Isaiah Berlin Lecture: The Place of the Jew in Contemporary Philosophy

By Yoram Hazony, February 22, 2015

It is my honor to have been invited to give the Second Sir Isaiah Berlin Lecture at Oxford University, sponsored by Chabad of Oxford and the Berlin family. The lecture examines possible Jewish roots of Berlin’s sympathetic presentation of what he called the “Counter-Enlightenment,” and contrasts his work with the logical positivism of his colleague A.J. Ayer. I take a look at Berlin’s essay on “The Purpose of Philosophy” and ask what interest Berlin might have had for including the Jews in the founding of the Western philosophical tradition. Taking inspiration from Berlin, I go on to make proposals for how Jews can make a unique contribution to Philosophy in our generation.

The First Isaiah Berlin Lecture at Oxford was given by Adin Steinsaltz on the topic “The Paganization of Western Culture.” My Isaiah Berlin Lecture, entitled “The Place of the Jew in Contemporary Philosophy,” was delivered on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

You can watch a video of the lecture itself by clicking on the image below.

In addition, there is now also a video available of the question and answer session after the talk, which you can watch here.


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