Monday, May 25, 2009

Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin (1909–97) was a British philosopher, historian of ideas, political theorist, educator and essayist. For much of his life he was renowned for his conversational brilliance, his defence of liberalism, his attacks on political extremism and intellectual fanaticism, and his accessible, coruscating writings on the history of ideas. His essay ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ (1958) contributed to a revival of interest in political theory in the English-speaking world, and remains one of the most influential and widely discussed texts in that field: admirers and critics agree that Berlin's distinction between positive and negative liberty remains, for better or worse, a basic starting-point for theoretical discussions of the meaning and value of political freedom. Late in his life, the greater availability of Berlin's numerous essays began to provoke increasing scholarly interest in his work, and particularly in the idea of value pluralism; that Berlin's articulation of value pluralism contains many ambiguities and even obscurities has only encouraged further work on the subject by other philosophers. (bio taken here)

Below is the final of a series of Mellon lectures delivered by Berlin in Washington in 1965. A book has been assembled titled The Roots of Romanticism that is a book format of the series of lectures.

Click here for lecture

philosophy bites: podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics

David Edmonds (on the right in the photo) is co-author of Wittgenstein's Poker - this focuses on a ten minute argument between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein. His other books - also written with John Eidinow - include Bobby Fischer Goes to War (on the notorious chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky) and Rousseau's Dog, which dissects the famous quarrel between David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His day job is making radio documentaries for the BBC.

Nigel Warburton (on the left in the photo) has written a number of books including Philosophy: The Basics, Philosophy: The Classics (some of which is available as a podcast) , Thinking from A to Z and The Art Question. He is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University. He has also made a number of programmes for BBC Radio 4, writes a weblog called Virtual Philosopher and regularly leads courses on the philosophy of art at Tate Modern. His latest book, Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction, will be published in February 2009

Simon Blackburn, Quentin Skinner, Alain de Bottom, Roger Crisp, Barry Stroud, Peter Singer, Michael Sandel, Tim Scanlon, and Ray Monk are among the over 90 people interviewed so far.

Click here for an archive of past interviews

John Searle

John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is an American philosopher and the Slusser Professor of Philosophy and Mills Professor of Philosophy of Mind and Language at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and social philosophy, he was the first tenured professor to join the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley. He received the Jean Nicod Prize in 2000, and the National Humanities Medal in 2004. (bio taken here)

Below is a celebration of John Searle’s 50 years of distinguished service to the UC Berkeley campus, with reflections by Tom Nagel, Barry Stroud, Robert Cole, Alex Pines, Peter Hanks, and Maya Kronfeld.

Click here for program website