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Berlin, Sir Isaiah

Sir Isaiah Berlin, 1909–97, English political scientist, b. Riga, Latvia (then in Russia). His family moved to St. Petersburg when he was a boy and emigrated to London in 1921. He was educated at Oxford, where he became a fellow (1932), a professor of social and political theory (1957–67), and president of Wolfson College (1966–75). In The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), Berlin explored Leo Tolstoy's view of irresistible historical forces, and in Historical Inevitability (1954) he attacked both determinist and relativist approaches to history as superficial and fallacious. His other works include Karl Marx (3d ed. 1963), Four Essays on Liberty (1969), Personal Impressions (1980), and the essay collection The Proper Study of Mankind (1997). He was knighted in 1957.

See his Letters, 1928–1946 (2004, ed. by H. Hardy); biographies by J. Gray (1996) and M. Ignatieff (1998).

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Berlin, Sir Isaiah

Berlin, Sir Isaiah (1909–97) British philosopher and historian of ideas, b. Latvia. Berlin and A. J. Ayer introduced logical positivism into British philosophy. He was a staunch defender of pluralism and liberalism. Two Concepts of Liberty was his influential, inaugural lecture as Chichele professor (1957–67) of social and political theory, Oxford. Berlin's essay on Tolstoy, The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), is a classic historical study.

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