more from Isaiah Berlin

Single Idea 7665

[catalogued under 20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism]

Full Idea

What is common to most of the main thinker of the Enlightenment is the view that virtue consists ultimately in knowledge.

Gist of Idea

Most Enlightenment thinkers believed that virtue consists ultimately in knowledge


Isaiah Berlin (The Roots of Romanticism [1965], Ch.2)

Book Reference

Berlin,Isaiah: 'The Roots of Romanticism' [Pimlico 2000], p.25

A Reaction

I have always found this view (which seems to originate with Socrates) rather sympathetic. What is so frustrating about cheerful optimists who smoke cigarettes is not the weakness of will or strong desires, but their apparent failure of understanding.