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"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made".--Immanuel KantIsaiah Berlin was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century--an activist of the intellect who marshaled vast erudition and eloquence in defense of the endangered values of individual liberty and moral and political pluralism. In the Crooked Timber of Humanity he ex"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made".--Immanuel KantIsaiah Berlin was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century--an activist of the intellect who marshaled vast erudition and eloquence in defense of the endangered values of individual liberty and moral and political pluralism. In the Crooked Timber of Humanity he exposes the links between the ideas of the past and the social and political cataclysms of our present century: between the Platonic belief in absolute Truth and the lure of authoritarianism; between the eighteenth-century reactionary ideologue Joseph de Maistre and twentieth- century fascism; between the romanticism of Schiller and Byron and the militant--and sometimes genocidal--nationalism that convulses the modern world".A beautifully patterned tapestry of philosophical thought.... A history of ideas that possesses all the drama of a novel, all the immediacy of headline news".--The New York Times "The perfect guide through the complex radical changes that have swept Western societies.... A brilliant, convincing work ... humane, compassionate, important".--San Francisco Chronicle"Overwhelming intelligence ... [Berlin's] mind is captivating.... His reflections ... strike at the heart of our most parroted beliefs".--Washington Post Book World...

Title : The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas
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ISBN : 9780691058382
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
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The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas Reviews

  • Ted
    2019-01-05 10:40

    It was absurd to desire to take as prisoners the Emperor, kings, and dukes, since the possession of such prisoners would have greatly enhanced the difficulty of the Russian position, as was recognized by the most clear-sighted diplomatists of the time (J. Maistre and others).L. Tolstoy, War and PeaceMaistre’s works are regarded as interesting rather than important, the last despairing effort of feudalism and the dark ages to resist the march of progress. He excites the sharpest reactions: scarcely any of his critics can repress their feelings. He is represented by conservatives as a brave but doomed paladin of a lost cause, by liberals as a foolish or odious survival of an older and more heartless generation. Both sides agree that his day is done, his world has no relevance to any contemporary or any future issue.Isaiah BerlinThe first quote is from Part XIV, chapter XIX, the second from the longest essay (over 80 pages) in the book here reviewed: ”Joseph de Maistre and the Origins of Fascism”.Maistre’s name is not terribly familiar any more. Given that, here’s a brief quote from his Wiki article.Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre (1753 – 821) was a Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat. He defended hierarchical societies and a monarchical State in the period immediately following the French Revolution. Maistre was a subject of the King of Piedmont-Sardinia, whom he served as member of the Savoy Senate (1787–1792), ambassador to Russia (1803–1817), and minister of state to the court in Turin (1817–1821).His long sojourn in Russia, during the Napoleonic years, could be assumed as the way he has crept into Tolstoy’s masterpiece; though Berlin points out several similarities of view between Maistre and Tolstoy, the latter of whom he studied in depth (see his The Hedgehog and the Fox). I’m not going to discuss Berlin’s views of these similarities. But I have brought Tolstoy into this expanded review because I want to relate the rather curious way that I came to add these new words.The fact is, when I read the passage from War and Peace above, I immediately underlined Maistre’s name, and drew a long line from it to the bottom of the page, connecting it to a large circled asterisk, with that blob followed by one of these: “!” Not only did I recognize his name from having read Crooked Timber, but I know for certain why I remembered it. Berlin writes that Maistre “looked to the Society of Jesus to act as the elite of Platonic Guardians to save the states of Europe from the fashionable and fatal aberrations of his time. But the central figure in it all, the keystone of the arch on which the whole of society depends, is a far more frightening figure than king or priest or general: it is the Executioner. The most celebrated passage in [Maistre’s] Soirees is devoted to him.”Berlin’s very long quote of this celebrated passage contains the following, which has thankfully never given me a nightmare, but has more than once kept me from sleep for a while.… in a public square covered by a dense, trembling mob. A poisoner, a parricide, a man who has committed sacrilege is tossed to him [the Executioner]: he seizes him, stretches him, ties him to a horizontal cross, he raises his arm; there is a horrible silence; there is no sound but that of bones cracking under the bars, and the shrieks of the victim. He unties him. He puts him on the wheel; the shattered limbs are entangled in the spokes; the head hangs down; the hair stands up, and the mouth gaping open like a furnace from time to time emits only a few bloodstained words to beg for death. He has finished. His heart is beating, but it is with joy: he congratulates himself, he says in his heart ‘Nobody breaks on the wheel as well as I.’ He steps down… He sits down to table, and he eats. Then he goes to bed and sleeps.At the end of his more extensive quote of the passage, Berlin writes,This is not a mere sadistic meditation about crime and punishment, but the expression of a genuine conviction, coherent with all the rest of Maistre’s passionate but lucid thought, that men can only be saved by being hemmed in by the terror of authority. They must be reminded at every instant of their lives of the frightening mystery that lies at the heart of creation; must be purged by perpetual suffering, must be humbled by being made conscious of their stupidity, malice and helplessness at every turn. War, torture, suffering are the inescapable human lot; men must bear them as best they can. Their appointed masters must do the duty laid upon them by their maker (who has made nature a hierarchical order) by the ruthless imposition of the rules – not sparing themselves – and equally ruthless extermination of the enemy.As can be guessed by the title of this essay, Berlin attempts to show that the traditional assessment of Maistre, that “his day is done, his world has no relevance to any contemporary or any future issue”, is inadequate. Maistre may have spoken the language of the past, but the content of what he had to say presaged the future… His doctrine, and still more his attitude of mind, had to wait a century before they came (as come they all too fatally did) into their own. This thesis … clearly needs evidence … This study is an endeavor to provide support for it.… to provide support, that is, for the view that Maistre’s works and thoughts are closely connected to the development of fascism in the twentieth century.This painting by Vogelstein of Maistre, ca. 1810, seems to me to capture something of the darkness in his outlook.Original reviewThis is one of those books that when you are done reading it, you say to yourself "If only I could remember every bit of knowledge & wisdom in that book, my life would be so enriched". Of course you can't.Hopefully I will take the time during the next few years to dip into this book again and try writing an essay or a real review or a summary of some type. If I do, the first of Berlin's essays that I will revisit are "Alleged Relativism in Eighteenth-Century European Thought" and "The Apotheosis of the Romantic Will: The Revolt against the Myth of an Ideal World".

  • Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
    2018-12-26 07:38

    مقالات تطرح كيفية تطوير وتنمية المجتمع وخصوصا الاوروبي .(اعتقد) بأن الكتاب نال شهرة اكثر مما يستحقها

  • K
    2019-01-20 03:13

    The Crooked Timber of Humanity is not an ode to conformity as some radicals might describe it, but an attempt to show our complexity as human beings.Isaiah Berlin has a reputation for being a magnificent essayist but this book has exceeded my expectations. Basically, you' ll get a good grasp of his value pluralism notion and become more skeptical towards utopian ideologies. Enlightenment was the triumph of reason and logic but the romantics soon showed its flaws, depicting the human condition as a warfield where equally valid but contradictory values are in constant conflict towards one another. Soon though, romantic idealism led to the disastrous events of the 20th century, a century with endless bloodshed and suffering.Our tragedy as human beings is, that we're forced to make choices sacrificing our unreflectiveness and absolutism and perhaps one part of ourselves in this process. Ideologies offering redemption, while necessary in order to broaden our horizons, offer little else, since they fail to encapsulate what makes us who we are. Berlin draws from the counter-enlightenment tradition (a term which I think he was the first to coin) but deals all historical movements and ideas with the outmost respect. His essay on Joseph De-Maistre for example, while critical and bitter towards some of his conclusions, remains a wonderfully balanced approach to a controversial figure. It also works as a prelude towards this book's last essay-also wonderful-, which discussed the then evident rise of fascism in Europe. I wish Berlin was still alive, offering his calm and insightful thoughts in today's similar landscape. From the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.

  • Islam Salem
    2018-12-22 07:16

    الكتاب عبارة عن مجموعة مقالات بتتكلم عن كيفية تطوير المجتمع البشري عامة و الأوروبي خاصة و أزاي ممكن نستغل الطاقة البشرية للوصول إلى مجتمع مثالي أو يوتوبيا بمعنى أصح ، لم تؤثر في إلا المقالة الأولى اللي بتحمل أسم الكتاب و ده عشان هي بتحلل بشكل تفصيلي أزاي ممكن الإنسان العادي يتحول لإنسان فاسد و ماعندوش أدنى مشكلة يشوف الفساد في بلده و يسقفله كمان زي اللي بيحصل عندنا في مصر و المنطقة العربية . نجمتين لأول مقالة و نجمة لباقي المقالات التي لم تقدم أي جديد.

  • Amir ali
    2019-01-02 08:30

    برلين در اين اثر از سويى به سير تاريخى اين انديشه‏ هاى آرمان گرايانه نظر دارد و از ديگر سو تحولات انديشه خود را در باب‏از دوره جوانى تا روزگار پيرى تشريح مى‏كند. برلين نشان مى‏دهد كه همان گونه در باب مفهوم و حقيقت آرمان‏گرايى و عدالت‏و آزادى و حقوق مسلم انسان، نظريه‏هاى فراوان و گاه ضد و نقيضى وجود دارد، او هم به تناسب رشد فكرى و عقلى خود هردوره به يكى از سويه‏هاى اين مفاهيم مايل بوده است؛ به اين معنا كه روزگارى فكر مى‏كرد حقيقت برترى وجود دارد كه همه‏انسان‏ها بايد به آن روى بياورند، اما روزگارى درست عكس آن مى‏انديشيده و اگر چه به وجود حقيقت ناباور نبوده، اما ديگرنه يك حقيقت بلكه به حقايق متكثر باور داشته است.برلين در اين اثر مى‏خواهد به انيجا برسد كه «آزادى» گوهر زندگى بشر است و به وجود آن سرشت راستين انسان، آن گونه كه‏بايد، تحقق نمى‏يابد. در عين حال او آزادى را آزادى محدود مى‏داند؛ چرا كه آزادى تام، آزادى نيست: «گاهى لازمه برابرى،محدود كردن آزدى آن كسانى است كه ميل به سلطه دارند؛ شايد لازم باشد آزادى را محدود كنيم تا بتوانيم براى آزادى ديگران و برقرارى عدالت جايى باز كنيم.با اين كه برلين چه در اين اثر و چه در ساير آثارش مثل «چهار رساله در باره آزادى» يا «محبوس شمال» در قامت يك‏فيلسوف سياسى بزرگ و جامع‏نگر جلوه مى‏كند، اما جالب است كه خود او تعريف خاصى از فلسفه سياسى دارد «فلسفه‏سياسى چيزى نيست مگر به كار بستن علم اخلاق در مرود جامعه.» از همين جاست كه مى‏توان برلين را يك فيلسوف يا عالم‏اخلاق به شمار آورد و آموزه‏هاى او را در پرتو علم اخلاق خواند و فهميد. او مى‏گويد: اميد ما بايد بر اين پايه استوار باشد كه‏در يك «دنياى اخلاقى مشترك» زندگى كنيم و اين به نوعى تمام تلاش برلين است در تمام تأملات و نوشته‏ هايش

  • Daniel Withrow
    2018-12-23 08:11

    Like The Blank Slate, this book was a life-changer for me. Reading it convinced me that radicalism in politics is ultimately self-defeating, and that irreconcilable political opponents not simply can get along, but they must get along (with some rare exceptions, viz. Nazis). Liberalism isn't acceptance of those boneheads over there, but is rather the idea that failing to give them a voice will lead to something a lot worse.

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-15 10:34

    The essay on de Maistre and his horrifying proto-fascism is superb! I'll get to the others someday. Maybe after I've read Vico.

  • Mohammad Mirzaali
    2019-01-03 05:21

    با وجود این‌که نوع کنارهم نشستن مقالات باعث تکرارشدن برخی مضامین شده است، ولی آموختن از محضر برلین، آموختن از حکیمی دنیادیده تجربه‌ی گران‌بهایی بودبا این کتاب فهمیدم که چرا یوتوپیاها از بین رفتند، این‌که تکثر فرهنگی چیست و ویکو و هردر چه کمکی به آن کرده‌اند و نهایتا چرا اروپا دچار چنان جنگ‌هایی شد. ضمنا نباید از تک‌نگاری در مورد دومستر گذشت که شخصیت بسیار جذابی برای آشنایی بود

  • Jonathan
    2019-01-03 10:20

    "From the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made." -- Immanuel KantIsaiah Berlin sees human life as necessarily tragic, not because of human depravity in a Christian sense but because of the incompatibility of human goods. Humans will never be able to attain both perfect liberty and perfect equality, for example; they must make a difficult choice between them or seek only a partial measure of each. ("Total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs," in Berlin's famous formulation.) The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw terrifying ideologies arise either in denial of this fact (utopianism) or in relativistic perversion of it (nationalism) or both (fascism).Berlin suggests that the best response to the incompatibility of different goods is what he calls pluralism. Unlike relativism, he says, pluralism recognizes common human bonds that make communication -- even debate -- possible among different communities. But pluralism also recognizes that there is no comprehensive solution to human problems, and thus that other people may legitimately pursue different priorities from ours. This solution leaves much to be desired, but it might at least keep us from destroying each other.The collection seems a bit dated now, insofar as these essays were written to address mid-twentieth-century problems. One need not strain one's mind much, however, to imagine applications to the problems posed by political Islam, the "freedom agenda," European unification, or economic globalization. And Berlin's prose is a pleasure to read.

  • Matthew
    2018-12-24 05:24

    In this compelling examination of the historical roots of modern thinking Isaiah Berlin occupies himself with the clash of ideas between French Enlightenment thinkers on one side and a small group of irrationalist reactionaries on the other. He primarily focuses on Giambattista Vico, Johann Gottfried Herder, Joseph de Maistre and Johann Georg Hamann and discusses how their reaction against the enlightenment concept of universal truth led to the romantic movement and ultimately to fascism. Berlin's conclusion seems to be in favor of pluralism, rejecting the dangerous idea of man-made utopias as well as the equally damaging moral relativism that led to the nihilistic worship of blood, state and leader; both concepts that resulted in the bloodbaths of the 20th century. He also has some interesting views on the rise of the nation-state as a response to colonialism and the utter failure of Marxist Internationalism. He advocates a middle ground of pluralism and acceptance of differences with the realization that there are certain modals of acceptable behavior that cross cultural divides and make us human.

  • Patrick McCoy
    2019-01-19 05:35

    I’ve been intrigued by Isaiah Berlin ever since I found out that he was the author of the seminal essay on Tolstoy, “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” His collection of later essays, The Crooked Timber of History, was equally compelling. The first two essays, “The Pursuit of the Ideal” and “The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West,” were interesting in the discussion of the inevitable failure of utopian movements like communism and fascism due to the fact that ideals differ from culture to culture. This concept of cultural pluralism dominates the discourse in his essay, “Giambattista and Cultural History,” in which he calls Vico the true father of the modern concept of culture and cultural pluralism. The rest of the essays are equally thought provoking and compelling: “Alleged Relativism in Eighteen-Century European Thought,” Joseph de Mainstre and the Origins of Fascism,” “European Unity and its Vicissitudes,” “The Apotheosis of the Romantic Will,” and “The Bent Twig.” More often than not philosophical texts can be quite dry and hard to follow, however, I found Berlin’s style challenging but accessible.

  • Mohamadreza Rahnama
    2019-01-07 08:39

    در این کتاب آیزیا برلین سعی می کند تا با بررسی رابطه‌ اندیشه‌ها با تاریخ، ریشه‌های رخداد امر تاریخی را تبیین کند و در این راه فیلسوف لیبرالیست با باز گذاشتن خوانش برساختی از تاریخ غرب نقش سازه‌ها و اندیشه‌ها را بیش از آنچه‌ که‌ پیشتر تصور می شد به‌ مثابه‌ عاملی در اتفاق تاریخی دخیل می داند، برای مثال او معتقد است که‌ تفکری مانند مارکسیست وقتی نقش انقلاب و ستیز و تضاد را برجسته‌ می سازد، زمینه‌ مناسبی برای شکل گیری فاشیسم و سرکوب دیگری می شود، هر چند خود کتاب قابل نقد و بحثهای بی شماری است اما با این حال ارزش ارزش آن را دارد که‌ به‌ تاریخ از منظری دیگر نگریست.

  • عبد الرّحمن
    2019-01-09 04:34

    الكتاب عبارة عن ٤ مقالات.المقالة الأولى تناقش مسألة اليوتوبيا، أو بالأصح تنتقد الأفكار الطوباوية، القائمة في الأغلب على أفكار من قبيل أن هناك طريقة واحدة للعيش هي أفضل من كل الطرق غيرها و تناسب كل الناس، و أنا من حيث المبدأ قابلة لأن تُعرف، و أن تُطبق، حتى ولو لم نعرف الإجابة عن الأسئلة المتعلقة بكيفيتها وماهيتها اليوم، لكنها موجودة.التانية بتناقش مسألة قريبة منها، وهي مسألة وحدة الطبيعة الإنسانية و فرضية أن هناك حقيقة واحدة لها و اهداف واحدة يمكن لكل البشر من ناحية المبدأ إدراكها. و فرضية معاكسة، حديثة نسبياً، بأن "البشر" ليسو جميعاً متساويين في إنسانيتهم، و أن بعض القوميات أو الأعراق صاحبة مرتبة أعلى و أهداف و قيم و مُثُل أعلى، و البشر الأدنى مرتبة ليسو قادرين على تفهم هذه المثل و القيم، مما يخولهم ويبرر لهم أن يقتلوهم مثلا في سبيل هذه القيم بدون معاتبة ضمير.المقالتين الثالثة و الرابعة تقريباً فيها تكرار لكثير من الأفكار الواردة في المقالتين السابقتين، مع نقاش وتحليل لأسباب نشوء الحركات القومية، ألمانيا القرن الثامن عشر مثالاً، من شعور بالدونية و الاستضعاف و الإذلال على يد الحضارات الأخرى "الأكثر رقياً و تحضراً" -الفرنسيين تحديداً- .

  • Alaa Alwahibi
    2019-01-07 04:16

    " من ضلع معوج عوج الضلع الذي خلق منه الإنسان لم يسبق أن نشأ شيء قويم تماما . "الكتاب عبارة عن دراسات وضعت للبحث عن إمكانية وضع معيار شامل يمكّن من اختيار حياة تليق بالبشر من خلال وضع اسس واضحة و قيم و أخلاق ثابتة لا مجال للخلاف فيها حيث أنه ليست جميع المثل العليا عند البشر على مر العصور كانت واحدة و قد تتضارب أحيانا تبعا لاختلاف أنماط الحياه لمجتمعات ذات مواريث و مفاهيم و تصنيفات و رؤى متباينة في الحياة و هذا ما يعقد من آلية وضع هذا المعيار ولعل هذه الصعوبة التي تنتهي إلى الاستحالة هي من صميم بشريتنا .. إذ لا يمكن للبشرية خارج الزمان و المكان أن تمتثل لقوانين أبدية خارج سطوة التحكم البشري .. و أي محاولة جرت لايجاد المجتمع الكامل لم يتأتى منها إلا الدمار و الدماء .. فلا يتسنى للبشر عيش حيواتهم كاملة الا في مجتمعات ذات تركيب مفتوح .. التنوع فيها ليس متاحا فحسب بل يتم استحسانه و تشجيعه .الكتاب يفتح مداركنا أكثر حول معنى أن يكون الكائن بشراً .. و يناقش الموضوع من كافة أوجهه عارضا أفكار السابقين من المفكرين و الفلاسفة ومن قادوا حملات تحمل شعارات الفضيلة و المجتمع الإنساني المتكامل !

  • Shane Avery
    2019-01-18 10:19

    A collection of essays from the renown historian Isaiah Berlin, who essentially offers an entirely reasonable and nuanced argument for abandoning Platonic ideals, absolute ethical values, categorical imperatives, and quests for Utopia. Berlin offers a pluralistic, cultural approach to understanding human affairs, not unlike the Italian historian Vico. As humans, we are capable of understanding other humans, and their values, actions, and customs. We can criticise and condemn other cultures, but we must not pretend that we are incapable of understanding why different peoples act differently. To Berlin, the search for perfection is a recipe for bloodshed. One culture cannot foist values upon another, for the very reason that one cannot legislate unintended consequences, changing values, and the diversity of equally valid human ends.So it's value pluralism. But aren't there at least a few things which are universal? What are human rights?

  • Greg
    2019-01-06 10:32

    I'm currently reading Alan Ryan's _On Politics_, a new survey of political theory from the Greeks to the present. In the introduction, Ryan states that Isaiah Berlin's essays provide one model or ideal for his project, in terms of their extraordinary vividness and an almost uncanny ability to engage with the temperament of the thinkers he wrote about. That's a better blurb than I could write, and it rings true.During the fight against fascism and the Cold War, Berlin was an important thinker. I don't think that his essays are quite as relevant today, but they do provide extremely readable access to the history of ideas.

  • AliceColours
    2019-01-21 11:12

    الكتاب كتاب صغير بحجمه, وكبير جداً بمضمونه, فهو يتضمن من الفكر الكثير, وكلها موضوعات مهمة وعظيمة منها؛ مقاصد الحياة عند عدد من المفكرين, والأسئلة التي يجب طرحها للوصول إلى تلك المقاصد, وماهية الإجابات وطرق الوصول إليها - إذا كان يمكن للبشر التوصل إليها من حيث المبدأ - ويتحدث عن الأفكار الطوباوية المختلفة في الغرب, وهناك وصف مثير للاهتمام لمسار البشرية عبر التاريخ, كما يتحدث عن الوحدة الأوربية ونشوء القوميات, وعن القيم والمثل العليا للبشر؛ ماذا تعني, وكيف تتصادم, ويتحدث أيضاً عن الهوية وغيرها.الكاتب ملم بالكثير وهو واسع الاطلاع, تتفاجأ كيف تتسع الصفحات القلال لكل هذه المعرفة وهذا الفكر.

  • Mitch
    2018-12-24 10:27

    A must. Berlin is one of the greatest sages of the previous century. When the misty fad of Foucault, Derrida and company has faded and we are in deep catastrophe and faced with the temptations to radical extremism violence and mad utopianism on the left and rigid reaction on the right Berlin will be needed.

  • Ed
    2019-01-11 03:24

    I recommend the chapters entitled "Joseph de Maistre and the Origins of Fascism" (available for download at the New York Review of Books' website), "The Apotheosis of the Romantic Will," and "The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West."

  • Tina
    2018-12-22 03:35

    Some books come to you at the right time and help you articulate your own thinking. After only 30 pages, my brain is on fire. I am awestruck by Berlin's depth, intelligence and synthesis of thought.

  • Mostafa othman
    2019-01-12 05:37

    يحتاج نظر أكثر !فيا حق سامحنا على التقصير !

  • Fadi
    2019-01-08 09:37

    Very well-written articles. Rich material. Brilliant insights into the history of ideas.

  • Amin Riahi
    2019-01-15 10:33

    ترجمه لی‌لا سازگار بسیار خوب است. فصل دومستر این کتاب بسیار جذاب است هر چند ظاهرا برلین در اواخر عمر نسبت به این فصل دیدگاه انتقادی داشت.

  • Mattsmom
    2019-01-04 06:28

    Absolutely exceptional. I highly recommend this book. Stimulating, thiught provoking and brilliant. Minds get hungry and are fed by this very kind of book.

  • Maurizio Manco
    2019-01-05 03:28

    "Beati coloro che accettano senza discutere la disciplina in cui vivono, che obbediscono liberamente agli ordini dei capi, spirituali o temporali, e ne rispettano appieno la parola come legge inviolabile; o coloro che sono pervenuti, per vie proprie, a convinzioni chiare e incrollabili su ciò che devono fare e ciò che devono essere, senza nutrire il minimo dubbio. Io posso dire soltanto che coloro che riposano su questi comodi letti dogmatici sono vittime di forme di miopia autoindotta e portano paraocchi che possono anche dare l’appagamento, ma non certo la comprensione di ciò che significa essere uomo." (La ricerca dell’ideale, pp. 34, 35)

  • Norah
    2019-01-03 04:25

    كان ايزايا برلين في كتابه هذا كمن يحاول رسمٓ لوحة أخلاقية إنسانية منطقية، مستخدماً بها تدرجات ألوان القرون المتتابعه، والفلسفات المختلفة، ليطل بنا من خلالها على حقيقة واحدة أصيلة وهي: أنه لا مقياس واحد ثابت لقياس الراحة، والسعادة، والإيمان، والصدق، والحرية لدى جميع الشعوب؛ فكل شعب له طبعته الخاصه ورؤيته المتفرده في كل مثال من المُثل التي يسعى إليها الإنسان. كما ينم أسلوب الكاتب، وكثرة التفاصيل التاريخية التي يدرجها، والأسماء التي يحدد بها حديثه عن سعة اطلاع وشغف بالمعرفة والوعي بها.

  • Tony
    2019-01-15 03:21

    It seemed a good time to read even a dated defense of liberal democracy, although a fine intellectual work will always seem to be timely. Berlin is European-focused and here wrestles repeatedly with the question of how the first half of the twentieth century went so wrong, and yet the essays are not so narrowly confined, drawing on an impressively broad familiarity with past and contemporary thinkers. In the end, the work conveys a humane voice speaking on behalf of humanism.

  • Yuri Zbitnoff
    2018-12-23 08:23

    If you’re interested in a contemporary philosopher who is able to put thousands of years into clear perspective, I would certainly place Sir Isaiah Berlin at or near the top of the list. Mr. Berlin’s vaunted reputation as an advocate for classical liberal principles and a first rate thought historian is entirely well deserved as The Crooked Timber of Humanity amply demonstrates. full review here:The Crooked Timber of Humanity - http://wp.me/p6lj8t-iv

  • Mark Singer
    2019-01-04 06:18

    A worthy successor to "Against The Current".All of the essays were informative, but the most important (to me) were "Joseph De Maistre and the Origins of Fascism", followed by "The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West", and "The Apotheosis of the Romantic Will: The Revolt against the Myth of an Ideal World".

  • Terra Videre
    2019-01-12 05:27

    Probably brilliant, but a difficult read.