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Sir Isaiah Berlin

Berlin, Sir Isaiah, 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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