Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin

Born: 1909. Died: 1997.


Isaiah Berlin, a diplomat and political philosopher, developed the idea that there are two kinds of freedom: positive freedom and negative freedom. Positive freedom is characterized by being free to do things. Negative freedom, on the other hand, is characterized by being free from the interference of others, whether other people or the government.

According to Isaiah Berlin, social structures will depend greatly upon just how a society defines freedom and what sort of emphasis is given to positive or negative freedom.

Berlin also argued very strongly against Marxist notions of a deterministic history. Berlin did not believe that there were objective forces pushing history towards some inevitable conclusion and made the point that it was necessary to reject determinism in order to preserve the principles of human freedom and moral responsibility.

Major Books of Isaiah Berlin

- Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, 1979
- The Age of Enlightenment: The 18th Century Philosophers, 1956
- Concepts and Categories, 1979
- The Crooked Timber of Humanity, 1991
- Four Essays on Liberty, 1969
- The Hedgehog and the Fox, 1953
- Historical Inevitability, 1955
- Karl Marx; His Life and Environment, 1939
- The Magus of the North, with Henry Hardy, 1993
- Personal Impressions, 1980
- Russian Thinkers, 1978
- The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History, 1996
- Two Concepts Of Liberty An Inaugural Lecture Delivered Before the University of Oxford, 1958
- Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas, 1976

Major Articles of Isaiah Berlin

- 1948, Russia and 1848, SEER
- 1950, Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century, Foreign Affairs
- 1953, All Souls, OEP
- 1955-1956, Equality, with Richard Wollheim, Proceedings of the AS
- 1957, The Silence in Russian Culture, Foreign Affairs
- 1960, History and Theory: The Concept of Scientific History, History and Theory
- 1963-1964, The Presidential Address: "From Hope and Fear Set Free", Proceedings of the AS
- 1968, The Naivete of Verdi, The Hudson Review
- 1972, The Bent Twig: A Note on Nationalism, Foreign Affairs
- 1975, General Education, OREd
- 1978, Marx's Kapital and Darwin, JHI
- 1978, Corsi e Ricorsi, JMH
- 1980, Tchaikovsky, Pushkin and Onegin, The Musical Times
- 1985, On Vico, The Philosophical Quarterly

Quotes from Isaiah Berlin

- "Rational, that is to say, conforms to the necessities of things." (from "Two Concepts of Liberty", 1958)


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