Concepts and Categories
Philosophical Essays - Second Edition
Edited by Henry Hardy
Introduction by Bernard Williams
With a new foreword by Alasdair MacIntyre
"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.
Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was one of the leading intellectual historians of the twentieth century and the founding president of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. His many books include The Hedgehog and the Fox, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Roots of Romanticism, and Against the Current (all Princeton). Henry Hardy, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is one of Isaiah Berlin's literary trustees. He has edited several other volumes by Berlin, and is currently preparing Berlin's letters and remaining unpublished writings for publication.