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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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Between Friedrich Meinecke and Ernst Cassirer

Between Friedrich Meinecke and Ernst Cassirer

Isaiah Berlin’s Bifurcated Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Between Friedrich Meinecke and Ernst Cassirer
Source:
Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment
Author(s):

Avi Lifschitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783930.003.0004

This chapter explores the hitherto neglected influence of Friedrich Meinecke on Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between a mostly French Enlightenment and its alleged rivals in Germany. Highlighting the structural and terminological similarities between Berlin’s account of the Counter-Enlightenment and Meinecke’s description of the precursors of historicism, it also provides as yet unpublished evidence from Berlin’s correspondence to this effect. Berlin’s endorsement of Meinecke’s dichotomy between Enlightenment and pre-historicism is situated against his distaste for attempts to reveal cross-currents and common themes in eighteenth-century thought. This aversion to the study of transnational links in the Enlightenment is manifest in Berlin’s hostile reaction to Ernst Cassirer’s work on the topic.

Keywords:   Meinecke, Hegel, Deutsche Bewegung, historicism, Cassirer

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