Sir Isaiah Berlin

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Berlin, Sir Isaiah,

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 TolstoyTolstoy, Leo, Count,
Rus. Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoi (lyĕf), 1828–1910, Russian novelist and philosopher, considered one of the world's greatest writers.
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'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).

References in periodicals archive ?
This crisis has been brilliantly documented by Sir Isaiah Berlin, who identifies Machiavelli as the pivotal figure in our changing conception of the good life.
If all this is too gloomy for you, let's give the last word to Sir Isaiah Berlin.
Given the nature of his preoccupations, the puzzle is not why Hamann was forgotten but why Sir Isaiah Berlin, the Magus of Oxford, the octogenarian historian of ideas, has devoted a small book to reviving him.
As Wardman himself, paraphrasing Sir Isaiah Berlin, pointedly reflects in the concluding sentence of the chapter devoted to Critique II: 'Can one reconcile the fox, who knows many things, with the hedgehog who knows one big thing?
So claims the British political philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, who has likened Marx's overly generous reading of our human nature to a social scientist's unguarded generalization from observing flying fish: "All fish don't fly, and that finally is what is wrong with Marx.
These six lectures by Sir Isaiah Berlin were first delivered on the BBC Radio's Third Programme (now Radio Three) in 1952.