Four essays on liberty

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Oxford University P., 1969 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 213 pages
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"Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century", Historical Inevitability", "Two Concepts of Liberty", "John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life". These four essays deal with the various aspects of individual liberty, including the distinction between positive and negative liberty and the necessity of rejecting determinism if we wish to keep hold of the notions of human responsibility and freedom.

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I have yet to read all the essays in the book, but "Two Concepts of Liberty" is complex and brilliantly argued. I think readers cannot agree with everything he makes of positive and negative liberty, especially his characterization of Marxism and positive liberty, but it is undeniable that he presents an original, well-researched, informed perspective on the idea of liberty itself and its desirability. Whether you favour negative over positive liberty, vice versa, or both, his work is bound to inspire great thought on the subject. His long, flowing prose is, in addition, refreshing in an age of contribed business writing, and as philosopher from Oxford, he is someone you can feel confident in taking seriously.  

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User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

Good stuff, particularly, of course, the distinction of negative and positive liberty. Read full review

Contents

POLITICAL IDEAS IN
1
HISTORICAL INEVITABILITY
41
TWO CONCEPTS OF LIBERTY
118
Copyright

1 other sections not shown

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About the author (1969)

Philosopher, political theorist, and essayist, Isaiah Berlin was born in 1909 to Russian-speaking Jewish parents in Latvia. Reared in Latvia and later in Russia, Berlin developed a strong Russian-Jewish identity, having witnessed both the Social-Democratic and the Bolshevik Revolutions. At the age of 12, Berlin moved with his family to England, where he attended prep school and then St. Paul's. In 1928, he went up as a scholar to Corpus Christi College in Oxford. After an unsuccessful attempt at the Manchester Guardian, Berlin was offered a position as lecturer in philosophy at New College. Almost immediately, he was elected to a fellowship at All Souls. During this time at All Souls, Berlin wrote his brilliant biographical study of Marx, titled Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (1939), for the Home University Library. Berlin continued to teach through early World War II, and was then sent to New York by the Ministry of Information, and subsequently to the Foreign Office in Washington, D.C. It was during these years that he drafted several fine works regarding the changing political mood of the United States, collected in Washington Despatches 1941-1945 (1981). By the end of the war, Berlin had shifted his focus from philosophy to the history of ideas, and in 1950 he returned to All Souls. In 1957, he was elected to the Chichele Chair of Social and Political Theory, delivering his influential and best-known inaugural lecture, Two Concepts of Liberty. Berlin died in Oxford on November 5, 1997.

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