We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
What are the chances of two articles in one week both referring to Archilochus and Isiah Berlin writing on Tolstoy's philosophy invoking the hedgehog/fox idea upon the intellectual world?
From Thomas Albert Howard's review of John Lukacs Book: A Hedgehog and a Fox, Remembered Past: On History, Historians, and Historical Knowledge:
"Invoking an obscure line from the Greek poet Archilochus, Isaiah Berlin made famous in an essay on Tolstoy’s philosophy of history the distinction between the hedgehog and the fox. “The fox knows many things,” Archilochus wrote, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Some intellectuals are foxes, in Berlin’s interpretation, capable of mastering “scattered or diffused [ideas], moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences.” Intellectual hedgehogs, by contrast, “relate everything to a single central vision, one system less or more coherent,” which derives from “a single, universal, organizing principle.” Part fox and part hedgehog, always intellectually engaging, often unpredictable, John Lukacs bears witness to the usefulness of Berlin’s distinction—and its limitations." Read the rest: "http://www.mmisi.org/ir/40_02/howard.pdf
This piece from last week's Art section of the New York Times:
"The philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously divided writers and thinkers into foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes are interested in many things, hedgehogs in one. Foxes move from one problem to another. Hedgehogs dig deep. Dante and Proust were hedgehogs. Molière and Pushkin were foxes. Einstein was a hedgehog. Shakespeare was a fox."