The Power of Ideas: Second Edition

The Power of Ideas: Second Edition

Paperback(Second edition with a New Foreword)

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The essays collected in this new volume reveal Isaiah Berlin at his most lucid and accessible. He was constitutionally incapable of writing with the opacity of the specialist, but these shorter, more introductory pieces provide the perfect starting-point for the reader new to his work. Those who are already familiar with his writing will also be grateful for this further addition to his collected essays.

The connecting theme of these essays, as in the case of earlier volumes, is the crucial social and political role—past, present and future—of ideas, and of their progenitors. A rich variety of subject-matters is represented—from philosophy to education, from Russia to Israel, from Marxism to romanticism—so that the truth of Heine's warning is exemplified on a broad front. It is a warning that Berlin often referred to, and provides an answer to those who ask, as from time to time they do, why intellectual history matters.

Among the contributions are "My Intellectual Path," Berlin's last essay, a retrospective autobiographical survey of his main preoccupations; and "Jewish Slavery and Emancipation," the classic statement of his Zionist views, long unavailable in print. His other subjects include the Enlightenment, Giambattista Vico, Vissarion Belinsky, Alexander Herzen, G.V. Plekhanov, the Russian intelligentsia, the idea of liberty, political realism, nationalism, and historicism. The book exhibits the full range of his enormously wide expertise and demonstrates the striking and enormously engaging individuality, as well as the power, of his own ideas.

"Over a hundred years ago, the German poet Heine warned the French not to underestimate the power of ideas: philosophical concepts nurtured in the stillness of a professor's study could destroy a civilization."—Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958.

This new edition adds a number of previously uncollected pieces, including Berlin's earliest statement of the pluralism of values for which he is famous.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691157603
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 11/10/2013
Edition description: Second edition with a New Foreword
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 1,150,494
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was one of the leading intellectual historians of the twentieth century and the founding president of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. His many books include The Hedgehog and the Fox, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Roots of Romanticism, and Against the Current (all Princeton). 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.

Table of Contents

Note on References xi

Foreword by Avishai Margalit xiii

Editor's Preface xxv

My Intellectual Path 1

The Purpose of Philosophy 29

The Philosophers of the Enlightenment 43

One of the Boldest Innovators in the History of Human Thought 63

Russian Intellectual History 81

The Man Who Became a Myth 95

A Revolutionary without Fanaticism 106

The Role of the Intelligentsia 125

Liberty 134

The Philosophy of Karl Marx 139

The Father of Russian Marxism 153

Realism in Politics 163

The Origins of Israel 173

Jewish Slavery and Emancipation 197

Chaim Weizmann's Leadership 227

The Search for Status 238

The Essence of European Romanticism 243

Meinecke and Historicism 249

General Education 260

Appendix to the Second Edition

Democracy, Communism and the Individual 273

Woodrow Wilson on Education 284

A Note on Nationalism 301

Index 313

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The Power of Ideas . . . captures, in crystalline fashion, not just the power of ideas in history but the utility of Berlin's own ideas in understanding what is happening today in the world."—Strobe Talbott, author of At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War

Strobe Talbott

The Power of Ideas ... captures, in crystalline fashion, not just the power of ideas in history but the utility of Berlin's own ideas in understanding what is happening today in the world.
Strobe Talbott, author of "At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War"

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