“Some Remarks on Isaiah Berlin”

Khachaturian, Rafael. “Some Remarks on Isaiah Berlin.” Dissent Magazine, August 2010.  


“Last year’s centennial of Isaiah Berlin’s birth saw yet another revival of interest in his life and thought. Thanks largely to the indefatigable Henry Hardy, his dedicated editor who recently introduced the world to a new collection of letters and a volume of commemorative essays, Berlin again became a subject of mostly admiring commentary and analysis. A reader will often find critics praising Berlin for his broad knowledge of the history of ideas, especially the vivid ways in which he brought to life overlooked figures like Hamann, Vico, and Maistre. It is also common to read about his levelheaded approach to political judgment, which took pluralism as fundamental to social life, thereby reinforcing a liberal suspicion of metaphysics and the politics based on such principles. In academia he is regarded as an important thinker on the meaning of political freedom, with his Two Concepts of Liberty now treated as required reading in undergraduate political philosophy classes. Even outside the scope of the literary and academic worlds, Berlin’s influence is manifested whenever a layman quips about all humans being either hedgehogs or foxes (The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing).”

Dissent Magazine