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The Open Society and Its Enemies [Paperback]

Karl Sir Popper , E.H Gombrich
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Book Description

March 20 2012 Routledge Classics

 ‘If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men.’

- Karl Popper, from the Preface

Written in political exile during the Second World War and first published in two volumes in 1945, Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies is one of the most influential books of all time. Hailed by Bertrand Russell as a ‘vigorous and profound defence of democracy’, its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx exposed the dangers inherent in centrally planned political systems and through underground editions become an inspiration to lovers of freedom living under communism in Eastern Europe.

Popper’s highly accessible style, his erudite and lucid explanations of the thoughts of great philosophers and the recent resurgence of totalitarian regimes around the world are just three of the reasons for the enduring popularity of The Open Society and Its Enemies and why it demands to be read today and in years to come.

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The Open Society and Its Enemies + The Logic of Scientific Discovery + Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
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'Some time ago a wise old man came to see me in Prague and I listened to him with admiration. Shortly afterwards I learned that this man had died. His name was Karl Popper'. - Vaclav Havel, from the Preface '!a work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies of democracy, ancient and modern. ..The book is a vigorous and profound defence of democracy, timely, very interesting, and very well written.' - Bertrand Russell 'One of the great books of the century' - The Times '!a modern classic' The Independent 'Few philosophers!have combined such a vast width of knowledge with the capacity to produce important original ideas as he did.' - The Guardian '!a powerful and important book. Dr Popper writes with extreme clarity and vigour. His studies in Greek history and Greek thought have obviously been profound and original. Platonic exegesis will never be the same again. Nor, I think, will Marxist exegesis.' - Gilbert Ryle '! a brilliant polemic. ..It remains the best intellectual defence of liberal democracy against know-it-all totalitarianism.' - The Economist

About the Author

Sir Karl Popper was one of the foremost philosophers of the Twentieth century. Born in Vienna in 1902, Popper grew up in a city witnessing great intellectual ferment. His relationship with the philosophers and scientists led to his first book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, published in 1934. On its publication in English in 1959 it was described by The New Scientist as ‘one of the most important documents of the twentieth century’. On the eve of World War Two Popper was forced to flee to New Zealand, where he took up a teaching post at Canterbury University College at Christchurch. It was there, reflecting on the tyranny sweeping through Eastern Europe, that he wrote The Open Society and Its Enemies, published in 1945. In 1946 Popper moved to the London School of Economics, where he taught until his retirement in 1969. This period saw the publication of The Poverty of Historicism, described by the Sunday Times as ‘probably the only book which will outlive this century’. He was knighted in 1965 and appointed Companion of Honour in 1982. He died in 1994.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Historic Roots Of An Authoritarian Society Oct. 1 2013
By Patrick Sullivan TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Popper attempts to lay out, the philosophical underpinnings of an authoritarian or closed society. Popper starts off, by examining the political works of Plato. Plato did not believe in democracy. Plato was in favour of a society, administered by a ruling elite class. In Plato`s opinion, the great unwashed were incapable of governing a country. The masses should be uneducated and restricted to menial work. The ruling elite must be segregated from the rest of society, and abstain from any money making activities. Plato believed the pursuit of wealth, would only lead to the corruption of the ruling class.

In the later half of the book, Popper examines the work of Hegel and Marx. Both National Socialism and Russian Communism were structured on Hegel and Marx`s ideas. In the case of Carl Marx, Popper deciphers a lot of information. He points out areas of disagreement, and as well agreeing with Marx on several points.

The whole idea of the book, is to point out the reasons behind a closed society. It is important for an open society, to understand how and why a totalitarian society exists. Popper is hoping these understandings, will help prevent an open society from descending into a despotic rule.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great book Jan. 22 2014
By Gordon McQueen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book at age 27 and understood little of it. I read it again at 35 and began to understand it. I read it again at 41 and breathed it in like fresh air. I have just read it again at 48 and find so much more in it than I found even at the last reading. This is a book to be read and re-read, deeply understood, and mined for it's multitude of ideas and arguments. 5 stars indeed - I love this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting philosophical insights Feb. 22 2013
By J. Miller - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent work to read if you would like to think about what an "open society" is, and how it can be defended from the forces of what Karl Popper calls "historicist" thinking (which, in his view, leads to totalitarian modes of thought and utopian social engineering.) Popper's critique of Plato's political thought is especially interesting, as Popper claims that the totalitarian ideas which plagued the 20th Century -- most specifically Communism and National Socialism -- had their intellectual roots in Plato's writings. A fascinating read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a great book! March 12 2013
By Surendra R. Bhandari - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very enlightening book! Any political leader and a student of political science could understand democracy in depth by reading this book than any other book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE MODERN CLASSIC Feb. 24 2013
By gtc53 - Published on
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio Book Please? June 15 2014
By Yetanotherguy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I drive 3 hours a day.. I have no time to read but my mind is not dead. Please create an audio book. Thanks
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