Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hedgehogs and foxes

Isaiah Berlin divides writers and thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea (examples given include PlatoLucretiusDante AlighieriBlaise PascalGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelFyodor DostoyevskyFriedrich NietzscheHenrik IbsenMarcel Proust and Fernand Braudel), and foxes, who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea (examples given include HerodotusAristotleDesiderius ErasmusWilliam ShakespeareMichel de MontaigneMolièreJohann Wolfgang GoetheAleksandr PushkinHonoré de BalzacJames Joyce and Philip Warren Anderson).

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