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Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment$
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Laurence Brockliss and Ritchie Robertson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783930.001.0001

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Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, and the Enlightenment

Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, and the Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, and the Enlightenment
Source:
Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment
Author(s):

David Leopold

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783930.003.0002

This chapter assesses Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (1939), a book which offers an important snapshot of Berlin’s early understanding of topics that he continued to pursue: the nature of Enlightenment ideas, their impact on Marx’s thought, and the ‘counter-attack’ they provoked (from Hegel amongst others). The contrast with Berlin’s later views is sometimes striking. Marx is not treated as an archetypal Enlightenment thinker (but as having affinities and contrasts with Enlightenment thought); the Enlightenment influence on his writings is identified as broadly positive (responsible for its realism, clarity, and empirical insight); and Marx is not criticized for rejecting the truth of value pluralism (but for denying the historical importance of ideas and human agency).

Keywords:   Marx, communism, Condorcet, Plekhanov, Hegel

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