Cascoly Books: Isaiah Berlin

Cascoly Books - Isaiah Berlin

Berlin considered the idea of truth and reality. At the turn of the 19th century, mathematics seemed to have only Hilbert's 23 unresolved problems in order to find absolute truth. However, Kurt Gödel proved in his incompleteness theorem that for any non-contradictory formal system, there are some statements that cannot be proved. Hence, maths could not always provide absolute truths. Similarly in physics, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, coupled with Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity, led many to question their allegiance to a particular dogma or belief. To this came Isaiah Berlin’s objective pluralism in which he argued against both relativism and determinism. He emphasized the essential tensions between liberty and equality Marrying this concept with his ideas of liberty, he argued that ‘not all values can be jointly realised in one life, or in a single society or period of history, and that many ideals cannot even be compared on a common scale.’ 

 Berlin and Godel

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