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The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2: The High Tide of Prophecy Paperback – Feb 21 1971
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A modern classic. - The Independent
A brilliant polemic It remains the best intellectual defence of liberal democracy against know-it-all totalitarianism. - The Economist
This is a work of great interest and significance, stimulating and suggestive throughout. Dr Poppers virtues are manifold. He has a great fertility of ideas. Almost every sentence gives us something to think about. - G.C. Field, Philosophy --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Karl Popper (1902-1994). Philosopher, born in Vienna. One of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Popper demolishes the idea that a planned society is somehow preferable to a free one. A planned society is necessarily a static society, i.e. Eastern Europe and the USSR since 1945; the exact opposite is true of dynamic, continually evolving open societies. A casual look will convice all except the loonies still "waiting for the Revolution" that a liberal, market-driven culture produces goods and services that an authoritarian one cannot.
But his other arguement is deeper, more subtle. An open society is intrinsically more powerful for its intellectual machinery. It is not the material wealth of the West that should be admired (or disparaged if you are of that type). It is our intellectual dominance - particularly the US - that is so overwhelming. And it is true in all areas - scientific research, inventions, art, music, science...open societies excel, planned societies falter.
This is Popper's strongest arguement for an open society - the relationship between economic and political freedom. It is not possible to have one without the other over the long haul. Yet, Popper touches on what might be considered the greatest weakness of our own success - the idea that material wealth leads does not require political freedom or participation.Read more ›
Some philosophers seem to revel in the obscurity of their expressed thoughts. Popper on the other hand seems to express his ideas in a clear and direct fashion. Refreshingly, he skewers pomposity, pretence and philosophical obfuscation (on this last, he is highly critical of Hegel).
The accessibility of the ideas in the book makes one think that this is the way philosophy should be written, sets a standard of clarity, and is a good invitation to further reading and reflection. His systematic logical development of ideas, by making historical or literary observations, and working out the logical consequences, demonstrates the possibilities of analytical reasoning applied to philosophical issues.
This is a book about political philosophy. What was particularly striking was the contrast in point of view he paints between Plato's desire, as Popper describes it, to avoid change, and the measures that Plato was prepared to advocate in order to avoid change on the one hand, and on the other hand the perspectives of an open society. How valid all of his criticisms are I am unsure; I subsequently read that some Platonists have taken issue with Popper's analysis and conclusions.Read more ›
Popper's goal is to go through (in brief) some of the worlds most mistaken large-name philosophers who he feels were responsible for creating closed social systems. This second volume focuses on Hegel (from an Aristotlean tradition) and Marx. Hegel alone is enough to earn Popper 5 stars as anyone who can (at least attempt to) explain the dialectic in anything approaching language is an amazing feat. In fact, a few reviewers below take issue with Popper's 'mischaracterization' of Hegel but due to Hegels chimeric and unintelligible explanations, I would suspect that no correct representation would be possible. In fact, this is one of Popper's arguments and that, in itself, is about as close to the truth of Hegel as one could get.
Marx simply transforms Hegelian dialectic into a (to his credit) more intelligible, material one. Here, we get into crucial discussion of historicism and any deterministic system trying to plan history in advance. This, Popper notes, ALWAYS leads to totalitarian thinking as when one accepts the a priori 'direction' of history, one will become slave to she who dictates it (i.e., Marx or Lenin).
Honestly, even if these parts of the book were never written, the list price is more then returned to the reader by the ending essays, where Popper discusses 'the sociology of knowledge' and why most ideas therein are antithetical to open societies. Popper's prose throughout the book is clear, entertaining and unrelenting. Trust me, you will be as entertained as you will informed. (can be read without prior reading of part 1)
Most recent customer reviews
To begin with,the word "totalitarianism" only came into existence in the 20th century or rather the late 19th century. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003
This second volume of this two volume book is more about what lead to and became the economic historicism of Marx and its consequences. Read morePublished on June 4 2003 by Davin Enigl
What else could I think of this book when I find Popper, today an almost forgotten philosopher, making fun of one of the greatest minds in history, like Aristotle? Read morePublished on Nov. 28 2002
I read Open Society when I was a teenager. It was the book of my life. I had never been interested in philosophy or read anything of this kind. Read morePublished on Aug. 18 2002 by Buenoslibros.es
Karl Popper stood against all forms of dogmatism. Popper's ideas were used for ideological purposes during the Cold War, and continue to be used today by libertarians and... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2002 by Autonomeus
Karl Popper's two-volume tracing of the philosophical ancestry of 20th Century totalitarianism remains for me a marvelous work. Read morePublished on June 23 2000 by Mark J. Ross
This book is not merely a classic of social thought, it is also a classic of philosophical history and political and social science. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2000 by Greg Nyquist
Popper's attempt at saving the Western World, part II. After refuting Plato in part I -to many shocking and "a priori"... Read more
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