By Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Roger Hausheer, Mark Lilla
During this striking choice of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of many nice thinkers of the 20th 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 inventive new version, Berlin brings to lifestyles unique minds that swam opposed to the present in their times--and nonetheless problem traditional knowledge. In a new foreword to this corrected variation, which additionally incorporates a new appendix of letters within which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its subject matters, famous essayist Mark. Read more...
summary: during this striking number 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. along with his strange powers of innovative new version, 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 contains a new appendix of letters within which Berlin discusses and extra illuminates a few of its subject matters, famous essayist Mark
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Additional resources for Against the current : essays in the history of ideas
B445 2013 109–dc23 2012035153 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available This book has been composed in Garamond Premier Pro Printed on acid-free paper Printed in the United States of America 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 For Martine and Peter Halban CONTENTS Foreword by Mark Lilla ix Author’s Note xxi Editor’s Preface xxiii Note on References xxix Introduction by Roger Hausheer xxxi The Counter-Enlightenment 1 The Originality of Machiavelli 33 The Divorce between the Sciences and the Humanities 101 Vico’s Concept of Knowledge 140 Vico and the Ideal of the Enlightenment 151 Montesquieu 164 Hume and the Sources of German Anti-Rationalism 204 Herzen and His Memoirs 236 The Life and Opinions of Moses Hess 267 Benjamin Disraeli, Karl Marx and the Search for Identity 317 The ‘Naivety’ of Verdi 361 Georges Sorel 373 Nationalism: Past Neglect and Present Power 420 Appendix to the Second Edition 449 Index 467 FOREWORD Mark Lilla To one who thinks philosophically, no story is a matter of indifference, even if it were the natural history of the apes.
Is it that by burrowing away in the foundations of some of our deepest assumptions it may excavate things long and conveniently forgotten, or taken to be more solid, more fixed and final, than they are? Or reopen painful questions about turnings taken in the course of our collective development, questions some of which may take on a new and disturbing significance today? Before our eyes, the granite bedrock of some of our most familiar and cherished beliefs may dissolve into shifting sand. At all events, many of Berlin’s essays have called into question, implicitly or explicitly, some of the most ancient and most deeply held assumptions of men, at any rate in the Western world.
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?