The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History
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The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  45 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Isaiah Berlin's The Sense of Reality contains an important body of previously unknown work by one of our century's leading historians of ideas, and one of the finest essayists writing in English. Eight of the nine pieces included here are published for the first time, and their range is characteristically wide: the subjects explored...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 26th 1998 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1996)
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Sir Isaiah Berlin is one of my favorite authors. I have quite a few of his books. He writes about the history of ideas which covers a lot of territory. His knowledge of history, philosophy and literature is encyclopedic. In his obituary Henry Hardy wrote "he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top range of human potential". In other words he was a genius at what he did. I love to read his writing but I have to really study it because he gets o...more
Sally Morem
I loved this book. When I read Berlin, I think. To give you an idea of my thoughts, let me post some notes I made about the last portion of the title essay, "The Sense of Reality" :

Here, Berlin summarizes the European revolutionaries’ profound failure: (p. 29) “Something had been miscalculated, something had proved recalcitrant to the social arithmetic employed. The makers of the revolution found themselves, in each case, swept on by the forces which they had released in a direction which they h...more
Hugh Ashton
I don't know. Does this say more about me than the book? I haven't been able to finish this - it struck me as a set of pretentious truisms for the most part.

Am I a Philistine or what? Well, I actually do have a degree in philosophy. Maybe I am a little too close to the subject to read about meta-philosophy (or the philosophy of philosophy). Maybe my mind is no longer interested in the subjects covered by this book. Or I am not as "intellectual" as I was. Or maybe the style annoyed me. But I did...more
Amal Baqshy
The greatest book to read if you want to know about history of philosophy, politics, humanity, and civilisation. Its a book that you will feel smarter when you are reading reading it.
The book is rich with information; the kind if book that you are not supposed to read in bed. You have to befulky awake to enjoy the well composed sentences and paragraphs of Berlin's.
I recommend this book for literature, philosophy, history, and political science students.
Jaime Contreras
I am a history buff and was a bit overwhelmed by the thought of reading essays. But, Mr. Berlin's writing style, breadth of knowledge and insight made this a wonderful historical ideology a pleasure to read.
A concise, open and invaluable summary of the history of ideas as a subject. A precise and easy to read account of someof Berlin's central thoughts without becomming to internalised, academic or stuffy. A joy!
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Sir Isaiah Berlin was a philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the twentieth century. He excelled as an essayist, lecturer and conversationalist; and as a brilliant speaker who delivered, rapidly and spontaneously, richly allusive and coherently structured material, whether for a lecture series at Oxford University or as a broadcaster on the BBC Thir...more
More about Isaiah Berlin...
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