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Popper Selections [Hardcover]

David Miller , Karl Raimund Popper
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1985

These excerpts from the writings of Sir Karl Popper are an outstanding introduction to one of the most controversial of living philosophers, known especially for his devastating criticisms of Plato and Marx and for his uncompromising rejection of inductive reasoning. David Miller, a leading expositor and critic of Popper's work, has chosen thirty selections that illustrate the profundity and originality of his ideas and their applicability to current intellectual and social problems. Miller's introduction demonstrates the remarkable unity of Popper's thought and briefly describes his philosophy of critical rationalism, a philosophy that is distinctive in its emphasis on the way in which we learn through the making and correcting of mistakes.

Popper has relentlessly challenged both the authority and the appeal to authority of the most fashionable philosophies of our time. This book of selections from his nontechnical writings on the theory of knowledge, the philosophy of science, metaphysics, and social philosophy is imbued with his emphasis on the role and by reason in exposing and eliminating the errors among them.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"These pieces taken from Anglo-Austrian philosopher Sir Karl Popper's brilliantly expounded oeuvre of political, social, and scientific thought should stimulate anyone seriously interested in twentieth-century ideas."--The Washington Post --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"The introduction is an excellent short summary of Popper's ideas, and the selections themselves are exciting and representative of Popper's wide range of accomplishments."--Burleigh Wilkins, University of California, Santa Barbara

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Critical Rationalism June 18 2004
Popper's favorite philosophers are the pre-Socratics. He celebrates them for their willingness to entertain/invite/encourage alternative points of view. The pre-Socratics sought to explain the universe ( a goal modern philososphy/science has lost sight of) but no one theory was viewed as absolute, rather each theory was viewed as a proposition that could then be honed/improved/altered by further argument/inquiry. This spirit of inquiry begins to vanish around the time of Plato and Aristotle for their teachings begin to be passed down not as theories that can be improved upon (modified or dismissed) but as knowledge. For Popper reverence for "great men" and "great ideas" only stands in the way of pluralism and progress.
Poppers method is to identify the mistakes made by the "great men" and therefore clear the way for further inquiry. Of all the western philosphers Plato receives the most attention. Popper finds much to admire in Plato but also much that needs amending. In an essay on "subjective" and "objective" knowledge Popper evolves his idea of a third "world" of knowledge. This autonomous third world of knowledge is reminiscent of Plato's theory of ideal forms with one essential difference. For Popper all knowledge is man made and so his third world of knowledge contains not ideals(in Popper's world ideals do not exist) but "problem situations" -- the state of a discussion or the state of a critical argument at the present time and these "states" make up the "objective contents of thought".
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By A Customer
This is one of my few cherished books - it gives an overview of the thinking of one of the great philosophers of modern times, Karl Popper. Miller's organization and introduction of the material contributes significantly.
I first became interested in Popper for his view on science. In a nutshell, that falsificationism is the best (only?) approach to practicing science. Popper's view taken literally might not make a full arsenal for a working scientist, but the spirit of his idea - that mistaken but provocative theory contributes importantly to the progress of science - is liberating, even exhilirating. Sounds a little strange? Well, try it and see for yourself. Popper is probably the only philosopher of science who has had an impact on how scientists actually think about their work. Others, who may try to strike a more balanced tone, end up writing mush.
From Miller's fine collection we learn that Popper has done much more, including making important contributions to social and political theory. This book will also introduce the reader to one of Popper's personal wellsprings, the pre-Socratic philosophers. In all, this book is an intellectual treasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Summary of Popper's Ideas Out There Sept. 10 1999
By A Customer
This is one of my favorites in my bookcase. Popper has a gripping writing style and these essays provide short glimpses into his most important ideas. Probably not for the general reader, but for anyone having an intellectual interest in science and society, this book covers Popper's ideas on the faults of inductive reasoning, his definition of science vs. pseudoscience, his views on intolerant thinking and behavior, and even his idea of 'piecemeal social engineering,' an idea ahead of its time. Throughout this book, Popper emerges as a warm, brilliant thinker, one of the best of the 20th Century. The editors have done a wonderful job compiling these selections, and the book is of fine quality construction and will last for many years on the buyer's bookshelf.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read many of Karl Popper's works, in whole or in part, and this is an excellent summary of his thinking about science and politics. I honestly believe no person can consider him or herself literate in science without reading Popper. For those who don't have time to read all of his works, then Popper Selections will give you what you absolutely need to know. Should be required reading by any intelligent and curious person.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary of Popper's thought Nov. 13 1998
Highly recommended. This short book summarizes all the most important insights of this very influential thinker.
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