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Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography (Routledge Classics) [Paperback]

Karl Popper
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2002 0415285909 978-0415285902 2

At the age of eight, Karl Popper was puzzling over the idea of infinity and by fifteen was beginning to take a keen interest in his father's well-stocked library of books. Unended Quest recounts these moments and many others in the life of one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, providing an indispensable account of the ideas that influenced him most. As an introduction to Popper's philosophy, Unended Quest also shines. Popper lucidly explains the central ideas in his work, making this book ideal for anyone coming to Popper's life and work for the first time.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (9 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415285909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415285902
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'There is no philosopher writing in English who can match Karl Popper in the range or in the quality of his work ... politics, science, art ... few broad areas of human thought remain unillumined by Popper's work.' - Bryan Magee

About the Author

Karl Popper (1902-1994). Philosopher, born in Vienna. one of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When I was twenty I became apprenticed to an old master cabinetmaker in Vienna whose name was Adalbert Posch, and I worked with him from 1922 to 1924, not long after the First World War. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mind-boggling 31 Oct 2011
With, on the one hand, rationalists demanding that religion should meet the criteria of empirical science; and, on the other, people making pseudo-scientific claims for all kinds of post-hoc or associative fudging; the crying intellectual need of the moment is for a greater understanding of what science actually is. And the man who has done most to clarify that is Austrian-born logician Karl Popper.

I read Conjectures and Refutations at university, and thought this might be a handy refresher. It is that, but it also covers an amazing range of subjects, from communism to quantum mechanics and from positivism to polyphony (Popper claims that the invention of harmony is a greater achievement even than science). Well-written - especially considering that English was his second language - this is breathlessly dense in ideas. Those who can keep up will find it a stimulating, envigorating work.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and What a Quest it Was!! 15 Feb 2003
By Kevin Currie-Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Routledge Classics has done us all - fans of clear thinking, clear writing and great literature - a real service by re-releasing Karl Popper's intellectual biography "An Unended Quest". In additiion to offering informative accounts of how he came about his greatest theories, he gives us entertaining life stories as well.

As we would expect from Popper, this book is set up similar to his problem solving methodology: (P1)- (TT)-(EE)-(P2). For those unfamiliar, this stands for problem 1, tentative theory, error elimination, problem 2 - and this is how Popper, at least, according to his biography, led his life. A problem would arise, he'd think about it enough to offer a best conjecture, go about watching its results (recieving criticism from others as well as himself, setting aside a refuted theory if necessary) and this would invariably lead to new and more challenging problems. It is party because of this ongoing method that Popper descrbes himself as "the happiest philosopher I ever met."
The first half of the book is especially thrilling. Popper shifts from a chapter relating personal events and development with "digression" chapters relating how these personal events led to theories, ideas and problems to be solved. Of note to me, with a B.A. in music, were the chapters exploring Poppers love for 'classical' music. Especially of suprise here was that he has many of the same tastes and reasons for them as I and he discusses many of those ideas in what could be the most exciting 'digression' in the book.
The second half of the book concentrates more on ideas and lesson events. This was the period where Popper, although still looked at as unconventional, was a bit more accepted. This period saw him write "The Open Society and It's Enemies", "Poverty of Historicism", and "Conjectures and Refutations". As most of this is about explaining his ideas, not the events therefrom, those familiar with Popper's writings may get a bit bored here. Still, with prose as crystal-clear and exciting as Popper's, nobody - from the novice to the professional philosopher - will want to miss a paragraph!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid as ever 24 April 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
"Unended Quest" provides a lucid summary of the broad themes of Popper's work along with some background he has provided of his life. I don't think one can overstate the contribution Popper made to the theory of knowledge, even if many texts seem to have virtually ignored his work. The real pity is that Popper has been repeatedly quoted out of context, it would be refreshing if criticism was based on his writings rather than second-hand interpretations.

I personally find this book exciting and I often revisit it. I would recommend his "All Life is Problem Solving" as a follow up for those who have limited familiarity with Popper, in particular the essay "Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge" which was written late in his life and is brilliant in its overarching synthesis. It is a pity that Richard Dawkins has not absorbed more of Popper's way of talking about evolution as it might temper his positivist tendencies and make his rebuttal of intelligent design and creationism more rigorous and less dogmatic and perhaps more effective.

Popper rejected the positivist belief that what elevates science over pseudoscience is the "scientific method" of finding true, secure, justifiable knowledge. Instead better theories are those with the greater content and the greater explanatory power (both relative to the problems we are trying to solve). If we cannot justify a theory - that is, justify our belief in its truth - we can explain our preference for one theory over another. It follows that we must distinguish achievements or solutions in the objective sense from subjective feelings of achievement, or of knowing, or of belief.

All Life is Problem Solving
Reason and Imagination (Critical Rationalist Papers)
5.0 out of 5 stars The only viable philosophic contribution to epistemology 8 Oct 2013
By Michael A. Rinaldi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Karl Popper is famous for seemingly making the only lasting philosophic contribution to epistemology. His dismantling of Empiricism and description of "How we create objective knowledge" is a monumental contribution to philosophy. The autobiography is a good read that highlights the growth of his thinking. It is an 'intellectual autobiography" rather than a historical biography or memoir. Highly recommended to folks interested in epistemology and the intellectual life of great thinkers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Envigorating The Mind 10 Aug 2012
By Abraham Moses Genen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Karl Popper was arguably one of the finest minds of the 20th century.
Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography is a lucid and elegant summary of his thinking.
It should be read by everyone who wishes to engage in the continuous critical thinking that everyone should do - but many people seem to lack the desire to do.
5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unended Quest 8 Jan 2011
By John S. Ripandelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The product, "Unending Quest," is in good condition, and arrived on time.
The author of the autobiography, Popper, has a world wide reputation as a
"Philosopher" of Science, but in my opinion he is one of these "celebrity"
Sacred Cows who comments but does not actually work in the field itself.
For example, I prefer to read the popular explanatory works of men actually
working in the scientific field like Feynman, Gramow, or Heisenberg than
the "analysis" of a sideline "observer."
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