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(12/31/2008) Vico & Herder by Isaiah Berlin. New York. 1976. Viking Press. keywords: Philosophy History Vico Herder. 228 pages. Jacket design by Abner Graboff. 0670745855. May 1976.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This long-awaited book by one of the foremost philosopher-historians of the English-speaking world is concerned with two men of the Enlightenment whose work marks a watershed between old-fashioned chronological history and the perspectives of the modern discipline, and who thus 'opened doors to a great enlargement of the human spirit. ' The first study is of Giovanni Battista Vico, the Neapolitan philosopher who was overshadowed by Montesquieu in his own time but who has been rediscovered at intervals ever since Surely one of the profound and original thinkers of all time, he is shown to have even more to say to our age than to his own. Johann Gottfried Herder is sometimes called the father of European nationalism, but, as this study points out, he can be equally credited with the origination of populism, with the idea of the arts as the voice of their time and social milieu, and with the concept of the validity and autonomy of disparate cultures - all ideas at least as relevant today as they were in eighteenth-century Konigsberg. The two essays attempt, from different points of view, to assess the validity of applying the methods of the natural sciences to the study of human culture, and the treatment of this topic by two boldly original critics of the Enlightenment.

Sir Isaiah Berlin, OM, CBE, FBA, was a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, from 1932 to 1938 and from 1950 to 1966, and was a Fellow of New College from 1938 to 1950. He was Professor of Social and Political Theory in Oxford from 1957 to 1967, Founder and President of Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1966 to 1975, and Schweitzer Professor at CUNY from 1966 to 1971; and he has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Bryn Mawr, Chicago, and Princeton. He is the author of many works, including THE HEDGEHOG AND THE FOX, POUR ESSAYS ON LIBERTY, KARL MARX: HIS LIFE AND ENVIRONMENT, and THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT. In late winter 1976 Sir Isaiah traveled to New York to participate in a conference celebrating the 250th anniversary of Vico's LA SCIENZA NUOVA.

 

 

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