Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas - Second Edition

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Princeton University Press, Jun 2, 2013 - Philosophy - 584 pages
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In this outstanding collection of essays, Isaiah Berlin, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century, discusses the importance of dissenters in the history of ideas--among them Machiavelli, Vico, Montesquieu, Herzen, and Sorel. With his unusual powers of imaginative re-creation, Berlin brings to life original minds that swam against the current of their times--and still challenge conventional wisdom.

In a new foreword to this corrected edition, which also includes a new appendix of letters in which Berlin discusses and further illuminates some of its topics, noted essayist Mark Lilla argues that Berlin's decision to give up a philosophy fellowship and become a historian of ideas represented not an abandonment of philosophy but a decision to do philosophy by other, perhaps better, means. "His instinct told him," Lilla writes, "that you learn more about an idea as an idea when you know something about its genesis and understand why certain people found it compelling and were spurred to action by it." This collection of fascinating intellectual portraits is a rich demonstration of that belief.


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AGAINST THE CURRENT: Essays In The History Of Ideas

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Though some of Sir Isaiah's best-known essays were included in the previous two volumes of his collected essays (Russian Thinkers and Concepts and Categories), this third of four scheduled volumes ... Read full review


Authors Note
Editors Preface
Note on References
The CounterEnlightenment
The Originality of Machiavelli
The Divorce between the Sciences and the Humanities
Hume and the Sources of German AntiRationalism
Herzen and His Memoirs
The Life and Opinions of Moses Hess
Benjamin Disraeli Karl Marx and the Search for Identity
The Naivety of Verdi
Georges Sorel
Past Neglect and Present Power
Appendix to the Second Edition

Vicos Concept of Knowledge
Vico and the Ideal of the Enlightenment

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About the author (2013)

Isaiah Berlin was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He was renowned as an essayist and as the author of many books, among them Karl Marx, Four Essays on Liberty, Russian Thinkers, The Sense of Reality, The Proper Study of Mankind, and, from Princeton, Concepts and Categories, Personal Impressions, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Hedgehog and the Fox, The Roots of Romanticism, The Power of Ideas, and Three Critics of the Enlightenment. Henry Hardy, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is one of Isaiah Berlin's literary trustees. He has edited several other volumes by Berlin and is currently preparing Berlin's letters and remaining unpublished writings for publication.

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