (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1976), Abteilung IV, Band 1, pp. 213–33, and 277–92. And Marx/Engels Gesamtausgabe, Abteilung IV, Band 2, pp. 332–87. OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 09/16/2016, SPi Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, and the Enlightenment 33 (KM 87/81). However, given the timing, we might prefer to treat such writings as the source rather than the reinforcement. Indeed, both these (Scottish and German) alternatives have solid, rather than speculative, connections to Marx’s early intellectual formation.
In the course of his life, he found such spaces in many different and often unlikely places: in the dining rooms of Washington society hostesses during the war; in the Leningrad flat of the poet Anna Akhmatova in 1945;39 in the many common rooms of American universities that he frequented in the post-war years. But above all, Berlin found the space to live the active life of the mind in Oxford. In a famous essay on Tolstoy, Berlin divided writers and thinkers into hedgehogs and foxes. 40 Oxford in the 1930s was largely a society of hedgehogs.
44 However, Berlin’s enthusiasm for the narrative about French Enlightenment and Teutonic counter-attack remains problematic. The suggestion that Marx’s father was the early conduit for this Enlightenment influence is attractive. Not least, it avoids the offensive implication that enlightenment, more generally, could only have come from outside the family, typically in the form of his Gentile father-in-law. However, there is little hard evidence to support the suggestion. 45 This is not to deny that Heinrich had an intellectual influence on his son, just to resist this attempt to cast him as the leading Enlightenment source in the absence of more concrete evidence of Heinrich’s actual views (evidence, to be clear, that we do not really have).