Liberty Incorporating Four Essays On Liberty

Liberty is the new and expanded edition of Isaiah Berlin’s Four Essays on Liberty, a modern classic of liberalism. These essays, of which the best known is ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, do not offer a systematic account of liberalism, but instead deploy a view of being, knowledge, and value which was calculated by Berlin to rule totalitarian thinking out of court. The new edition adds to the four, ‘From Hope and Fear set free’, which reinforces Berlin’s argument and which he wanted to include in the original edition. Three further essays, and three autobiographical appendices have been included, ... More

Liberty is the new and expanded edition of Isaiah Berlin’s Four Essays on Liberty, a modern classic of liberalism. These essays, of which the best known is ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’, do not offer a systematic account of liberalism, but instead deploy a view of being, knowledge, and value which was calculated by Berlin to rule totalitarian thinking out of court. The new edition adds to the four, ‘From Hope and Fear set free’, which reinforces Berlin’s argument and which he wanted to include in the original edition. Three further essays, and three autobiographical appendices have been included, so that all Berlin’s principal statements on liberty are gathered together. The whole is introduced by Berlin’s editor, Henry Hardy.

Keywords: Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty, Henry Hardy, knowledge, liberalism, liberty, totalitarianism, Two Concepts of Liberty, value

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002Print ISBN-13: 9780199249893
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003DOI:10.1093/019924989X.001.0001

A magnificent and indispensable volume: the best introduction to the most important and enduring of Berlin's ideas. - John Gray

For anyone wishing to have the essence of Berlin's thinking, Liberty is the volume to have. - John Banville, Irish Times

'Liberty not only offers a comprehensive overview of Isaiah Berlin's main topics and ideas, but also enables us to understand the development and relevance of those ideas in the context of his personality. - Steffen Gross, Dialektik

Practically every paragraph introduces us to half a dozen new ideas and as many thinkers - the landscape flashes past, peopled with familiar and unfamiliar people, all arguing incessantly. It is all a very long way from the austere eloquence of Mill's marvellous essay On Liberty, with which this collection's title seems to challenge comparison; but it is a measure of the stature of these essays that they stand such a comparison. - Alan Ryan, New Society

These famous essays ... are informed by that radical humanism, in the truest sense of that impoverished word, which has attached Sir Isaiah so closely to such nineteenth century figures as Herzen and Mill ... - Philip Toynbee, Observer

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