The Age of Enlightenment: The 18th Century Philosophers

Front Cover
Isaiah Berlin
New American Library, 1984 - Enlightenment - 282 pages
4 Reviews
In this stimulating volume, Sir Isaiah Berlin lucidy and succinctly presents commentaties on, and selections from, the basic writings of the brilliant philosophers Berkeley, Locke, Hume, and others - women who believed that science's achievements in the material world could be translated into philosphical terms. The challenging ideas of these great thinkers - and their equally great critics - remain the classical foundation of liberal humanism and rationsim in the West, so unparalleled for their lucidity, courage, hatred of darkness, and love of truth that they are of vital interest to men and women today.

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User Review  - vegetarian - LibraryThing

I read it in high school. Tedious, to be sure, for a 14-year old, but it started my thinking critically about worldview and the gathering of knowledge that can be assembled into worldviews. Read full review

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User Review  - AlexTheHunn - LibraryThing

This is a good exposure to the rich thought of the eighteenth century. A vibrant, fertile period of philosophy, this book gives a decent selection of the many thinkers who recorded their views at the time. Read full review

About the author (1984)

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. Some of his works include Liberty, The Soviet Mind: Russian Culture under Communism, Flourishing: Selected Letters 1928 - 1946, Political Ideas in the Romantic Age: Their Rise and Influence on Modern Thought, and Unfinished Dialogue, Prometheus. Berlin died in Oxford on November 5, 1997.

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