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Concepts and Categories:
Philosophical Essays
Second Edition
Isaiah Berlin
Edited by Henry Hardy
Introduction by Bernard Williams
With a new foreword by Alasdair MacIntyre

Paperback | 2013 | $24.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691157498
384 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
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Isaiah Berlin's Web Page

"The goal of philosophy is always the same, to assist men to understand themselves and thus to operate in the open, not wildly in the dark."--Isaiah Berlin

This volume of Isaiah Berlin's essays presents the sweep of his contributions to philosophy from his early participation in the debates surrounding logical positivism to his later work, which more evidently reflects his life-long interest in political theory, the history of ideas, and the philosophy of history. Here Berlin describes his view of the nature of philosophy, and of its main task: to uncover the various models and presuppositions--the concepts and categories--that men bring to their existence and that help form that existence. Throughout, his writing is informed by his intense consciousness of the plurality of values, the nature of historical understanding, and of the fragility of human freedom in the face of rigid dogma.

This new edition adds a number of previously uncollected pieces that throw further light on Berlin's central philosophical concerns, and a revealing exchange of letters with the editor and Bernard Williams about the genesis of the book.


"Being a man of the liveliest and most ingenious intellect, [Berlin] must wish that reason could do more to transform the human condition radically and quickly; being a man of common sense he knows it cannot."--Edward Crankshaw, The Observer

"He left the moral quality of his voice behind him, in the long tumbling paragraphs and the clauses within clauses of his best essays, and it is to these that we can turn when we need to remind ourselves what intellectual life can be: joyful, free of illusion, and vitally alive."--Michael Ignatieff, The New York Review of Books


"In a dark century, he showed what a life of the mind should be: skeptical, ironical, dispassionate and free."--Michael Ignatieff

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Alasdair MacIntyre xi
Editor's Preface xix
Author's Preface xxv
Introduction by Bernard Williams xxix
The Purpose of Philosophy 1
Verification 15
Empirical Propositions and Hypothetical Statements 41
Logical Translation 72
Equality 106
The Concept of Scientific History 135
Does Political Theory Still Exist? 187
From Hope and Fear Set Free 226
Appendix to the Second Edition
Made of Wax after All 261
My Philosophical Views 277
Interview on Concepts and Categories 284
Logical Positivism 305
The Rationality of Value Judgements 315
Is a Philosophy of History Possible? 318
Pluralism and Liberalism (with Bernard Williams) 325
The Philosophy of Charles Taylor 331
Index 335

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Henry Hardy:

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Isaiah Berlin:

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Bernard Williams:

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