[NEW] Isaiah Berlin (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) | major berlin – Vietnamnhanvan

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First published Tue Oct 26, 2004; substantive revision Wed Jul 22, 2020

Isaiah Berlin (1909–97) was a naturalised British philosopher, historian of ideas, political theorist, educator, public intellectual and moralist, and essayist. He was renowned for his conversational brilliance, his defence of liberalism and pluralism, his opposition to political extremism and intellectual fanaticism, and his accessible, coruscating writings on people and 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 discussions of the meaning and value of political freedom. Later in his life, the greater availability of his numerous essays began to provoke increasing interest in his work, 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 this rich and important topic by other philosophers.

1. Life

Isaiah Berlin was born in 1909 in Riga (then capital of the Govenorate
of Livonia in the Russian Empire, now capital of Latvia), the only
surviving child (after a stillborn daughter) of Mendel Berlin, a
prosperous Russian Jewish timber merchant, and his wife Marie,
née Volshonok. In 1915 the family moved to the forestry town of
Andreapol’ (then in Russia’s Pskov Govenorate),
and in 1916 to Petrograd (now St Petersburg), where they remained
through both the Russian Revolutions of 1917, which Isaiah would
remember witnessing. Despite early harassment by the Bolsheviks, the
family was permitted to return to Riga with Latvian citizenship in
1920; from there they emigrated, in 1921, to Britain. They lived in
and around London; Isaiah attended St Paul’s School and Corpus
Christi College, Oxford, where he studied Greats (classical languages,
ancient history, and philosophy) and PPE (philosophy, politics and
economics), taking Firsts in both. In 1932 he was appointed to a
lectureship at New College; the same year he became the first Jew to
be elected to a Prize Fellowship at All Souls, considered one of the
highest accolades in British academic life.

Throughout the 1930s Berlin was deeply involved in the development of
what became known as Oxford philosophy, or ordinary language
philosophy; his friends and colleagues included J. L. Austin, A. J.
Ayer and Stuart Hampshire, all of whom met regularly (with others) in
Berlin’s rooms to discuss philosophy. However, he also evinced
an early interest in a more historical approach to philosophy, and in
social and political theory, reflected in his lectures and reviews of
the 1930s, as well as in his intellectual biography of Karl Marx
(1939), still in print, in its fifth edition (2013), over eighty years
later.

During the Second World War Berlin served in British Information
Services in New York City (1940–2) and at the British Embassy in
Washington, DC (1942–6), where he was responsible for drafting
weekly reports on the American political scene. For four months in
1945–6 he visited the Soviet Union: his meetings there with
surviving but persecuted members of the Russian intelligentsia,
particularly the poets Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak, reinforced
his staunch opposition to Communism, and had a formative influence on
his future intellectual agenda. After the war he returned to Oxford.
Although he continued to teach and write on philosophy throughout the
later 1940s and into the early 1950s, his interests had shifted to the
history of ideas, particularly Russian ideas, Marxist and other
socialist theories, and the Enlightenment and its critics. He also
began to publish widely-read articles on contemporary political and
cultural trends, political ideology, and the internal workings of the
Soviet Union. In 1950, election to a research fellowship at All Souls
allowed him to devote himself more fully to his historical, political
and literary interests, which lay well outside the mainstream of
philosophy as it was then practised and taught at Oxford. He was,
however, one of the first of the founding generation of Oxford
philosophers to make regular visits to American universities, and
played an important part in spreading ‘Oxford philosophy’
to the USA.

In 1957, a year after he had married Aline Halban (née de
Gunzbourg), Berlin was elected Chichele Professor of Social and
Political Theory at Oxford (his inaugural lecture, delivered in 1958,
was Two Concepts of Liberty). Later in 1957 he was knighted.
He resigned his chair in 1967, the year after becoming founding
President of Wolfson College, Oxford (which he essentially created),
retiring in 1975. In his later years he hoped to write a major work on
the history of European Romanticism, but this hope was unfulfilled.
From 1966 to 1971 he was also a visiting Professor of Humanities at
the City University of New York, and he served as President of the
British Academy from 1974 to 1978. Collections of his writings, edited
by Henry Hardy (sometimes with a co-editor), began appearing in 1978:
there are, to date, fourteen such volumes (plus new editions of four
works published previously by Berlin), as well as an anthology,
The Proper Study of Mankind, and a four-volume edition of his
letters. Berlin received the Agnelli, Erasmus and Lippincott Prizes
for his work on the history of ideas, and the Jerusalem Prize for his
lifelong defence of civil liberties, as well as numerous honorary
degrees. He died in 1997.

1.1 Intellectual Development

An early influence on Berlin was a waning British Idealism, as
expounded by T. H. Green, Bernard Bosanquet and F. H. Bradley. While
an undergraduate, Berlin was converted to the Realism of G. E. Moore
and John Cook Wilson. By the time he began teaching philosophy he had
joined a new generation of rebellious empiricists, some of whom (most
notably A. J. Ayer) embraced the logical positivist doctrines of the
Vienna Circle and Wittgenstein’s earlier writings. Although
Berlin was always sceptical towards logical positivism, its suspicion
of metaphysical claims and its preoccupation with the nature and
authority of knowledge strongly influenced his early philosophical
enquiries. These, combined with his historical bent, led him back to
the study of earlier British empiricists, particularly Berkeley and
Hume, on whom he lectured in the 1930s and late 1940s, and about whom
he contemplated writing books (which never materialised).

Berlin was also influenced by Kant and his successors. His first
philosophical mentor was an obscure Russian Jewish Menshevik
émigré named Solomon Rachmilevich, who had studied
philosophy at several German universities, and who introduced Berlin
to the great ideological quarrels of Russian history, as well as to
the history of German philosophy since Kant. Later, at Oxford, R. G.
Collingwood fostered Berlin’s interest in the history of ideas,
introducing him in particular to such founders of historicism as
Giambattista Vico and J. G. Herder. Collingwood also reinforced
Berlin’s belief – heavily influenced by Kant – in
the importance to human life of the basic concepts and categories in
terms of which human beings organise and analyse their experience (see
further 2.1 and note 2).

While working on his biography of Marx in the mid 1930s, Berlin came
across the works of two Russian thinkers who would be important
influences on his political and historical outlook. One of these was
Alexander Herzen, who became a hero, and to whom Berlin would
sometimes attribute many of his own beliefs about history, politics
and ethics. The other was the Russian Marxist publicist and historian
of philosophy G. V. Plekhanov. Despite his opposition to Marxism,
Berlin admired and praised Plekhanov both as a man and as a historian
of ideas. It was initially by reading Plekhanov’s writings that
Berlin became interested in the naturalistic, empiricist and
materialist thinkers of the Enlightenment, as well as their Idealist
and historicist critics. Both Herzen and Plekhanov fuelled
Berlin’s absorption in the political debates of nineteenth- and
early twentieth-century Russian liberals and radicals of various
stripes, which in turn informed his concern with both the philosophy
of history and the ethics of political action.

During the Second World War, separated from his Oxford philosophical
brethren, and exposed to political action, Berlin began to drift away
from his early philosophical concerns. His doubts were encouraged by a
meeting with the Harvard logician H. M. Sheffer, who asserted that
genuine increase in knowledge was possible only in such hybrid
subfields of philosophy as logic and psychology. His meeting with
Sheffer led Berlin to realise that he lacked the passion and the
belief in his own ability to continue pursuing pure philosophy. He
concluded that as a professional philosopher (as he then understood
that role) he would make no original contributions, and would end his
life knowing no more than he did when he began. He therefore
determined to switch to the history of ideas, in which (he believed)
originality was less essential, and which would allow him to learn
more than he already knew. Berlin’s approach to the history of
ideas would, however, remain deeply informed by his philosophical
persona, as well as by his political beliefs. His historical work was,
in effect, the practice of philosophy in a historical key.

By the early 1950s Berlin’s central beliefs had crystallised
from the confluence of his philosophical preoccupations, historical
studies, and political and moral commitments and anxieties; and his
major ideas were either already fully formed, or developing. Such
essays of the late 1950s as Two Concepts of Liberty served as
the occasion for a synthesis and solidification of his thoughts.
Berlin had always been a liberal; but from the early 1950s the defence
of liberalism became central to his intellectual concerns. This
defence was, characteristically, closely related to his moral beliefs
and to his preoccupation with the nature and role of values in human
life. In the early 1960s Berlin’s focus moved from the more
political concerns that occupied him in the 1950s to an examination of
the nature of the humanities. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he was
working on the history of ideas, and from the mid 1960s nearly all of
his writings took the form of essays in this field, particularly on
the Romantic and reactionary critics of the Enlightenment. In the
final decades of his life Berlin continued to refine and re-articulate
his ideas, and particularly his formulation of pluralism; but his
course was set, and he appears to have been little affected by later
intellectual developments.

2. Philosophy of Knowledge and the Humanities

2.1 Conception of Philosophy

Berlin’s conception of philosophy was shaped by his early
exposure to, and rejection of, both Idealism and logical
positivism.[1] With the former he associated an excessively exalted view of
philosophy as the ‘queen of the sciences’, capable of
establishing fundamental, necessary, absolute, universal truths. With
the latter he associated the reductionist and deflationary view of
philosophy as, at best, a handmaiden to the sciences, and at worst a
sign of intellectual immaturity bred of scientistic confusion and
credulity.

Berlin’s approach combined a sceptical empiricism with
neo-Kantianism to offer a defence of philosophy. Like Vico and Wilhelm
Dilthey, as well as neo-Kantians such as Heinrich Rickert and Wilhelm
Windelband, Berlin insisted on the fundamental difference between the
sciences and the humanities. He classed philosophy among the
humanities, but even there its status was unique. Those working in
other fields aimed to discover authoritative methods for acquiring
knowledge of the subjects to which they were devoted. Philosophy,
however, was for Berlin concerned with questions which not only could
not at present be answered, but for which no clearly proper method of
discovering an answer was known (see e.g. ‘The Purpose of
Philosophy’ in 1978b and 2000a).

In the case of non-philosophical questions, even if the answer is
unknown, the means for discovering the answer is known, or accepted,
by most people. Thus questions of empirical fact can be answered by
observation. Other questions can be answered deductively, by referring
to established rules: this is the case, for example, with mathematics,
grammar and formal logic. For example, even if we do not know the
solution to a difficult mathematical problem, we do know the rules and
techniques that should lead us to the answer.

According to Berlin, philosophy concerns itself with questions of a
special, distinctive character. To such questions not only are the
answers not known, but neither are the means for arriving at answers,
or the standards of judgement by which to evaluate a suggested answer.
Thus the questions ‘How long does it take to drive from
x to y?’ or ‘What is the cube root of
729?’ are not philosophical; while ‘What is time?’
or ‘What is a number?’ are. ‘What is the purpose of
human life?’ or ‘Are all men brothers?’ are
philosophical questions, while ‘Do most of such-and-such a group
of men think of one another as brothers?’ or ‘What did
Luther believe was the purpose of life?’ are not.

Berlin related this view to Kant’s distinction between matters
of fact and those conceptual structures and categories that we use to
make sense of facts. Philosophy, being concerned with questions that
arise from our attempts to make sense of our experiences, involves
consideration of the concepts and categories through which experience
is perceived, organised and explained.

While Kant saw these organising categories as fixed and universal,
Berlin believed that they are, to different degrees, varying,
transient or malleable. ‘All our categories are, in theory,
subject to change’ (2002b, 144, note 1). No categories are
wholly prior to, or independent of, experience, even though in
practice some of them are pragmatically fixed, whether by the world or
by our minds or both. Rather, the ideas in terms of which we make
sense of the world are closely tied up with our experiences: they
shape those experiences, and are shaped by them, and as experience
varies from one time and place to another, so do basic
concepts.[2] Recognition of the basic concepts and categories of human experience
differs both from the acquisition of empirical information and from
deductive reasoning, for the categories are logically prior to,
presupposed by, both.

Philosophy, then, is the study of the ‘thought-spectacles’
through which we view the world; and since at least some of these
change over time, at least some philosophy is necessarily historical.
Because these categories are so important to every aspect of our
experience, philosophy – even if it is always tentative and
often seems abstract and esoteric – is a crucially important
activity, which responds to the vital, ineradicable human need to
describe and explain the world of experience.

Berlin insisted on philosophy’s social usefulness, however
indirect and
unobtrusive.[3] By bringing to light often subconscious presuppositions and models,
and scrutinising their validity, philosophy identifies errors and
confusions that lead to misunderstanding, distort experience, and thus
do real harm. Because philosophy calls commonly accepted assumptions
into question, it is inherently subversive, opposed to all orthodoxy,
and often troubling; but this is inseparable from what makes
philosophy valuable, and indeed indispensable, as well as liberating.
Philosophy’s goal, Berlin concluded, was ‘to assist men to
understand themselves and thus operate in the open, and not wildly, in
the dark’ (1978b, 14).

2.2 Basic Propositions: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Logic

Perhaps the most important work Berlin did in ‘pure’
philosophy, in the light of his later ideas, concerned ‘logical
translation.’[4] In his essay of that title (reprinted in 1978b), Berlin criticised
the assumption that all statements, to be genuine and meaningful, or
to claim correctness, must be capable of being translated into a
single, ‘good’ type of proposition, and asserted that the
ideal of a single proper type of proposition was illusory and
misleading. He identified two different, opposed approaches based on
this erroneous assumption. One was the ‘deflationary’
approach, which sought to assimilate all propositions to one true
type. Thus, phenomenalism sought to translate all statements into
assertions about immediately perceived sense data. The other was the
‘inflationary’ approach, which posited entities
corresponding to all statements, thus ‘creating’ or
asserting the existence of things that didn’t exist at all. Both
of these errors stemmed from a demand for a ‘forcible
assimilation’ of all propositions to a single type. Berlin
suggested that such a demand was based, not on a true perception of
reality, but rather on a psychological need for certainty, uniformity
and simplicity, as well as what he termed the ‘Ionian
Fallacy’, the assumption that everything is made out of, or can
be reduced to or understood in terms of, one and the same substance or
type.[5]

Berlin insisted that there is no single criterion of meaningfulness,
no absolutely incorrigible type of knowledge. The quest for certainty
was self-defeating: to restrict oneself to saying only that which
could be said without any doubt or fear of being mistaken was to
sentence oneself to silence. To say anything about the world requires
bringing in something other than immediate experience:

The vast majority of the types of reasoning on which our beliefs rest,
or by which we should seek to justify them […], are not
reducible to formal deductive or inductive schemata, or combinations
of them. […] The web is too complex, the elements too many and
not, to say the least, easily isolated and tested one by one;
[…] we accept the total texture, compounded as it is out of
literally countless strands – […] without the
possibility, even in principle, of any test for it in its totality.
For the total texture is what we begin and end with. There is no
Archimedean point outside it whence we can survey the whole and
pronounce upon it. […] It is the sense of the general texture
of experience […] that is itself not open to inductive or
deductive reasoning: for both these methods rest upon it. (1978b,
149–50)

At the heart of Berlin’s philosophy was an awareness of the
enormous variety and complexity of reality, which we can only begin to
comprehend: the many strands that make up human experience are
‘too many, too minute, too fleeting, too blurred at the edges
[to be integrated into a total picture of experience]. They
criss-cross and penetrate each other at many levels simultaneously,
and the attempt to prise them apart […] and pin them down, and
classify them, and fit them into their specific compartments, turns
out to be impracticable’ (1978b, 156).

These two closely related propositions – that absolute certainty
is an impossible ideal (Berlin once wrote that, if his work displayed
any ‘single tendency’, it was a ‘distrust of all
claims to the possession of incorrigible knowledge about issues of
fact or principle in any sphere of human behaviour’: 1978a, x),
and that not everything can or should be reduced or related to a
single ideal, model, theory or standard – might be considered
the centrepieces of Berlin’s philosophy. They are central to his
view of language and knowledge; they are equally important to his
ethics and his philosophy of the humanities. Also central to these
different facets of his thought was Berlin’s emphasis on the
importance, and indeed priority, of particular things as objects of
knowledge and of individual people as moral subjects.

2.3 The Distinction between the Sciences and the Humanities

Berlin’s individualism, the influence on him of neo-Kantianism,
and what one scholar (Allen 1998) has called his anti-Procrusteanism
– his opposition to attempts dogmatically and inappropriately to
impose standards or models on aspects of human experience which they
don’t fit – shaped his view of what he usually referred to
as the ‘humanities’ (sometimes as ‘humane
studies’) and their relationship to the (natural) sciences. By
‘humanities’ he meant all disciplines concerned with the
study of human conduct and experience – thus encompassing many
so-called ‘social sciences’ as well as the fields of study
traditionally classed as ‘humanities’ (see note 1).

Berlin criticised the positivist view of the sciences as the
paradigmatic form of knowledge, which the humanities should measure
themselves by and seek to emulate. He argued that the humanities
differed fundamentally from the sciences both in the nature of their
subject matter (as Vico and Dilthey had maintained), and in the sort
of knowledge that they sought (as Rickert insisted). As a result,
different methods, standards and goals were appropriate to each.

Most obviously, the humanities study the world that human beings
create for themselves and inhabit, while the sciences study the
physical world of nature. Why should this make a difference to the way
they are studied? One answer is that the two worlds are fundamentally
different in themselves. But Berlin preferred the argument that the
human and natural worlds must be studied differently because of the
differing relationship between the observer or thinker and the object
of study. We study nature from without, culture from within. In the
humanities the scholar’s own ways of thinking, the fabric of his
or her life, every facet of his or her experience is part of the
object of study. The sciences, on the other hand, aim to understand
nature objectively and dispassionately. The scientist must take as
little for granted as possible, preferring hard evidence to
‘common sense’ when they diverge. But in the humanities
one cannot act in this manner: to study human life, it is necessary to
begin from our understanding of other human beings, of what it is to
have motives and feelings. Such understanding is based on our own
experience, which in turn necessarily involves certain
‘common-sense’ assumptions, which we use to fit our
experience into patterns that make it explicable and comprehensible.
These patterns may be more or less accurate; and we can judge their
accuracy by seeing how well they fit experience as we know it. But we
cannot divest ourselves entirely of the assumptions that underlie
them. (The human world can also itself be a legitimate subject of
scientific study, of course, but only incompletely, by bracketing off
what makes it distinctive. Cf. note 7.)

Berlin asserted that the humanities also differed from the sciences in
that the former were concerned with understanding the particulars of
human life in and of themselves, while the sciences sought to
establish general laws which could explain whole classes of phenomena.
The sciences are concerned with types, the humanities with
individuals. Scientists concentrate on similarities and look for
regularities; at least some practitioners of the humanities –
historians, in particular – are interested in differences. To be
a good historian requires a ‘concentrated interest in particular
events or persons or situations as such, and not as instances of a
generalisation’ (1978b, 180). The humanities should not aim to
emulate the sciences by seeking laws to explain or predict human
actions, but should concern themselves with understanding every
particular human phenomenon in its uniqueness. In the case of a
science we think it more rational to put our trust in general laws
than in specific phenomena; in the case of the humanities, the
opposite is true. If someone claims to have witnessed a phenomenon
that contradicts well-established laws of science, we seek an
explanation that will reconcile that perception with science; if none
is possible, we may conclude that the witness is deceived. In the case
of history we do not usually do this: we look at particular phenomena
and seek to explain them in
themselves.[6] There are, Berlin claimed, ‘more ways than one to defy
reality’. It is unscientific to ‘defy, for no good logical
or empirical reason, established hypotheses and laws’. But it is
unhistorical, on the other hand, to ‘ignore or twist one’s
view of particular events, persons, predicaments in the name of laws,
theories, principles derived from other fields, logical, ethical,
metaphysical, scientific, which the nature of the medium renders
inapplicable’ (1978b, 185).

Berlin emphasised the importance to a sense of history of the idea of
its ‘one-directional’ flow (ibid., 144). This sense of
historical reality makes it seem not merely inaccurate, but
implausible, and indeed ridiculous, to suggest, for example, that
Hamlet was written in the court of Genghis Khan (ibid., 142,
175). The historical sense involves, not knowledge of what happened
– this is acquired by empirical means – but a sense of
what is plausible and implausible, coherent and incoherent, in
accounting for human action (1978b, 183). There is no a priori
shortcut to such knowledge. Historical thinking is much more like the
operation of common sense, involving the weaving together of various
logically independent concepts and propositions, and bringing them to
bear on a particular situation as best we can, than like the
application of laws or formulae. The ability to do this is a knack
– judgement, or a sense of reality (1978b, 152).

Understanding of history is based on knowledge of humanity, which is
derived from direct experience, consisting not merely of
introspection, but of interaction with others. This is the basis for
Verstehen, or imaginative understanding: the
‘recognition of a given piece of behaviour as being part and
parcel of a pattern of activity which we can follow, […] and
which we describe in terms of the general laws which cannot possibly
all be rendered explicit (still less organised into a system), but
without which the texture of normal human life – social or
personal – is not conceivable’ (1978b, 168). The challenge
of history is the need for the individual to go beyond his or her own
experience, which is the basis of his or her ability to conceive of
human behaviour. We must reconstruct the past not only in terms of our
own concepts and categories, but in terms of how past events must have
looked to those who participated in them. The practice of history thus
requires gaining knowledge of what consciousness was like for other
persons, in situations other than our own, through an
‘imaginative projection of ourselves into the past’ in
order to ‘capture concepts and categories that differ from those
of the investigator by means of concepts and categories that cannot
but be his own. […] Without a capacity for empathy and
imagination beyond any required by a physicist, there is no vision of
either past or present, neither of others nor of ourselves’
(1978b, 177–8). Historical reconstruction and explanation
involves ‘entering into’ the motives, principles, thoughts
and feelings of others; it is based on a capacity for knowing like
that of knowing someone’s character or face (1978b,
173–5).

2.4 Free Will and Determinism

The sort of historical understanding that Berlin sought to depict was
‘related to moral and aesthetic analysis’. It conceives of
human beings not merely as organisms in space, but as ‘active
beings, pursuing ends, shaping their own and others’ lives,
feeling, reflecting, imagining, creating, in constant interaction and
intercommunication with other human beings; in short, engaged in all
the forms of experience that we understand because we share in them,
and do not view them purely as external observers’ (1978b,
173–4). For Berlin, the philosophy of history was tied not only
to epistemology, but to ethics. The best-known and most controversial
facet of his writings on the relationship of history to the sciences
was his discussion of the problem of free will and determinism, which
in his hands took on a distinctly moral
cast.[7] In Historical Inevitability Berlin radically questioned
determinism (the view that human beings do not possess free will, that
their actions and indeed thoughts are predetermined by forces beyond
their control) and historical inevitability (the view that all that
occurs in the course of history does so because it must, that history
pursues a particular course which cannot be altered, and which can be
discovered, understood and described through laws of historical
development). In particular he mounted a critique of the belief that
history is controlled by impersonal forces beyond human control.

Berlin did not assert that determinism was untrue, but rather that to
accept it required a radical transformation of the language and
concepts we use to think about human life – especially a
rejection of the idea of individual moral responsibility. To praise or
blame individuals, to hold them responsible, is to assume that they
have some control over their actions, and could have chosen
differently. If individuals are wholly determined by unalterable
forces, it makes no more sense to praise or blame them for their
actions than it would to blame someone for being ill, or praise
someone for obeying the laws of gravity. Indeed, Berlin further
suggested that acceptance of determinism – that is, the complete
abandonment of the concept of human free will – would lead to
the collapse of all meaningful rational activity as we know it.

This is an extension into the realm of the understanding of human
beings of Kant’s ‘Copernican’ revolution (to use
Kant’s own epithet). Kant gave full recognition, for the first
time, to the inescapable contribution made by our minds to grasping
the non-human world; Berlin mirrors this move with a scarcely less
fundamental claim of his own, that there are equally inescapable ways
in which, at any given time or at all times known to us, we cannot but
think of and understand the behaviour and experience of our own
kind.

The basic categories (with their corresponding concepts) in terms of
which we define men – such notions as society, freedom, sense of
time and change, suffering, happiness, productivity, good and bad,
right and wrong, choice, effort, truth, illusion (to take them wholly
at random) – are not matters of induction and hypothesis. To
think of someone as a human being is ipso facto to bring all
these notions into play; so that to say of someone that he is a man,
but that choice, or the notion of truth, mean nothing to him, would be
eccentric: it would clash with what we mean by ‘man’ not
as a matter of verbal definition (which is alterable at will), but as
intrinsic to the way in which we think, and (as a matter of
‘brute’ fact) evidently cannot but think. (CC2 217)

Here ‘freedom’ means the centrally important concept of
free will. We cannot help experiencing human behaviour as causally
undetermined and freely chosen. That we have free will is not a
scientific hypothesis, but a precondition of our experience of
humanity, to abandon which would leave our world-view in ruins.
(Whether this entails that determinism is false is a further question,
which Berlin does not fully confront; nor do we pursue it here.)

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Berlin also insisted that belief in historical inevitability was
inspired by psychological needs, and not required by known facts; and
that it had dangerous moral and political consequences, justifying
suffering and undermining respect for the ‘losers’ of
history. A belief in historical inevitability served as an
‘alibi’ for evading responsibility and blame, and for
committing enormities in the name of necessity or reason. It provided
an excuse both for acting badly and for not acting at
all.[8]

Berlin’s insistence on the importance of the idea of free will,
and the incompatibility of consistent and thoroughgoing determinism
with our basic sense of ourselves and our experience as human beings,
was closely tied to his liberalism and pluralism, with their emphasis
on the importance, necessity and dignity of individual choice. This
insistence involved him in a number of debates with other philosophers
and historians in the 1950s and early 1960s, and helped to provoke a
spate of writing in the English-speaking world on the philosophy of
history, which might otherwise have languished.

Also controversial was Berlin’s claim that the writing and
contemplation of history necessarily involves moral evaluation. He did
not, as some of his critics charged (e.g. Carr 1961), mean this as a
call for moralising on the part of historians. Berlin’s argument
was that, first, our normal way of regarding human beings as agents
who make choices necessarily involves moral evaluation; to eliminate
moral evaluation from our thinking completely would be to alter
radically the way that we view the world. Nor would such an alteration
truly move beyond moral evaluation; for strenuous attempts to be
morally neutral are themselves motivated by a moral commitment to the
ideal of impartiality. Furthermore, given the place of moral
evaluation in ordinary human thought and speech, an account couched in
morally neutral terms will fail accurately to reflect the experience
or self-perception of the historical actors in question. This last
argument was particularly important to Berlin, who believed that
historical writing should reflect and convey past actors’
understanding of their situation, so as to provide explanations of
why, thinking as they did, they acted as they did. He therefore
insisted that the historian must attend to the moral claims and
perceptions underlying historical events.

3. The History of Ideas

Berlin’s emphasis on the subversive, liberating, anti-orthodox
nature of philosophy was accompanied by a particular interest in
moments of radical change in the history of ideas, and in original and
often marginal thinkers, while his emphasis on the practical
consequences of ideas led him to focus on those transformations and
challenges which, in his view, had wrought particularly decisive
changes in people’s moral and political consciousness, and in
their behaviour. Finally, his concern with the conflicts of his own
day led him to concentrate mainly on modern intellectual history, and
to trace the emergence of certain ideas that he regarded as
particularly important, for good or ill, in the contemporary
world.[9]

Many of Berlin’s writings on the history of ideas were connected
to his philosophical work, and to one another, in their examination of
certain overarching themes. These included the relationship between
the sciences and the humanities; the philosophy of history; the
origins of nationalism and socialism; the revolt against what Berlin
called ‘monism’ in general, and scientism in particular,
in the early nineteenth century and thereafter; and the vicissitudes
of ideas of liberty.

The narrative of the history of ideas that Berlin developed and
refined over the course of his works began with the Enlightenment, and
focused on the initial rebellion against what he regarded as that
epoch’s dominant
assumptions.[10]

In Berlin’s account, the thinkers of the Enlightenment believed
human beings to be naturally either benevolent or malleable. This
created a tension within Enlightenment thought between the view that
nature dictates human ends, and the view that nature provides more or
less neutral material, to be moulded rationally and benevolently
(ultimately the same thing) by conscious human interventions –
education, legislation, rewards and punishment, the whole apparatus of
society.[11] Berlin also attributed to the Enlightenment the beliefs that all
human problems, both of knowledge and ethics, can be resolved through
the discovery and application of the proper method (generally reason,
the conception of which was based on the methods of the sciences,
particularly Newtonian physics); and that genuine human goods and
interests were ultimately compatible, so that conflict, like
wickedness, was the result of ignorance, misunderstanding, or
deception and oppression practiced by corrupt authorities
(particularly the
Church).[12]

Berlin saw the school (or schools) of thought that began to emerge
shortly before the French Revolution, and became ascendant during and
after it, as profoundly antagonistic towards the Enlightenment. He was
most interested in German Romanticism, but also looked at other
members of the larger tendency he referred to as the
‘Counter-Enlightenment’.[13] Berlin’s account sometimes focused on a attack on the
Enlightenment’s benevolent and optimistic liberalism by
nationalists and reactionaries; sometimes on the rejection of moral
and cultural universalism by champions of cultural particularism and
pluralism; and sometimes on the critique of naturalism and scientism
by thinkers who advocated a historicist view of society as essentially
dynamic, shaped not by the laws of nature, but by the unlawlike,
senseless contingencies of history.

Berlin has been viewed both as an adherent of the Enlightenment who
showed a fascination, whether eccentric or admirable, with its
critics; and as a critic and even opponent of the Enlightenment, who
frankly admired its enemies. There is some truth in both of these
pictures, neither of which does justice to the complexity of
Berlin’s views. Berlin admired many of the thinkers of the
Enlightenment, and explicitly regarded himself as ‘on their
side’ (Jahanbegloo 1992, 70); he believed that much of what they
had accomplished had been for the good; and, as an empiricist, he
recognised them as part of the same philosophical tradition to which
he belonged. But he also believed that they were wrong, and sometimes
dangerously so, about some of the most important questions of society,
morality and politics. He regarded their psychological and historical
vision as shallow, excessively uniform, and naive; and he traced to
the Enlightenment a technocratic, managerial view of human beings and
political problems to which he was profoundly opposed, and which, in
the late 1940s and early 1950s, he regarded as one of the gravest
dangers facing the world.

Berlin regarded the Enlightenment’s critics as in many ways
dangerous and deluded. He attacked or dismissed their metaphysical
beliefs, particularly the philosophies of history of Hegel and his
successors. He was also wary of the aesthetic approach to politics
that many Romantics had practised and fostered. And, while
appreciative of some elements in the Romantic conception of liberty,
he saw Romanticism’s influence on the development of the idea of
liberty as largely perverting. But at the same time he thought the
Enlightenment’s opponents had pointed to many important truths
that the Enlightenment had neglected or denied, both negative (the
power of unreason, and particularly the darker passions, in human
affairs) and positive (the inherent value of variety and of personal
virtues such as integrity and sincerity, and the centrality to human
nature and dignity of the capacity for choice). Romanticism rebelled
in particular against the constricting order imposed by reason, and
championed the human will. Berlin was sympathetic to this stance, but
also believed that the Romantics had gone too far both in their
protests and in their celebrations. He remained committed to the goal
of understanding the world so as to be able to ‘act rationally
in it and on it’ (1990, 2). His interest in critics of the
Enlightenment reflected both curiosity about the views of those with
whom he often disagreed, and a desire to learn from the most acute
challenges to a progressive, ‘liberal
rationalist’[14] (Jahanbegloo 1992, 70) or ‘rational-liberal’ (Berlin
2006a, 104) position, so as to appreciate, and repair, its
shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Berlin’s own articulation of
liberalism and pluralism attempted to integrate a defence of the
Enlightenment’s legacy with the insights of its critics.

4. Ethical Thought and Value Pluralism

The republication of Berlin’s numerous essays in thematic
collections, beginning with Four Essays on Liberty (1969) and
Vico and Herder (1976), and continuing at an increased pace
from 1978 under the general (and mostly specific) editorship of Henry
Hardy, served to highlight as a central dimension of Berlin’s
thought his advocacy of the doctrine of value pluralism (which he
himself called pluralism). Increasingly from the early 1990s value
pluralism has come to be seen by many as Berlin’s ‘master
idea’, and has become the most discussed, most admired and most
controversial of his ideas.

Value pluralism was indeed at the centre of Berlin’s ethical
thought; but there is more to that thought than value pluralism alone.
Berlin defined ethical thought as ‘the systematic examination of
the relations of human beings to one another, the conceptions,
interests and ideals from which human ways of treating one another
spring, and the systems of value on which such ends of life are
based’. These systems of value are ‘beliefs about how life
should be lived, what men and women should be and do’ (1990,
1–2). Just as Berlin’s conception of philosophy was based
on a belief about the important role of concepts and categories in
people’s lives, his conception of ethics was founded on his
belief in the importance of normative or ethical concepts and
categories – especially
values.[15]

Berlin did not set out a systematic theory about the nature of values,
and so his view must be gleaned from his writings on the history of
ideas. His remarks on the status and origins of values are ambiguous,
though not necessarily irreconcilable with one another. He seems,
first, to endorse the Romantic view – which he traces to Kant
(although he also sometimes attributes it to Hume) – that values
are not discovered ‘out there’, as
‘ingredients’ in the universe, not deduced or derived from
nature. Rather, they are human creations, and derive their authority
from this fact. From this followed a theory of ethics according to
which individual human beings are the most morally valuable things, so
that the worth of ideals and actions should be judged in relation to
the meanings and impact they have for and on such individuals. This
view underlay Berlin’s passionate conviction of the error of
looking to theories rather than human realities, of the evil of
sacrificing living human beings to abstractions (which he found
emphasised in Herzen); it also related to Berlin’s theory of
liberty, and his belief in liberty’s special importance.

At other times Berlin seems to advance what amounts almost to a theory
of natural law, albeit in minimalist, empirical dress. In such cases
he suggests that there are certain unvarying features of human beings,
as they have been constituted throughout recorded history, that make
certain values important, or even necessary, to them. Values, then,
would be beliefs about what it is good to be and do – about what
sort of life, what sort of character, what sort of actions, what state
of being it is desirable, given human nature, for us to aspire to.
This view of the origin of values also comes into play in
Berlin’s defence of the value of liberty, when he suggests that
the freedom to think, to enquire, to imagine and above all to choose,
without constraint or fear, is valuable because human beings need such
mental freedom; to deny it to them is a denial of their nature,
imposes an intolerable burden, and at the extreme entirely dehumanises
them.

In an attempt to reconcile these two strands, one might say that, for
Berlin, the values that humans create are rooted in the nature of the
beings who pursue them. But this is simply to move the question back a
step, for the question then immediately arises: Is this human nature
natural and fixed, or created and altered over time through conscious
or unconscious human action? Berlin’s answer (see e.g. 1990,
319–23) comes in two parts. He rejects the idea of a fixed,
fully specified human nature, regarding natural essences with
suspicion. Yet he does believe (however under-theorised, unsystematic
and undogmatic this belief may be) in boundaries to, and requirements
made by, human nature as we know it. This common human nature may not
be fully specifiable in terms of a list of unvarying characteristics;
but, while many characteristics may vary from individual to individual
or culture to culture, there is a limit on the variation – just
as the human face may vary greatly from person to person in many of
its properties, while remaining recognisably human, but at the same
time it is possible to distinguish between a human and a non-human
face, even if the difference between them cannot be reduced to a
formula. Indeed, at the core of Berlin’s thought was his
insistence on the importance of humanity, or the distinctively human,
both as a quasi-Kantian category and as a moral reality, which does
not need to be reduced to an unvarying essence in order to have
descriptive and normative force.

There is a related ambiguity about whether values are objective or
subjective. One might conclude from Berlin’s view of values as
human inventions that he would regard them as subjective. Yet he
insisted, on the contrary, that values are objective, even going so
far as to label his position ‘objective pluralism’ (2015,
210; 2000b, 245, note 1). Yet it is unclear what exactly he meant by
this, or how this belief relates to his view of values as human
creations. There are at least two accounts of the objectivity of
values that can be plausibly attributed to Berlin. The first is that
values are ‘objective’ in that they are simply facts about
the people who hold them – so that, for instance, liberty is an
‘objective’ value because I value it, and would feel
frustrated and miserable without at any rate a minimal amount of it.
The second is that the belief in or pursuit of certain values is the
result of objective realities of human nature – so that, for
instance, liberty is an ‘objective’ value because certain
facts about human nature make liberty good and desirable for human
beings. These views are not incompatible with one another, but they
are distinct; and the latter provides a firmer basis for the minimal
moral universalism that Berlin espoused.

Finally, Berlin insisted that each value is binding on human beings by
virtue of its own claims, in its own terms, and not in terms of some
other value or goal, let alone the same value in all cases. This view
was one of the central tenets of Berlin’s pluralism.

4.1 Berlin’s Definition of Value Pluralism

Berlin’s development and definition of pluralism both began
negatively, with the identification of the opposing position, which he
usually referred to as ‘monism’, and sometimes as
‘the Ionian fallacy’ or ‘the Platonic ideal’.
His definition of monism may be summarised as follows:

  1. All genuine questions must have a true answer, and one only; all
    other responses are errors.
  2. There must be a dependable path to discovering the true answer to
    a question, which is in principle knowable, even if currently unknown.
  3. The true answers, when found, will be compatible with one another,
    forming a single whole; for one truth cannot be incompatible with
    another. (This, in turn, is based on the assumption that the universe
    is harmonious and coherent.)

We have seen that Berlin denied that the first two of these
assumptions are true. In his ethical pluralism he pushed these denials
further, and added a forceful denial of the third assumption.
According to Berlin’s pluralism, genuine values are many. They
may – and often do – come into conflict with one another.
When two or more values clash, it is not because one or another has
been misunderstood; nor can it be said, a priori, that any one value
is always more important than another. Liberty can conflict with
equality or with public order; mercy with justice; love with
impartiality and fairness; social and moral commitment with the
disinterested pursuit of truth or beauty (the latter two values,
contra Keats, may themselves be incompatible); knowledge with
happiness; spontaneity and free-spiritedness with dependability and
responsibility. Conflicts of values are ‘an intrinsic,
irremovable element in human life’; ‘the notion of total
human fulfilment is a […] chimera’. ‘These
collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we
are’; a world in which such conflicts are resolved is not the
world we know or understand (2002b, 213; 1990, 13).

Berlin further asserted that values may be not only incompatible, but
incommensurable. There has been considerable controversy over what he
meant by this, and whether his understanding of incommensurability was
either correct or coherent. In speaking of the incommensurability of
values, Berlin seems to have meant that there is no common measure, no
‘common currency’ in terms of which the relative
importance of any two values can be established in the abstract. Thus
one basic implication of pluralism for ethics is the view that a
quantitative approach to ethical questions (such as that envisaged by
Utilitarianism) is impossible. In addition to denying the existence of
a common currency for comparison, or a governing principle (such as
the utility principle), value incommensurability holds that there is
no general procedure for resolving value conflicts – there is
not, for example, a lexical priority rule (that is, no value always
has priority over another).

Berlin based these assertions on empirical grounds – on
‘the world that we encounter in ordinary experience’, in
which ‘we are faced with choices between ends equally ultimate,
and claims equally absolute, the realisation of some of which must
inevitably involve the sacrifice of others’ (2002b,
213–14). Yet he also held that the doctrine of pluralism
reflected logically necessary rather than contingent truths about the
nature of human moral life and the values that are its ingredients.
The idea of a perfect whole or ultimate solution is not only
unattainable in practice, but also conceptually incoherent. To avert
or overcome conflicts between values once and for all would require
the transformation, which amounted to the abandonment, of those values
themselves. It is not clear that this logical point adds anything
significant to the empirical point about human ends recorded in the
last quotation, but we do not pursue this doubt here.

Berlin’s pluralism was not free-standing: it was modified and
guided by other beliefs and commitments. One of these, discussed
below, was liberalism. Another was humanism – the view that
human beings are of primary importance, and that avoiding harm to
human beings is the first moral priority (Aarsbergen-Ligtvoet 2006;
Cherniss and Hardy 2018). Berlin therefore held that, in navigating
between conflicting values, ‘The first public obligation is to
avoid extremes of suffering.’ He insisted that moral collisions,
even if unavoidable, can be softened, claims balanced, compromises
reached. The goal should be the maintenance of a ‘precarious
equilibrium’ that avoids, as far as possible, ‘desperate
situations’ and ‘intolerable choices’. Philosophy
itself cannot tell us how to do this, though it can help by bringing
to light the problem of moral conflict and all of its implications,
and by weeding out false solutions. But in dealing with conflicts of
values, ‘The concrete situation is almost everything’
(1990, 18–19).

One of the main features of Berlin’s account of pluralism is the
emphasis placed on the act of choosing between values. Pluralism holds
that, in many cases, there is no single right answer. Berlin used this
as an argument for the importance of liberty (see note 25) – or,
perhaps more precisely, an argument against the restriction of liberty
in order to impose the ‘right’ solution by force. Berlin
also made a larger argument about making choices. Pluralism involves
conflicts, and thus choices, not only between particular values in
individual cases, but between ways of life. While Berlin seems to
suggest that individuals have certain inherent traits – an
individual nature, or character, which cannot be wholly altered or
obscured – he also insisted that they make decisions about who
they will be and what they will do. Choice is thus both an expression
of an individual personality, and part of what makes that personality;
it is essential to the human self.

4.2 Value Pluralism before Berlin

Berlin provided his own (inconsistent and somewhat peculiar)
genealogies of pluralism. He found the first rebellion against monism
either in Machiavelli (1990, 7–9) or in Vico and Herder (2000a,
8–11), who were also decisive figures in the first account. Yet
he acknowledged that Machiavelli wasn’t really a pluralist, but
a dualist; and other scholars have questioned his identification of
Vico and Herder as pluralists, when both avowed belief in a higher,
divine or mystical, unity behind variety. Other scholars have credited
other figures in the history of philosophy, such as Aristotle, with
pluralism (Nussbaum 1986, Evans 1996). James Fitzjames Stephen
advanced something that looks very much like Berlin’s pluralism
(Stephen 1873), though he allied it to a conservative critique of
Mill’s liberalism.

In Germany, Dilthey came close to pluralism, and Max Weber presented a
dramatic, forceful picture of the tragic conflict between
incommensurable values, belief systems and ways of life (Weber 1918,
esp. 117, 126, 147–8, 151–3; cf. Weber 1904, esp.
17–18).

Ethical pluralism first emerged under that name, however, in America,
inspired by William James’s pluralistic view of the universe, as
well as his occasional gestures towards value pluralism (James 1891).
John Dewey and the British theologian Hastings Rashdall both
approximated pluralism in certain writings (Dewey 1908, Rashdall
1907); but pluralism was apparently first proposed, under that name,
and as a specifically ethical doctrine,
in language strikingly similar to Berlin’s,
by Sterling Lamprecht, a naturalist philosopher and scholar of Hobbes
and Locke, in two articles (1920, 1921), as well as, somewhat later,
by A. P. Brogan (1931). The dramatic similarities between not only
Berlin’s and Lamprecht’s ideas, but also their language,
make it difficult to believe that Lamprecht was not an influence on
Berlin. However, there is no independent evidence that Berlin knew
Lamprecht’s work; and Berlin’s tendency was more often to
credit his own ideas to others than to claim the work of others as his
own.

Versions of pluralism were also advocated by Berlin’s
contemporaries Raymond Aron, Stuart Hampshire, Reinhold Niebuhr and
Michael Oakeshott (although Oakeshott seems to have attributed
conflicts of values to a mistakenly reflective approach to ethical
issues, and suggested that they could be overcome through relying on a
more habitual, less self-conscious, ethical approach: see Oakeshott
1962, 1–36).

4.3 The Emergence of Value Pluralism in Berlin’s Work

Some of the elements of value pluralism are detectable in
Berlin’s early essay ‘Some Procrustations’ (1930),
published while he was still an undergraduate at Oxford. This essay,
drawing on Aristotle, and focusing on literary and cultural criticism
rather than philosophy proper, made the case for epistemological and
methodological, rather than ethical, pluralism. Berlin criticised the
belief in, and search for, a single method or theory, which could
serve as a master key for understanding all experience. He insisted
that, on the contrary, different standards, values and methods of
enquiry are appropriate for different activities, disciplines and
facets of life. In this can be seen the seeds of his later work on the
differences between the sciences and the humanities, of his attacks on
systematic explanatory schemes, and of his value pluralism; but all
these ideas had yet to be developed or applied.

Berlin was further nudged towards pluralism by discovering what he saw
as a suggestion by Nicolas Malebranche that simplicity and goodness
are incompatible (1680, e.g. 116–17, 128–30); this struck
him at the time as an ‘odd interesting view!’, but it
stuck, and he became convinced of its central and pregnant truth
(2004,
72).[16] Berlin set out his basic account of what he would later label monism
in his biography of Marx (1939, 37), but did not explicitly criticise
it or set out a pluralistic alternative to it, although his lecture
‘Utilitarianism’ (1937b), dating from the late 1930s, does
set out an argument that anticipates his later claim that values are
incommensurable. The basic crux of pluralism, and Berlin’s
connection of it to liberalism, is apparent in rough, telegraphic form
in Berlin’s notes for his lecture ‘Democracy, Communism
and the Individual’ (1949), and pluralism is also advanced in an
aside, though not under that name, in ‘Historical
Inevitability’ (1954: see 2000b, 151). Berlin referred to
pluralism and monism as basic, conflicting attitudes to life in 1955
(Berlin et al. 1955, 504). But his use of the term and his explication
of the concept did not fully come together, it appears, until Two
Concepts of Liberty (1958; even then, his articulation of
pluralism is incomplete in the first draft of the essay).

Thereafter, variations on Berlin’s account of pluralism appear
throughout his writings on Romanticism. Late in his life, taking stock
of his career, and trying to communicate what he felt to be his most
important philosophical insights, Berlin increasingly devoted himself
to the explicit articulation and refinement of pluralism as an ethical
theory. He had referred in a private letter of 1968 (Ignatieff 1998,
246) to ‘the unavoidability of conflicting ends’ as his
one genuine discovery. He devoted the lecture he gave in accepting the
Agnelli Prize in 1988, ‘The Pursuit of the Ideal’, to
explaining what pluralism meant, and this remains the most eloquent
and concentrated summary of pluralism. Berlin also discussed pluralism
in many interviews and printed exchanges with other scholars from the
1970s onward, in an attempt to work through the conflicts,
controversies and confusions to which his ideas gave rise; but many of
these resisted Berlin’s attempts at resolution, and continue to
figure in, and sometimes dominate, discussions of his work.

4.4 Value Pluralism after Berlin: Some Controversies

Since the 1990s, pluralism has become the most widely and hotly
debated of Berlin’s ideas. This is due in part to Berlin’s
work, and in part to that of later philosophers who, as followers or
allies of Berlin or independently, have also articulated and advanced
value pluralism or similar
positions.[17] Although pluralism achieved its current prominence in interpretations
of Berlin’s work later in his life, it was identified earlier as
a key component in his thought by a few prescient readers. Two of
these readers advanced what remains one of the most common criticisms
of Berlin’s pluralism: that it is indistinguishable from
relativism (Strauss 1961; Momigliano 1976; see MacCallum 1967a and
Kocis 1989 for other early
critiques).[18]

One problem that has bedevilled the debate is a persistent failure to
define the terms at issue with adequate clarity and precision.
Pluralism, of course, has been the subject of repeated definition by
Berlin and others (the repetition not always serving a clarifying
purpose). However, the term ‘relativism’ often remains
underanalysed in these discussions. Whether pluralism can be
distinguished from relativism depends largely on how relativism is
defined, as well as on how certain obscure or controversial components
of pluralism are treated. It should also be noted that the question of
whether values are plural is logically distinct from the question of
whether they are objective, despite the frequent elision of the two
topics in the literature on this subject.

One way of defining relativism is as a form of subjectivism or moral
irrationalism. This is how Berlin defined it in his attempts to refute
the charge of relativism brought against his pluralism. For Berlin,
the model of a relativist statement is ‘I like my coffee white,
you like yours black; that is simply the way it is; there is nothing
to choose between us; I don’t understand how you can prefer
black coffee, and you cannot understand how I can prefer white; we
cannot agree.’ Applied to ethics, this same relativist attitude
might lead its holder to say: ‘I like human sacrifice, and you
do not; our tastes, and traditions, simply differ.’ Pluralism,
on the other hand, as Berlin defines it, holds that understanding of
moral views is possible among all people (unless they are so alienated
from normal human sentiments and beliefs as to be considered really
deranged). Relativism, in Berlin’s definition, would make such
moral understanding impossible; while pluralism explains the
possibility of (and acceptance of pluralism may facilitate) moral
communication.

Another (related) way of differentiating pluralism and relativism,
employed by Berlin and others, holds that pluralism accepts a basic
‘core’ of human values, and that these and other values
adopted alongside them in a particular context fall within a
‘common human horizon’. This ‘horizon’ sets
limits on what is morally permissible and desirable, while the
‘core’ of shared or universal values allows us to reach
agreement on at least some moral issues. This view rests on a belief
in a basic, minimum, universal human nature beneath the widely diverse
forms that human life and belief have taken across time and place. It
may also involve a belief in the existence of a specifically
‘moral sense’ inherent in human beings. Berlin seems to
have believed in such a faculty, and linked it to empathy, but did not
develop this view in his writings.

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Yet another way of defining relativism is to view it as holding that
things have value only relative to particular situations or
outlooks; nothing is intrinsically good – that is, valuable in
and for itself. A slightly different way of putting this would be to
maintain that there are no such things as values that are always
valid; values are valid to different degrees in different
circumstances, but not others. For instance, liberty may be a leading
value in one place at one time, but has a much lower status as a value
at another. Here, again, Berlin’s pluralism seems opposed to
relativism, since it is committed to the belief that, for human
beings, at least some values are intrinsically rather than
instrumentally good, and that at least some values are universally
valid, even if others aren’t, and even if this universal
validity isn’t recognised. Berlin admitted that liberty, for
instance, had historically been upheld as a pre-eminent ideal only by
a minority of human beings; yet he still held it to be a genuine value
for all human beings, everywhere, because of the way that human beings
are constituted, and, so far as we know, will continue to be
constituted. Similarly, Steven Lukes has suggested that relativism
seeks to avoid or dismiss moral conflict, to explain it away by
holding that different values hold for different people
(‘Liberalism for the liberals, cannibalism for the
cannibals’: Lukes 2001b; cf. Hollis 1999, 36), and by denying
that the competing values may be, and often are, binding on all
people. Pluralism, on the other hand, sees conflicts of values as
occurring both within, and across, cultures, and (at least in
Lukes’s formulation) maintains that custom or relatively valid
belief-systems or ways of life cannot be appealed to as ways of
overcoming value-conflict (Lukes 1989). This is not a position that
Berlin explicitly advances; but his later writings suggest a sympathy
for it.

Berlin’s own position seems to lie somewhere between this
version of relativism and Lukes’s proposal. He acknowledged that
cultures are not monolithic or morally ‘rational’ (that
is, conflicts of values are endemic within cultures), and denies that
cultural traditions or norms can be invoked to dissipate or
authoritatively resolve conflicts between values (as Michael Oakeshott
suggested when he appealed to the ‘intimations’ of
tradition as a way of resolving apparent conflicts generated by
attempts at ‘rational’ action: see Oakeshott 1962,
125–34; Oakeshott 1965). But Berlin did hold that, as an
empirical matter, most individuals do make decisions about how to
balance, reconcile, or choose between competing values in light of
their existing general commitments and visions of life, which are
shaped (though not completely determined) by cultural tradition and
context. Liberty may be a genuine, and important, good for human
beings in general; but how human beings decide to promote or actualise
liberty in relation to a whole web of other values will differ between
different societies.

Yet the charge that pluralism is equivalent to relativism is not so
easily refuted, given certain ambiguities in Berlin’s account.
These centre on the nature and origins of values, the related question
of the role of cultural norms, and the meaning of
‘incommensurability’.

As stated above, Berlin held both that values are human creations, and
that they are ‘objective’. The foundation for this latter
claim is unclear in Berlin’s work. The claim that values are
objective in being founded on (or expressions of) and limited by
certain realities of human nature would seem to provide a defence
against relativism, in holding that there is an underlying, shared
human nature which makes at least some values non-relative. The
argument that values are objective simply because they are pursued by
human beings may seem to allow for relativism, if it makes the
validity of values dependent on nothing but human preferences, and
allows any values actually pursued by human beings (and, therefore,
any practices adopted in pursuing those values) to claim
validity.[19] But this is a reductio ad absurdum, to be deflected by
adding two further considerations: how widespread aspirant universal
values are; and whether they can be justified in terms of some
rationally defensible conception of human welfare.

One of the knottiest dimensions of Berlin’s pluralism is the
idea of incommensurability, which has led to diverging
interpretations. One can make a three-way distinction, between weak
incommensurability, moderate incommensurability and radical
incommensurability. Weak incommensurability is the view that values
cannot be ranked quantitatively, but can be arranged in a qualitative
hierarchy that applies consistently in all cases. Berlin goes further
than this, but it is not clear whether he presents a moderate or a
radical version of incommensurability. The former holds that there is
no single, ultimate scale or principle with which to measure values
– no moral ‘slide-rule’ (2002b, 216) or universal
unit of normative measurement. This view is certainly consistent with
all that Berlin wrote from the 1930s onwards. Such a view does not
necessarily rule out making judgements between values on a
case-by-case basis: just because values can’t be compared or
ranked in terms of one master-value or formula, we can’t
conclude that it is impossible to compare or deliberate between them
at all, as we indeed do in actual cases.

Berlin does sometimes offer more starkly dramatic accounts of
incommensurability, which make it hard to rule out the more radical
interpretation of the concept, according to which incommensurability
is more or less synonymous with incomparability. This interpretation
states that values cannot be compared at all, since there is no
‘common currency’ in terms of which to compare them: each
value, being sui generis, cannot be judged in relation to any
other value, because there is nothing in relation to which both can be
judged or measured. As a result, choices among values cannot be based
on (objectively valid) evaluative comparisons, but only on personal
preference, or on an act of radical, arbitrary choice, which Berlin
sometimes calls ‘plumping’. But plumping need not be a
disembodied, inexplicable act: it can draw, albeit subconsciously, on
a hinterland of moral understanding rooted in the moral experience of
the plumper and in his cultural tradition.

A related question concerns the role of reason in moral deliberation.
If values are incommensurable, must all choices between conflicting
values be ultimately subjective or irrational? If so, how does
pluralism differ from radical relativism and subjectivism? If not,
how, exactly, does moral reasoning work? How can we rationally make
choices between values when there is no system or unit of measurement
that can be used in making such deliberations? One possible answer to
the last question is to offer an account of practical, situational
reasoning that is not quantitative or rule-based, but appeals to the
moral sense mentioned above. This is what Berlin suggests; but, once
again, he does not offer a systematic explanation of the nature of
non-systematic reason. (On incommensurability see Chang 1997 and
Crowder 2002.)

In the area of political philosophy, the most widespread controversy
over pluralism concerns its relationship to liberalism. This debate
overlaps with that regarding pluralism’s relationship to
relativism, to the extent that liberalism is regarded as resting on a
belief in certain universal values and fundamental human rights, a
belief which relativism undermines. However, there are some who
maintain that, while pluralism is distinct from, and preferable to,
relativism, it is nevertheless too radical, contested and subversive
to be be depended on for a justification of liberalism (or,
conversely, that liberalism is too universalistic or absolutist to be
linked to pluralism). The main proponent of this view, more
responsible than any other thinker for the emergence and wide
discussion of this issue, is John Gray (see, especially, Gray 1995).
Gray asserts that pluralism is true, that pluralism undermines
liberalism, and that therefore liberalism should be abandoned, at
least in its traditional role of a political philosophy claiming
universal
status.[20]

Gray’s case has spawned a vast literature, concerning both
Berlin’s own treatment of the relationship between pluralism and
liberalism in particular, and this issue in general. Some theorists
have agreed with Gray (Kekes, 1993, 1997); others have sought to show
that pluralism and liberalism are reconcilable, although this
reconciliation may require modifications to both liberalism and
pluralism – modifications that are, however, justifiable, and
indeed inherently desirable. The most extensive discussions to date
are those by George Crowder and William Galston (Crowder 2002, 2004, 2019,
Galston 2002,
2004).[21]

Berlin himself was devoted both to pluralism and to liberalism, which
he saw not as related by logical entailment (though he sometimes comes
close to positing this: e.g. 2002b, 216; Jahanbegloo 1992, 44), but as
interconnected and harmonious. The version of pluralism he advanced
was distinctly liberal in its assumptions, aims and conclusions, just
as his liberalism was distinctly pluralist. As Michael Walzer has
remarked, Berlin’s pluralism is characterised by
‘receptivity, generosity, and scepticism’, which are,
‘if not liberal values, then qualities of mind that make it
[…] likely that liberal values will be accepted’ (Galston
2002, 60–1; Walzer 1995, 31).

5. Political Thought

5.1 The Concept of Liberty

Berlin’s best-known contribution to political theory is his
essay on the distinction between positive and negative liberty. This
distinction is explained, and the vast literature on it summarised,
elsewhere in this encyclopedia; the following therefore focuses only
on Berlin’s original argument, which has often been
misunderstood, in part because of his own ambiguities. It should be
stressed that the essay in question is principally concerned with
political liberty, not with what, late in life, he dubbed
‘basic liberty’, which is freedom of choice (or free
will), without which any other kinds of liberty would be impossible:
indeed, ‘which men cannot be without and remain men’ (A
518; cf. UD 218, CTH2 309, and 2.4 above).

In Two Concepts of Liberty Berlin sought to explain the
difference between two (out of more than two hundred, he said)
different ways of thinking about political liberty. These, he said,
had run through modern thought, and were central to the ideological
struggles of his day. Berlin called these two conceptions of liberty
negative and
positive.[22] Berlin’s treatment of these concepts was less than fully
even-handed from the start: while he defined negative liberty fairly
clearly and simply, he gave positive liberty two different basic
definitions, from which still more distinct conceptions would branch
out. Negative liberty Berlin initially defined as freedom
from, that is, the absence of constraints on the agent imposed by
other people. Positive liberty he defined both as freedom to,
that is, the ability (not just the opportunity) to pursue and achieve
willed goals; and also as autonomy or self-rule, as opposed to
dependence on others. These are not the same.

Berlin’s account was further complicated by combining conceptual
analysis with history. He associated negative liberty with the liberal
tradition as it had emerged and developed in Britain and France from
the seventeenth century to the early nineteenth. He later regretted
that he had not made more of the evils that negative liberty had been
used to justify, such as exploitation under laissez-faire capitalism;
in Two Concepts, however, negative liberty is portrayed
favourably, and briefly. It is on positive liberty that Berlin
focused, since it was, he claimed, both a more ambiguous concept, and
one which had been subject to greater and more sinister
transformation, and ultimately perversion.

Berlin traced positive liberty back to theories that focus on the
autonomy, or capacity for self-rule, of the
agent.[23] Of these, he found Rousseau’s theory of liberty particularly
dangerous. For, in Berlin’s account, Rousseau had equated
freedom with self-rule, and self-rule with obedience to the so-called
‘general will’. By this, Berlin alleged, Rousseau meant,
essentially, the common or public interest – that is, what was
best for all citizens qua citizens. The general will was quite
independent of, and would often be at odds with, the selfish wills of
individuals, who, Rousseau charged, were often deluded as to their own
genuine interests.

This view clashed with Berlin’s political and moral outlook in
two ways. First, it posited the existence of a unique,
‘true’ public interest, a single set of arrangements that
was best for all citizens, and was thus opposed to the main thrust of
pluralism. Second, it rested on a bogus transformation of the concept
of the self. In his doctrine of the general will Rousseau moved from
the conventional and, Berlin insisted, correct view of the self as
individual to the self as citizen – which for Rousseau meant the
individual as member of a larger community, an individual whose
identity and well-being were exactly the same as those of the larger
community. Rousseau transformed the concept of the self’s will
from what the empirical individual actually desires to what the
individual as citizen ought to desire, that is, what is in
individuals’ real best interest, whether they realise it or
not.

For Berlin, this transformation became more sinister still in the
hands of Kant’s German disciples. Kant himself had identified
‘positive’ freedom with autonomy, or self-determination,
by the rational personality – the self freed from all that
renders it ‘heteronymous’ and irrational. Later German
philosophers influenced by Kant went further in identifying the
‘self’ whose self-determination constitutes freedom with
entities other than the individual. Freedom becomes a matter of
overcoming the poor, flawed, false, empirical self – what one
appears to be and want – in order to realise one’s
‘true’, ‘real’, ‘noumenal’ self.
This ‘true’ self may be identified with one’s best
or true interests, either as an individual or as a member of a larger
group or institution. Thus Fichte (who began as a radically
individualist liberal, only to become, later, an ardent, even
hysterical, nationalist – an intellectual forefather of Fascism
and even Nazism) came to equate freedom with the rule of the
‘true’ self understood as the nation, or Volk. On
this view, the individual achieves freedom only through renunciation
of his or her desires and beliefs as an individual and submersion in a
larger group. The ‘true’ self might also be identified
with a cause, an idea, or the dictates of rationality, as in the case
of Hegel’s definition of liberty, which equated it with
recognition of, and obedience to, the laws of history as revealed by
reason. Such theoretical shifts set the stage, for Berlin, for the
ideologies of the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century,
both Communist and Fascist–Nazi, which claimed to liberate
people by subjecting – and often sacrificing – them to
larger groups or principles. To do this was the greatest of political
evils; and to do it in the name of freedom, a political principle that
Berlin, as a genuine liberal, especially cherished, struck him as a
‘strange […] reversal’ or ‘monstrous
impersonation’ (2002b, 198, 180). Against this, Berlin
championed, as ‘truer and more humane’, negative liberty
and an empirical view of the self.

This account is subject to serious and plausible objections, on both
historical and conceptual grounds. But beyond the considerable debates
concerning the conceptual validity and historical accuracy of
Berlin’s account (extensively documented in Harris 2002 and
Crowder 2016), there is considerable misunderstanding of
Berlin’s own attitudes to the concepts he discussed, and of the
goals of his lecture. Berlin has often been interpreted, not entirely
unreasonably, as a staunch enemy of the concept of positive liberty.
This was simply false, and elides opposition to distortions of
positive liberty with opposition to positive liberty itself. Berlin
regarded both concepts of liberty as centring on valid claims about
what is necessary and good for human beings; both negative and
positive liberty were for him genuine values, which might in some
cases clash, but in other cases could be combined and might even be
mutually interdependent. Indeed, Berlin’s own earlier
articulations of his political values included a notable component of
positive liberty alongside negative liberty (see e.g. 2002b,
336–44). What Berlin attacked were the many ways in which
positive liberty had been used to justify the denial, betrayal or
abandonment of both negative liberty and the undistorted forms of
positive liberty itself. Berlin’s main targets were not positive
liberty as such, but the metaphysical or psychological assumptions
which, combined with the concept of positive liberty, had led to its
perversion: monism, and a metaphysical or collective conception of the
self. Two Concepts of Liberty, and Berlin’s liberalism,
are therefore based not on championing negative liberty against
positive liberty, but on advocating individualism, empiricism and
pluralism against collectivism, holism, metaphysical rationalism (cf.
note 14a) and monism.

5.2 Liberty and Pluralism

In Berlin’s account, the main connection between pluralism and
liberalism is the centrality of choice to both. His argument goes as
follows. The conflicts between values and ways of life that are the
subject matter of pluralism require people to make choices. These
choices are of the utmost importance, because they involve the most
basic and essential questions of human life – what one is to be
and do. Those who have to make such choices are therefore likely to
care about them, and to want to be the ones to make them.
Furthermore, the freedom and ability to make one’s own choices
between conflicting values and possible lives is the crux of
one’s identity as a moral agent. (This step of the argument, it
should be noticed, does not strictly follow from pluralism itself; but
it is an assumption central to Berlin’s moral individualism,
which Berlin imports into his pluralism.)

Why might one deny individuals the opportunity to make choices for
themselves? One possible answer (though not the only one) is that
individuals may make the wrong choices, so that it is necessary to
coerce or manipulate them into choosing correctly. But pluralism holds
that, where there are conflicts between genuine values, there may be
no single right choice – more than one choice may equally serve
genuine human values and interests, even if they also involve the
sacrifice or violation of other values or interests that are neither
more nor less true and important. Similarly, there is no single ideal
life, no single model of how to think or behave or be, to which people
should attempt, or be brought, to conform. There are indeed chooseable
options that are beyond the pale from any humane viewpoint, and these
may reasonably be blocked off. But the limits of humanity should not
be confused with the limits of a particular perspective as against
other reasonable possibilities that lie within the ‘human
horizon’.

Pluralism, then, for Berlin, both undermines one of the main
rationales for violating freedom of choice, and corroborates the
importance and value of being able to make choices
freely.[24] Some interpreters have argued that the high value that Berlin accords
to the freedom to choose, while it rests in part on his pluralism,
also requires the addition of moral principles, ideals and assumptions
external to pluralism (though this need not, contra John Gray, mean
that pluralism is incompatible with, or necessary undermines,
liberalism). Others (such as George Crowder) have argued that
Berlin’s liberalism can be deduced from his pluralism alone, though more recently Crowder has modified his view, now holding that pluralism justifies liberalism only under the historical conditions of modernity (2019, 105–12, 135–8, 221–2).

At the same time, while pluralism is a key ingredient in
Berlin’s argument for the importance of liberty, it also
modifies and moderates his liberalism, and prevents Berlin from being
(as many proponents of negative liberty in the twentieth century and
after have been) a dogmatic, unqualified classical liberal or
libertarian. Negative and positive liberty are both genuine values
which must be balanced against each other; and political liberty of
any sort is one value among many, with which it may conflict, and
against which it needs to be weighed. Berlin was more sensitive than
many classical liberal or libertarian thinkers to the fact that
genuine liberty may conflict with genuine equality, or justice, or
public order, or security, or efficiency, or happiness, and therefore
must be balanced against, and sometimes sacrificed in favour of, other
values. Berlin’s liberalism includes both a conservative or
pragmatic appreciation of the importance of maintaining a balance
between different values, and a social-democratic appreciation of the
need to restrict liberty in some cases so as to promote equality and
justice, and to protect the weak against victimisation by the strong
(see 2002b, 214–15). Nevertheless Berlin remains a liberal in
maintaining that the preservation of a certain minimum of individual
liberty is a political priority. He justifies this view by an appeal
to an empiricist version of a natural law argument, writing of the
existence of ‘natural rights’ based on the way that human
beings are constituted, mentally or physically; to attempt to alter or
limit human life in certain ways is to block the desires, goals,
aspirations inherent in being human as we know it (1996, 90–2).
To deprive human beings of certain basic rights is to dehumanise them.
While liberty should not be the only good pursued by society, and
while it should not always trump other values, ethical pluralism lends
it a special importance: for people must be free in order to allow for
the recognition and pursuit of all genuine human values. Society
should therefore make it a priority to provide the liberty necessary
for Millian ‘experiments in living’ and for the
perpetuation of social and personal variety (see Berlin 2002b,
218–51).

5.3 Nationalism

Section VI of Two Concepts of Liberty is an ambivalent
discussion of the ideals of national self-rule and ‘national
liberation’, suggesting that these should not be identified with
liberty, strictly speaking, but nevertheless reflect deep human needs
for belonging and recognition as members of a self-ruling group (see
also 2002a, 229). Berlin used the term ‘nationalism’
somewhat confusingly, to refer to two quite distinct, and morally very
different, phenomena. The first of these was what he also called
‘national consciousness’, the sense of belonging, of
collective identity, of which Herder had written. The second was the
‘inflamed’ form of this sentiment, which, feeding off of
resentment, frustration and humiliation, became
‘pathological’. Berlin was sympathetic to the former,
critical of the latter, but he recognised the relationship between the
two, and was thus aware of the power and allure of nationalism.

Although Berlin traced to Herder the insight that belonging, and the
sense of self-expression that membership bestows, are basic human
needs, it seems unlikely that he would have had to learn this lesson
from him. It is more probable that it was his own appreciation of
these needs that attracted him to that author in the first place. He
was sharply aware of the pain of humiliation and dependency, the
hatefulness and hurtfulness of paternalistic rule. His individualism
and emphasis on liberty were qualified not only by his awareness of
the extent to which we are social beings whose identities are partly
determined by the way we are regarded by others (2002b, 201), but also
by his understanding of the human need for a sense of belonging to a
community – an awareness sharpened, if not generated, by his own
experience of exile, as well as by the influence of his mother’s
passionate
Zionism.[25]

5.4 Political Judgement and Leadership

Apart from his better-known writings on liberty and pluralism,
Berlin’s political thought centred on two interrelated topics:
the nature of political judgement, and the ethics of political action.
Berlin addressed the former subject both directly and through his
writings on individual statesmen who exemplified different sorts of
successful political judgement (see the portraits collected in Berlin
1980, and Hanley 2004).

Berlin disputed the idea that political judgement was a body of
knowledge which could be reduced to rules. Political action should be
based on a ‘sense of reality’ founded on experience,
empathetic understanding of others, sensitivity to the social and
political environment, and personal judgement about what is true or
untrue, significant or trivial, alterable or unalterable, effective or
useless, etc. Such judgement necessarily involves personal instinct
and flair, ‘strokes of unanalysable genius’. In the realm
of political action, laws are few and skill is all (1996, 53).

Like the study of history, political judgement involves reaching an
understanding of the unique set of characteristics that constitute a
particular individual, atmosphere, state of affairs or event (ibid.,
56). This requires a capacity for integrating ‘a vast amalgam of
constantly changing, multicoloured, evanescent, perpetually
overlapping data’, a ‘direct, almost sensuous contact with
the relevant data’, and ‘an acute sense of what fits with
what, what springs from what, what leads to what; […] what the
result is likely to be in a concrete situation of the interplay of
human beings and impersonal forces’ (ibid., 57–8). Such a
sense is qualitative rather than quantitative, specific rather than
general, for all that it may be built on past experience.

The faculty that allows for such judgement is, Berlin insists, not
metaphysical, but ‘ordinary, empirical, and
quasi-aesthetic’ (ibid., 57). This sense is distinct from any
sort of ethical sense; it could be possessed or lacked by both
virtuous and villainous politicians. Recognition of the importance of
this sense of political reality should not discourage the spirit of
scientific enquiry or serve as an excuse for obscurantism. But it
should discourage the attempt to transform political action into the
application of scientific principles, and government into technocratic
administration.[26]

Berlin intended his writings on political judgement as a warning to
political theorists not to overreach themselves. Political theory can
do much good in helping us to make sense of politics. But political
action is a practical matter, which should not, and cannot, be founded
on, or dictated by, general principles established through abstract
theorising.

Berlin’s writings on political judgement, activity and
leadership are of a piece with his larger epistemological project: to
bring to light the tension between abstract or a priori theory and
direct perception; and to warn against the dangers of the former and
assert the importance of the latter. While he acknowledged that it was
impossible to think without the use of analogies and metaphors, that
thought necessarily involves generalisation and comparison, he warned
that it was important to be cautious, self-conscious and critical in
the use of general models and analogies (see 1978b, 207–8).
These writings also reassert the message of the youthful essay
‘Some Procrustations’ (1930, discussed in 4.3 above): that
the same rules should not be automatically applied to every facet of
human life. Rationality consists of the application, not of a single
technique or set of rules, but of those methods that have proven to
work best in each particular field or situation. This view of
political judgement also relates to Berlin’s attempt to
vindicate the importance of individual agency and personality, by
insisting that political judgement is a personal quality, and
effective political activity a matter of personal consideration,
decision and action rather than (or at least in addition to)
impersonal administration or the deployment of institutional
machinery.

5.5 Political Ethics: Ends, Means, Violence

While Berlin emphasised the place of questions about the proper ends
of political action in the subject matter of political theory, he also
recognised the importance of discussions of the proper means to
employ, and the relationship between these and the ends at which they
aim. Berlin did not treat this question – the question of
political ethics – directly in his work; nor did he offer simple
or confident answers to the perennial questions of the morality of
political action. Nevertheless, he did advance some theses about this
branch of morality; and these were among his most heartfelt
pronouncements.

Berlin’s primary mouthpiece for these messages was Alexander
Herzen, the nineteenth-century Russian radical
publicist.[27] The words of Herzen that Berlin repeated most insistently were those
condemning the sacrifice of human beings on the altar of abstractions,
the subordination of the realities of individual happiness or
unhappiness in the present to glorious but fantastical dreams of the
future (Berlin 1990, 16–17; Berlin also quoted similar
sentiments from Benjamin Constant: see Berlin 2002b, 3, as well as
1978a, 93–129 and 212–39 passim). The first
principle of Berlin’s political ethics was to oppose such
subordination, which Berlin viewed as the essence of fanaticism, and a
recipe for inhumanity that was as futile as it was horrible.

Berlin, like Herzen, believed that ‘the goal of life is life
itself’ (1978a, 221; Herzen 1842, 217), and that each life and
each age should be regarded as its own end and not as a means to some
future goal. To this he added a caution (evocative as much of Max
Weber as of Herzen) about the unpredictability of the future.
Berlin’s belief in the power of human agency was qualified by an
awareness of how the consequences of any course of action are
unknowable, and likely to be quite different from what was intended.
This led him, on the one hand, to stress the need for caution and
moderation; and, on the other, to insist that uncertainty is
inescapable, so that all action, however carefully undertaken,
involves the risk of error, and of disastrous, or at least unexpected
and troubling, consequences. The result was an ethic of political
humility, similar to Weber’s ethic of responsibility, but
lacking its tone of grim, stoic grandeur.

Berlin often noted the dangers of utopianism, and stressed the need
for a measure of political pragmatism. He may therefore appear to have
been staunchly in the tradition of ‘political realism’,
typically seen as running from Machiavelli (or Thucydides) through to
recent scholars, and practitioners, of realpolitik such as E. H. Carr,
George Kennan or Henry
Kissinger.[28] Yet this was not quite so. Berlin did indeed seek to warn against the
dangers of idealism, and to chasten it, in order to save it from
itself and better defend it against cynicism. But in writing of
‘realism in politics’ he distinguished between a correct
perception of reality, free of emotional distortions, and another,
‘more sinister’ sense of the term, deployed by people who
admitted to being ‘realists’, ‘usually to explain
away some unusually mean or brutal decision’. In this sense,
‘realistic’ had come to mean ‘harsh and brutal, not
shrinking from what is usually considered immoral, not swayed by soft
sentimental moral considerations’; it was also identified, in
Berlin’s mind, with the ‘identification of what is good
and what is successful’, and a tendency to celebrate ‘the
big battalions, marching down a broad avenue, with all the unfulfilled
possibilities, all the martyrs and visionaries, wiped out’
(2000a, 163; 2002a, 103–6). While he insisted on the importance
of a ‘sense of reality’, Berlin was highly critical of the
second form of ‘political realism’, which scornfully
disregarded moral ideals or scruples, and embraced dubious means to
achieve desired ends. He also saw this sort of cynical, brutal realism
as a powerful political force in the world (2002b, 343–4; see
also Cherniss 2013, 67–87, 112–21, and Cherniss 2018).

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‘Realism’ understood as a justification for cynical and
brutal conduct was, according to Berlin, not only morally repulsive,
but unrealistic, in so far as it rested on an assumption that one
could achieve truly desirable ends through the use of morally wicked
means; against this, Berlin asserted that ‘evil means destroy
good ends’ (1978a, 345). Indeed, the problem of the relationship
between ends and means runs through his writings. Characteristically,
he warned against both an insistence on total political purity –
for, when values conflict and consequences are often unexpected,
purity is an impossible ideal – and a disregard for the ethical
niceties of political means. He regarded the latter attitude as not
only morally ugly, but foolish: for good ends tend to be corrupted and
undermined by unscrupulous means. Furthermore, since the consequences
of actions are so uncertain, political actors often don’t
achieve their goals, or they achieve them imperfectly; so it is best
not to make too many sacrifices in the course of accomplishing
one’s political goals, since that accomplishment is uncertain.
To the realist argument that ‘You cannot make an omelette
without breaking eggs’, Berlin responded: ‘The one thing
that we may be sure of is the reality of the sacrifice, the dying and
the dead. But the ideal for the sake of which they die remains
unrealised. The eggs are broken, and the habit of breaking them grows,
but the omelette remains invisible’ (1990, 17).

Berlin was thoroughly anti-absolutist; but he did insist that there
were certain actions that were, except in the most drastic of
situations, unacceptable. Foremost among these were the manipulation
and humiliation of individuals by others, to the extent that those who
are ‘got at’ or ‘tampered with’ by others are
deprived of their humanity (see 2002b, 184, 337, 339, 341–2).
Berlin also warned particularly against the use of violence. He
acknowledged that the use of force was sometimes necessary and
justified; but he also reminded his readers that violence has
particularly volatile and unpredictable consequences, and tends to
spiral out of control, leading to terrible destruction and suffering,
and undermining the noble goals it seeks to achieve. He also stressed
the dangers of paternalistic, or otherwise humiliating and
disempowering, attempts to institute reform or achieve improvement,
which had a tendency to inspire a backlash of hatred and
resistance.

Berlin’s political ethics are best summarised in his own
words:

Let us at least have the courage of our admitted ignorance, of our
doubts and uncertainties. At least we can try to discover what others
[…] require, by […] making it possible for ourselves to
know men as they truly are, by listening to them carefully and
sympathetically, and understanding them and their lives and their
needs, one by one individually. Let us at least try to provide them
with what they ask for, and leave them as free as possible (1978a,
296).

6. Conclusion

Berlin’s life and work continue to be the subject of
considerable attention. This attention has yet to yield a settled
consensus about the merits or the meaning of Berlin’s work
– and not only because Berlin evokes strong personal reactions,
attracting admiration and affection, if not outright veneration as a
liberal saint (see e.g. Annan 1980, 1990, 1999; Hausheer 1979 and
2004), and inspiring hostility from critics on both the right and
left, who have detected in Berlin’s stance complacency,
hypocrisy, a want of courage and an excess of tolerance (see e.g.
Scruton 1989, Hitchens 1998). This is to be expected, given
Berlin’s fierce opposition to Communism, combined with his
refusal to ally himself to extreme anti-Communism, as well as his
ambivalence or reticence on many divisive political issues of his own
day.

However, even as the ideological battles of the Cold War recede into
the past (not everywhere: in post-Communist Europe, in China and
elsewhere they are still very much alive), Berlin remains the object
of varying interpretations and evaluations. This may appear odd in a
thinker who wrote clearly, and without obfuscating jargon. But it is
unsurprising, given the complexity of Berlin’s vision, his
aversion to systematic exposition or theorising, the multifaceted
nature of his work, and the uniqueness of his position in the
intellectual life of his times. These qualities make it difficult not
only to evaluate Berlin, but also to situate him in the history of
ideas; for he appears at once typical and atypical of the period in
which he lived, and also both ahead of his time and somewhat
old-fashioned.

In his youth, Berlin’s intellectual development followed that of
English-language philosophy; yet he drifted away from the analytic
philosophy in which he had once been deeply involved, and his later
writings are a world away from most Anglo-American philosophy of their
time. On the other hand, for all his range of historical and cultural
reference, and his concern with moral and aesthetic questions, and
despite the influence of Kant and Kant’s successors on his
thought, Berlin seems out of place in the world of Continental
philosophy. Yet it would be a mistake to accept Berlin’s own
judgement that he had departed from the realm of philosophy
altogether. For both the views he had formed while working as a
professional philosopher, and his tendency to connect political,
historical and cultural issues to deeper moral and epistemological
questions, set his work apart from that of other historians and
‘public intellectuals’ of his day.

Berlin was, for much of his life, an intellectually lonely figure,
pursuing the history of ideas in an academic setting that was
unreceptive to it, and advocating a moderate liberalism in a time
dominated by ideological extremism. And yet this plea for moderation
and advocacy of liberalism was shared and taken up by many others at
the
time.[29] His interest in political philosophy and his dedication to the
defence of liberalism anticipated the work of John Rawls (who had been
influenced by Berlin during a stay at Oxford while a young academic);
yet the resurgence of normative political theory initiated by
Rawls’s work coincided with a period of eclipse in
Berlin’s reputation. Berlin’s concern with the nature of
culture anticipated the centrality in political theory of questions of
identity and membership that began in the 1990s; his sympathy for the
sentiments and needs underlying nationalism, which set him apart from
many liberal theorists of his own time, presaged the revival of
‘liberal nationalism’ in the works of younger thinkers
such as Michael Walzer, David Miller, Yael Tamir and Michael
Ignatieff. His attack on monism, on the quest for certainty and the
project of systematic knowledge, has led him to be embraced by some
critics of foundationalism such as Richard Rorty and John Gray. Yet
Berlin’s work remains difficult to assimilate to intellectual
movements or projects such as postmodernism or multiculturalism, the
excesses and obscurities of which provoked quizzical scepticism in him
towards the end of his life.

Nor is Berlin easy to identify seamlessly with those intellectual
positions that he explicitly propounded – liberalism and
pluralism. Although he appears as an important, and indeed emblematic,
exponent of liberalism – along with Rawls, the most important
liberal theorist of his century – his ideas may nevertheless in
the end help to undermine, or at least challenge, conventional, often
monistic, liberalism. This question has come to preoccupy many readers
of Berlin’s work, and predominate in discussions of his legacy,
to the extent of threatening to overshadow other aspects of his
thought.

The debate over pluralism and liberalism raises important conceptual
issues; yet it becomes somewhat misleading, both in itself and
particularly as a guide to Berlin’s thought, if pluralism and
liberalism are taken to be comprehensive doctrines, or if they are
reified into independently existing, systematic entities.
‘Pluralism’ and ‘liberalism’ as general terms
are abstractions which can help to group, analyse and compare the
positions of different thinkers, or to characterise different facets
of the thought of a single thinker. Neither, however, is likely to
capture the whole of an individual position; and neither in itself
encompasses or sums up Berlin’s own outlook.

Berlin himself insisted that political and ethical theories arise from
a thinker’s basic conception of human nature, which in turn is
founded on an entire philosophical outlook, a conception of the nature
of the universe, reality, knowledge etc. The vision underlying
Berlin’s political and ethical theory, while it may have been
coherent (this is itself arguable), was not systematic, and, again, it
cannot be accurately characterised simply as pluralistic or liberal.
‘Pluralism’ can be used, more narrowly, to describe
Berlin’s theory of values. It can also be employed more broadly,
to capture something of his vision of reality, the universe and human
nature – that is, the view that all of these things are
complexes made up of separate and conflicting parts: that the self is
protean and open-ended, that the universe is not a harmonious cosmos,
that reality presents many separate aspects, which can and should be
viewed from different perspectives. But ‘pluralism’, as
explicitly defined by Berlin and others, does not cover Berlin’s
empiricism, or his historicism, or his awareness of the fallibility of
human knowledge, or his belief in the primary importance of
individuals as opposed to generalisations and abstractions, or his
emphasis on the importance of free choice (which, while he sought to
found it on pluralism, in fact appears to be partly independent of
it). Nor does pluralism, with its emphasis on the place of tragic
conflict and loss in human life, capture the affirmative zest for life
and delighted enthusiasm for human beings that was central to
Berlin’s persona as a man and thinker. Berlin’s thought,
like his writing, is made up both of swathes of sharp colour and of
minutely variegated and subtle shades of light and darkness; it thus
resists summary and simple conclusions, and repays persistent and
open-ended study.

[Update] 25 Top Tourist Attractions in Berlin | major berlin – Vietnamnhanvan

The capital city of Germany is rich with history and culture. Badly fractured during World War II and the cold war, Berlin has recreated itself into an international city with diverse cultures and architecture. Explore the top tourist attraction in Berlin that still bears the scars of the recent past.

The Oberbaumbrücke, or Oberbaum Bridge, spans the Spree River. The bridge is two stories high, and it links the districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. It ties together the former East Germany with the West, making it a historically significant as well as architecturally beautiful structure.

The Oberbaum Bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in the whole city. It’s a sign of unity, a way to bridge the east and the west in the once divided Berlin. You can cross the bridge on foot, but the best views are further along the Spree from either side of the river.

24. German Historical Museum

[SEE MAP]

dreamstime/© Elxeneize

The German Historical Museum, also known as the Deutsches Historisches Museum, is a fantastic place to visit if you want to see what Germans have been up to for the past two millennia. The museum covers all of German history up until the present day, and exhibits are laid out in a way that is easy to understand and highly entertaining.

The museum is housed in two adjacent buildings: The more traditional Armory, or Zeughaus, and the modern Exhibition Ball designed by I.M. Pei. You can browse through posters from World War II, see maps from the 19th century or admire contemporary sculpture done by modern German artists.

Kurfürstendamm, known to locals at Ku’damm, was built as a German answer to the Champs-Elysee in Paris. The wide road was lined with trees and ornate buildings were built along both sides. It is the heart of former West Berlin, and is still the city’s most popular shopping boulevard.

The side streets of Tauentzienstraße and Fasanenstraße are lined with malls and high-end flagship stores. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out KaDeWe, or the Kaufhaus des Westens. This is the largest department store in all of Europe, and it boasts virtually anything you might want to purchase from expensive shoes to fresh produce.

22. Berlin TV Tower

[SEE MAP]

Located near the Alexanderplatz is the Berlin TV Tower, better known to locals at the Berliner Fernsehturm. This tower is the tallest structure in all of Germany, and its observation deck offers an incredible vantage point for amazing views over much of the city.

The Berlin TV Tower was built in the 1960s, and it is one of the most significant mid-century modern buildings in Germany. At the time of its construction, it was also a true engineering marvel. Just below the main observation deck, there is an upscale restaurant where you can enjoy the view with a drink or a full meal.

The DDR Museum is appropriately located in the heart of the former government district of East Germany, and it is devoted to the history of the DDR, or the Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

When you visit, you can see what life was like in former East Germany. See the apartments people lived in, put on some of the most common clothing items from the period and check out the covert listening devices, or bugs, used to spy on citizens. Exhibits are in English as well as German.

dreamstime/© Sergey Kohl

Alongside the river Spree, south of central Berlin, you’ll find Treptower Park. If you’re interested in WW2 history, then the park is a must-see destination in Berlin. The park is home to a large military cemetery as well as the enormous Soviet War Memorial that was built in 1949 to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin.

There are a number of plates set around the park, each of which memorializes certain battles. Beyond the historical significance, Treptower Park is an awesome place to walk along the paved pedestrian pathways, rent a rowboat for some time on the water or just have a drink in the park’s biergarten.

19. Berlin Wall Memorial

[SEE MAP]

dreamstime/© Hanohiki

There are many different ways to see the Berlin Wall while in the city. If places like Checkpoint Charlie feel too touristy, head to the Berlin Wall Memorial, known in German as the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer. It’s a memorial to the countless men, women and children who died while trying to get across the wall.

There is also an adjacent documentation center on Bernauer Straße with additional exhibits and information, although much of it is in German. From the viewing platform, you can see what once was the no-man’s land between East and West Berlin.

18. Unter den Linden

[SEE MAP]

This beautiful boulevard lined with linden trees is one of the main east-west routes through Berlin. The trees were first planted in the mid 1600s and are cared for and cultivated by the city. Over the centuries the boulevard has been extended and now stretches from Museum Island to the Brandenburg Gate.

Greatly damaged during the war, Unter den Linden has been renovated and is currently lined with many architectural sites and other tourist attractions in Berlin including the German Historical Museum, the Staatsoper, Altes Palais and the Palace Bridge.

dreamstime/© Jan Kranendonk

There are many wonderful churches to see in Berlin, but the Berlin Cathedral is the largest and one of the most impressive. It was built at the start of the 20th century as a way to express the imperial power of Germany. The brick, neo-Renaissance cathedral is located in the area of Museum Island in the district of Mitte.

The enormous organ is a major point of pride in the cathedral, and it is still used for religious services. If you visit, you can climb to the top of the dome and enjoy views from the cathedral after touring the interior.

dreamstime/© Petarneychev

If you visit Berlin, you’ll almost certainly spend some time in Alexanderplatz. This large public square is right in the heart of the Mitte district, and it is the major hub for transport in Berlin. Today, it is also home to some of the most popular historic attractions in the city.

From the Alexanderplatz, you can see the Berlin TV Tower dominating the skyline, the World Clock and the Neptune Fountain. There are also plenty of local shops, restaurants and even a casino. The plaza is also home to the Galeria Kaufhof, one of the busiest shopping spots in the area.

dreamstime/© Wojciech Sleczek

If you like touring palaces, then don’t miss the Charlottenburg Palace. This is the largest palace in Germany, and it is found in Berlin’s City West district. Charlottenburg Palace was constructed at the end of the 17th century, and the entire community of Charlottenburg grew around it.

Built in the Baroque style, and boasting beautiful gardens and outdoor sculptures, the palace is now open to the public. You can tour restored rooms and see the extravagant, rococo style in the apartments of Frederick the Great, and you can also see collections of porcelain, crown jewels and royal silver.

dreamstime/© Patryk Kosmider

The Siegessäule, or Victory Column, was built toward the end of the 19th century in celebration of several Prussian military triumphs. The column originally stood in front of the Reichstag but was moved to the middle of Tiergarten by the Nazi government as part of a major urban redevelopment plan.

At the very top of the column is an angelic, winged figure that represents Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. At the top of the Victory Column is an observation deck that allows for panoramic views over the city. There’s just one catch: There is no elevator. If you’re feeling up for it, take on the 285 steps to get to the top.

The Gendarmenmarkt is a major public square in Berlin that dates all the way back to the 17th century. Although many of the historic buildings in the Gendarmenmarkt were destroyed in World War II, several major landmarks remain.

With a visit to the Gendarmenmarkt, you’ll be able to see the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom, or French Cathedral, which was built by the Huguenots in the early 18th century. The Gendarmenmarkt is also home to the beautifully reconstructed Konzerthaus, where the Berlin Orchestra performs. During the winter, Christmas markets are a major highlight at the square.

12. Topography of Terror

[SEE MAP]

dreamstime/© Williammacgregor

One of the more poignant attractions in Berlin is the Topography of Terror. This is an indoor and outdoor museum located on the exact site of the former Nazi government’s SS Reich Main Security Office.

Within view of the Berlin Wall, former prisons cells were excavated to showcase the tragedies and horrors of the Nazi regime. Exhibits explore the Jewish ghettos of Berlin, the criminals brought to justice at the Nuremberg Trials and a memorial to all those who perished at the hands of the Nazis. It can be emotionally tough to explore the Topography of Terror, but it an important historical stop to make.

dreamstime/© Vvoevale

In Berlin’s Museum Insel you’ll find the fascinating Pergamon Museum. The whole museum is named for the Pergamon Altar, which is one of its most valued attractions on display. The Pergamon Museum is the most visited art museum in Germany, and it boasts an incredible collection of antiquities and treasures.

Touring the museum is a way to bring the ancient world to life. Some of the most notable attractions in the Pergamon include the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, the Mschatta Façade from a desert castle in Jordan and the Roman Market Gate of Miletus, which dates back to the 2nd century.

dreamstime/© Tupungato

Located at the far end of Oranienburger Strasse in the Scheunenviertel, the Hackesche Höfe is a complex that includes eight interconnected courtyards. It was designed and built by the architect Kurt Berndt, and the Art Nouveau façade was the work of August Endell.

As with many Berlin courtyard buildings, the complex was used for a mixture of offices, shops and flats. The buildings were only partially damaged during the WW2, but were mostly neglected while Germany was partitioned. Only after reunification, starting in 1993, was the complex extensively restored and it now looks better than it ever has.

Inside the Höfe you’ll find a wide variety of cafes, restaurants and shops that attract tons of locals and visitors each day. As you travel from one courtyard to the next to see more vendors, you’ll understand the unique nature of this complex.

flickr/steffenz

Once the hunting grounds of the Brandenburg elite, the Großer Tiergarten is now an urban park in central Berlin. Commemorating a Prussian victory, the Berlin Victory Column stands in the park and is surrounded by a street circle.

Pedestrians can reach the column by using any of four underground tunnels. Near the Column sits Schloss Bellevue, the Beautiful Palace, which is the official residence of the President of Germany.

Occupying the southwest corner of the Tiergarten, the Berlin Zoo houses around 14,000 animals. The open-air habitats have made it one of the most popular zoos in Europe.

8. Check Point Charlie

[SEE MAP]

flickr/Yann Gar

One of the best known crossing points of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie resonates with emotional and historical significance. Named by the Western Allies, the border crossing bore an ominous sign stating “You are leaving the American Sector”.

This was the single crossing point for members of the Allied forces and foreigners. The guardhouse which once stood here is now on display at the Allied Museum in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

A replica of a U.S. Army guardhouse stands at the crossing, and cobblestones are used to designate the former border spot. The best documentation on escape attempts and the original Checkpoint sign can be found in the museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie.

Art, entertainment and shopping can all be found in this vibrant corner of Berlin. The square was completely destroyed after the war but has been rebuilt into a modern plaza with landmark towers and a shopping arcade.

The area is seen as symbolic reconnection of the two halves of Berlin, joining the residents of both sides in a completely new part of the city. A replica of Germany’s first traffic light stands in the center with sleek, modern office buildings surrounding the platz.

The DaimlerChrysler Atrium offers a changing art exhibit while the Sony Centre features a Cinema Complex and Film Museum, a shopping mall and a 3D IMAX theater.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is in the center of the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. The original church was built between 1891 and 1895 by Kaiser Wilhelm II. During WWII the church burned down after it was hit by an allied bomb, only the broken west tower of the church was still standing.

In 1961 a new church, consisting of 4 buildings, was constructed around the remains of the old church. The concrete and glass structure is a fascinating counterpoint to the neo-Romanesque old church that it surrounds. Photos of the original church can be found in the remaining west tower along with some of the original mosaics.

Five museums comprise Museum Island which is located between the Spree River and Kupfergraben. As with many of the structures in Berlin, the old museum buildings were nearly destroyed during the Second World War but are now open.

The Altes Museum displays ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, while the Alte Nationalgalerie houses the largest collection of 19th century paintings and sculptures in Germany. The Nues Museum houses prehistoric pieces and Egyptian art, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti.

The Pergamon Museum contains another display of Greek and Babylonian antiquities. The Ishtar Gate and Pergamon Altar are here. Finally, the Bode Museum displays a large collection of sculptures, numismatic (coin) collections and a number of paintings.

flickr/Rae Allen

The East Side Gallery is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence. Often described as a memorial to freedom, it showcases paintings of artists from around the world.

The artwork, which began appearing in 1990, documents the changing time after the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as expressing hope for the future. Sections of the wall have been moved to facilitate construction and other portions have been damaged by erosion and vandalism.

flickr/dalbera

Near the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial is a simple, but powerful tribute to the Jews that died as a result of Hitler’s extermination plan. The 2,711 slabs are arranged in a wave-like pattern over 205,000 square feet.

Each stone is unique, varying from ankle high to over six feet tall. The paths between the slabs undulate with the overall effect being one of instability and disorientation.

There is no set pattern and visitors may walk in any direction through the peaceful, quiet stones. At the base of the memorial an underground information center offers information and personal stories of people affected by the actions of the Nazi party.

The Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament and an historic landmark. A fire in 1933 and air raids during the Battle of Berlin in 1945 caused a great deal of damage.

The Reichstag sits near the Brandenburg Gate and was not fully restored until after the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification. Some historical scars, such as graffiti left by Soviet soldiers, were left as a tribute to the building’s difficult past.

The original building was designed by several architects and the mix of styles in the completed structure was somewhat controversial at the time, but now is appreciated by thousands of visitors each year. The glass dome at the top of the building provides a magnificent view of the city and visitors must register in advance to enter it.

flickr/Jiuguang Wang

Built in the late 1700s, the Brandenburg gate is the only surviving city gate of Berlin. The gate is in the western part of Berlin and marks the entrance to Unter den Linden. Used as one of the Berlin Wall crossings, the gate became a site of protest during the division of Germany and a place of celebration when the wall fell in 1989.

The gate was severely damaged in World War II and underwent extensive renovation in the early 2000s. Today it is fully restored and is the symbol of not only the turbulent history of the region, but also the reunification of East and West Berlin.

Map of Berlin

Berlin MapOpenStreetMap contributors © MapTiler © Touropia


The Biggest Event of the Year Starts NOW! | VALORANT Champions Berlin Day 1 Tease


The first ever VALORANT Champions begins today. Witness the Art of Greatness live and discover which team will be crowned as the world’s best in Berlin. View the schedule and watch at https://valorantesports.com
VALORANT Champions participating teams: Acend, Vivo Keyd, Envy, X10 CRIT, KRÜ Esports, Team Liquid, Sentinels FURIA, Gambit Esports, Team Secret, Team Vikings, Crazy Raccoon, Vision Strikers, FULL SENSE, Fnatic, Cloud9.
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The Biggest Event of the Year Starts NOW! | VALORANT Champions Berlin Day 1 Tease

🔴LIVE: [VN] StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 – Semi-final – Astralis vs. NRG Esports


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🔴LIVE: [VN] StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 - Semi-final - Astralis vs. NRG Esports

[EN] AVANGAR vs Astralis, Map 2: Dust2 | Grand Final | StarLadder Major Berlin 2019


AVANGAR vs Astralis on the Dust2 at StarLadder Major Berlin 2019: New Champions Stage.
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[EN] AVANGAR vs Astralis, Map 2: Dust2 | Grand Final | StarLadder Major Berlin 2019

Opening ceremony | StarLadder Major Berlin 2019: New Champions Stage (full version)


The opening ceremony of the New Champions Stage of the StarLadder Major Berlin 2019 in the MercedesBenz Arena (full version).
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Opening ceremony | StarLadder Major Berlin 2019: New Champions Stage (full version)

Gambit vs Team Secret – HIGHLIGHTS | VALORANT Champions


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VALORANT Champions Group Stage: Opening (B) | Gambit vs Team Secret ALL MAPS HIGHLIGHTS
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Gambit vs Team Secret - HIGHLIGHTS | VALORANT Champions

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