Guide Poppers Open Society After Fifty Years: The Continuing Relevance of Karl Popper

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Besides this particular passage, Popper demonstrates throughout the book an unwavering faith in science, technology, reason and the democratic process that at times seems delusional. The best example is with his rationalism the faith in reason that I just mentioned. Besides the fact that Popper admits it is logically unsustainable requiring a leap of faith in order to believe in reason at the outset , and that this initial leap of faith requires that Popper then allow other uses of faith and irrationality in order to maintain consistency which he neglects to do , the rationalism itself has some disturbing trends.

Throughout the book, Popper uses language that implies an act of violence toward the natural world. Something that is inherently unnatural must be "subjected" or "submitted" to our reason, in our effort to control it. I enjoy using reason and logic as much as the next guy, but I wonder if a better approach toward something outside of our control and understanding might be a role of cooperation , and coordination, in order to more healthily interact with our surrounding environment. This is, after all, one of the main points of his rationalism, that we use reason to cooperate with our fellow humans.

Why not extend that idea to the natural world? Not Bad Reviews blakerosser Oct 05, Mierrosamir rated it it was amazing. Oct 10, Tom rated it really liked it. This is a pretty extensive refutation of Marx's inspired by Hegel's historicism.

I think that he is undoubtedly right in the main in his treatment of Marx, and I'm obviously not going to go through the arguments he proffers against Marx's historicism, but I'll just provide some general remarks and one criticism. First, although it's clear that Popper abhors historicism, his treatment of Marx is refreshingly fair. He takes great pains to emphasize the aspects of Marx's work he finds commendable his humanitarianism, rationalism, sociological analyses, etc. It's very satisfying to read an author who doesn't turn his criticisms into an outright vitriolic polemic.

His treatment of Hegel confined largely to one chapter is pretty hilarious. He ridicules most of his philosophy and links it to totalitarianism. He's much harsher on Hegel than Marx. I know that many people have taken issue with Popper's treatment of Hegel, but from the admittedly little familiarity I have with Hegel's philosophy my sympathies would have to lie with Popper. Popper also provides an excellent and lengthy addendum detailing his theory of knowledge, which was an unexpected but welcomed addition. My one criticism is that Popper praises Marx's anti-psychologism in sociology as one of his greatest contributions to modern social theory that is, the position that sociology is not ultimately reducible to psychology.

Apart from the fact that I disagree with Marx and Popper here, it's a little baffling that Popper would consider this one of his greatest achievements. Marx's greatest achievements lay in unveiling the dangers of "unrestrained" capitalism, as Popper calls it. Of course, Popper does mention this as one of his significant contributions, but to put anti-psychologism in the same breath devalues it immensely. It doesn't help that psychologism a word I don't really care for has established itself as the most likely correct position, either.

I would advise all Marxists to read this. All libertarians, or classical liberals, as well. Both positions are critiqued, and one is the better for reading Popper's excellent work. Aug 08, Kraig Grady rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: politics, philosophy. I had never heard of Popper until Ligeti used a title of his for his pieces "Clouds and Clouds".

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So when in a book store, i search it out but ended up buying this one. Now here was a philosopher who didn't need to use big terms to impress you. His language is as simple as he could make it. And he ask the really important question-how open in terms of individual rights does a citizen have within a society. He takes Plato as a starting point and shows how much he was against such an idea and how I had never heard of Popper until Ligeti used a title of his for his pieces "Clouds and Clouds".

He takes Plato as a starting point and shows how much he was against such an idea and how as the fountainhead of so much philosophy infected so much of it's thought. When he gets to Marx it is almost humorous how he does maybe a 40 page disclaimer that he is really on his side, but couldn't predict allot of things that might have shaped his thinking.

1. Introduction

I have since read a couple of his books and always walk away thinking better than when i went in. Now how many writers manage that I thought that this book was great both Volume 1 and 2, although people more frequently refer to Volume 2, likely since it discusses Marxism which seems to be more near and dear to people's hearts. Oct 16, Maggie Koerth Baker rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Anyone who ever wanted a better reason to dislike Plato.


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Still reading currently. Will definitely have more to say about it when I'm done. Given the time frame this is written in, Popper is talking about issues between liberal democracy and the communism-based totalitarian states.

Karl Popper - Science, Epistemology, & Political Theory

But really, a lot of what he's talking about is also applicable to religion and tribalism-based totalitarianism and is, thus, still pretty relevant today. Feb 26, ali rated it really liked it Recommends it for: all. Shelves: philosophy. A book to learn more about marxism and democracy. Aug 17, Sherwin added it Shelves: philosophy , sociology. It changed my mind about old good Plato. About Marx and Hegel, my mind had been changed beforehand!

Popper's Open Society After Fifty Years: The Continuing Relevance of Karl Popper

Dec 05, David rated it it was amazing. Volume 2, dealing with Hegel and Marx, with an in-depth critique of the moral theory of historicism and whether history has any meaning, in light of oracular philosophy and the revolt against reason. View all 3 comments. Jun 11, sologdin rated it did not like it Shelves: dilectio-sapientiae.

This is the second part the cover isn't correct, but oh well , and it's equally good.

You should read this if you're uninspired to read anything else. May 17, Xander rated it it was amazing. In Vol 2 of The Open Society, Popper describes how the historicist approach of Hegel forms the foundation of facism and how the historicist approach of Marx - never mind its good intentions - led to immense suffering.

His treatment of Hegel's philosophy is somewhat irritating, due to the long list of witty comments on how corrupted and wrong Hegel was. Nonetheless, I completely agree with Popper on this. Hegel, according to Popper, was a scam. He developed a collectivist, historicist philosophy In Vol 2 of The Open Society, Popper describes how the historicist approach of Hegel forms the foundation of facism and how the historicist approach of Marx - never mind its good intentions - led to immense suffering.

He developed a collectivist, historicist philosophy of history. History is a grand stage where collectives nation states fight against each other and the succesful ones are good, the losing nation states are bad. This binds ethics to historical succes and offers a huge incentive for war. The individual is nothing, the collective is everything; war is good; reason is nothing. One can easily see how these ideas are the foundations of the later nationalism, facism and the two world wars. After treating Hegel in just 2 chapters, Popper uses the rest of the book to first explain and then to criticize the scientific method and historicist apporach of Karl Marx.

Popper's treatment of Marx is much more fair and honest than his treatment of Hegel. He credits Marx for his motives uplifting the oppressed people in systems of laissez faire-capitalism and even subscribes to some of his economic theories - at the least admitting they are interesting theories in their own right. Where Marx goes on the wrong path - according to Popper - is his belief in historicism. History is a class struggle; the end of history will be a socialist world society; the means to get there a social revolution.

This revolution will happen - it is inevitable - because capitalism will collapse in on itself due to its internal contradications. According to Popper, Marx makes two mistakes: 1 the revolution hasn't come to pass and it is perfectly possible to alleviate the sufferings of the poor by social piecemeal engineering creating rational, fair institutions instead of violent revolutions that will lead to new oppression. It doesn't matter what you do, you just have to pick the right side of history so to speak.

This is a dangerous ethics, because it puts historic succes over responsiblity for one's own actions. To summarize: Popper's two volumes are one plea for humanitarianism, democracy and critical rationalism. One should always seek criticism to expose false presuppositions; thereby respecting each human being as a rational person. It is important that institutions are rational and aimed at destroying suffering, unfairness and exploitation.

It is equally important that institutions are not aimed at providing a better life for people - this leads inevitably to enforcing one's view of "what is good? Human beings are responsible for their own happiness and the happiness of their fellow human beings - institutions should provide the preconditions to get there. There are no historic laws, predictions of the future are therefore not possible: historicism is a dangerous fallacy.

The best we can do is change society piece by piece by employing rational institutions - no revolutions, no 'blank canvas' approaches. Popper's message: Plato, Aristotle, Hegel and Marx all made the same mistake knowing what's best for mankind because they kneww what the future holds let's not make them again. These two books are definitely two of the most important and influential books I have read in my life. Especially in our times - where the two world wars and the totalitarian ideologies are far behind us - it is important to remind ourselves of Popper's message and to take care not to make the same mistakes again.

Nov 27, Aaron Crofut rated it it was ok Shelves: political-theory-science. Well, that was a let down. The cranks on Hegel are worth the while, as is the question of the use of history in the last chapter, but everything else Popper's thoughts on Marx are like a new invention that protects you against spears: not particularly important anymore, because I can't recall the last time I met a legitimate Marxist.

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Communists, sure, but out and out Marxists? A thing of the past. Ironically, Popper spends a great deal of time justifying what I see to be the largest threa Well, that was a let down. Ironically, Popper spends a great deal of time justifying what I see to be the largest threat to society today, the intervention of government to "fix" society by piecemeal changes.

I will give Popper credit for recognizing the threat of turning into an all consuming bureaucracy, but he never shows how we'll prevent that. For this is again merely a problem of social technology and of social piecemeal engineering.