Isaiah Berlin, Political Theory and Liberal Culture

Annual Review of Political Science 2 (June):345-362 (1999)
The essay provides a short outline of Berlin's career and an assessment of his contribution to pluralist and liberal thought. He was a British academic with a Russian cast of mind, and an inhabitant of the ivory tower who was very much at home in the diplomatic and political world. Similarly, he was neither a historian of ideas nor a political philosopher in the narrow sense usually understood in the modern academy. Rather, he engaged in a trans-historical conversation about the human condition with such figures as Machiavelli, Herzen, Vico, and Herder. The Russian liberal understanding of the historical and cultural setting was, in his view, much superior to that of familiar figures such as John Stuart Mill, just as the nonliberal Machiavelli cast a particularly vivid light on the problems of a pluralist world view.
Keywords Isaiah Berlin  Political theory  Liberalism  Pluralism
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