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Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment$
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Laurence Brockliss and Ritchie Robertson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783930.001.0001

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Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment

(p.1) Introduction
Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment

Laurence Brockliss

Oxford University Press

Although Isaiah Berlin’s work belongs to a past era of intellectual history, it is still widely read by the general public. To explore this paradox, the present book focuses on Berlin as an interpreter of the Enlightenment and its critics. After a survey of his career, stressing his discomfort with Oxford philosophy, his conception of the Enlightenment is placed in the context of Enlightenment research from Ernst Cassirer via Peter Gay to Jonathan Israel. His founding of Wolfson College is interpreted as the creation of an intellectual space for the free exchange of ideas, characteristic of the Enlightenment at its best.

Keywords:   Isaiah Berlin, Enlightenment, Peter Gay, philosophy, Wolfson College

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