Isaiah Berlin, 1909 - 1997

Indeed, the very desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive past. `To realise the relative validity of one’s convictions’, said an admirable writer of our time, `and yet stand for them unflinchingly, is what distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.’

— Isaiah Berlin


Isaiah Berlin (1909–1997) was one of the most important political theorists, essayists, and historians of the twentieth century. One of the great defenders of liberalism, Berlin wrote extensively on Russian literature, political figures such as Churchill and Roosevelt, and thinkers such as Machiavelli and Herder.
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Isaiah Berlin was one of the twentieth century’s most significant intellectual defenders of liberty and liberalism. A prolific essayist, Berlin wrote on topics ranging from philosophy and the history of ideas to Russian literature. In one of his most famous essays, “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Berlin distinguishes between those thinkers who “relate everything to…
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