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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic relevant book
Absolute classic ! Read this many years ago and it's still as relevant today, when we still have politicians, that for all their fine words, still make topdown decisions.
Published 5 months ago by Paul Madden

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25 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Michael Flately Experience
I'll start with the positive aspects. For a philosopher, and one for whom English was a second language, Popper writes with great clarity and an engaging tone which makes this an easy read. During my tenure as a philosophy student I also found this book incredibly useful, because if there's one thing better than a well-written, inspirational work when studying the...
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by The Michael Flatley Experience


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic relevant book, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Absolute classic ! Read this many years ago and it's still as relevant today, when we still have politicians, that for all their fine words, still make topdown decisions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and influential work, 10 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
This book has been an inspiration to many, especially those who contributed to the overthrow of the totalitarian communist bloc in Eastern Europe established after the second world war. Popper contrasts 'open societies' based on democracy, where people are free and allowed to express criticism, with 'closed (or tribal) societies' which have rigid codes of ethics and politics, and ruling elites which are impossible to change without violence. With the growth of religious fundamentalist attitudes and forms of governments which is occurring today around the world, Popper's critique is as valuable now as it was when he wrote this book during the second world war. There are many countries where democracy is non-existent and a ruling elite brutally imposes a single uncriticisable government on its citizens. Popper correctly shows that these governments fear free thought and long for the tribal certainties which they do not want questioned.
Volume 1 is devoted to Plato. Popper translated Plato himself to avoid the usual translation euphemisms made by those unwilling to criticise Plato. In volume 2, Popper's view of Hegel as a charlatan is in line with the views of Schopenhauer. Popper exposes a passage of Hegel's supposed scientific writings as empty nonsense.
Most of volume 2 is devoted to Marx, a thinker who Popper admires but thinks is mistaken in his historicist prophesying analysis of history.
The phrase 'open society' has become a touchstone for those who value freedom and democracy.
A great book which should be widely known.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karl Popper and The Open Society, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
The book "The Open Society and Its Enemies" appeared as a philosophical and methodological development of Karl Popper's work: "The Poverty of Historicism", all written in political exile in New Zealand during the Second World War . This was his war effort (1rst Published in 1945), as well as "The Road to Serfdom" (1944) of his friend Hayek.
Popper (1902-1994), wanted to study the roots of historicism and of totalitarianism in philosophy, social sciences and politics. Upon his own methodology, he delivered his attacks on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx, the fathers of the ancient (tribalism) and the modern vision (nazism and stalinism) of the closed society; states without democracy and freedom for the individuals. He applied his research concerning the method or the logic of scientific discovery to the study of the societies. It is the same methodology of trial and error, of problem solving, with testability and falsifiability, in the natural sciences and in the social sciences. Hence his methodological individualism (Cf. also Hayek) to study the society, with its institutions as an evolutionary process, and the "piecemeal social engineering" for the policy measures. So he grasped all the conditions: in theory, economics and politics, to preserve the "open society", liberty and democracy.
In the XXth Century Popper and Hayek were the great philosophers of the liberal democracy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still working my way through it..., 5 Jan 2013
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Iain Sneddon (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
but some really deep and well reasoned philosophical arguments, as you would expect. You can see very quickly why Popper has the reputation he has and quickly makes a fallacy of some commonly accepted 'truths'. Truly power to the the people, but not in the way Hegel, Marx et al would expect!
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25 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Michael Flately Experience, 26 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
I'll start with the positive aspects. For a philosopher, and one for whom English was a second language, Popper writes with great clarity and an engaging tone which makes this an easy read. During my tenure as a philosophy student I also found this book incredibly useful, because if there's one thing better than a well-written, inspirational work when studying the subject, it's a well-written work of extreme and untenable interpretations. The scope for criticism is huge, so I recommend reading it for academic purposes especially.

Given the context of writing during the Second World War, Popper's methods in the defence of liberalism are absolutely understandable. However, as a supposedly unbiased academic they are unforgivable. Like many others, he fails to appreciate the nuances of the Greek city-state system and the idea of the polis in the Republic, instead assuming that Plato can be taken at face value and translated directly into modern political terminology in a way that conveniently serves his purpose. The city-in-speech which Popper criticises, for example, was never intended to be a political guide for 'totalitarianism', it is abstracted from the unreasoned desires of eros, not from reason itself - I recommend the section on Plato in Leo Strauss' 'History of Political Philosophy' for a good explanation.

On Hegel, I can only assume that Popper knows how ridiculous his analysis is, as he clearly doesn't take the philosopher's work seriously at all. I feel I need only point out that he not only misquotes Hegel but uses 'quotations' that have subsequently been shown to be entire fabrications (by the sources, not Popper himself) to make my point. Hegel is never mentioned in Mein Kampf and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Popper had never read a single piece of his work in its entirety. It is possibly the most overblown and criminal misrepresentation of one philosopher by another ever put to paper. I suggest Peter Singer or David James as more even-handed commentators if you're looking for an introduction to the great German. The final section of the book is a criticism of Stalinism masquerading as a criticism Marxism, as such there's little to disagree with except his attribution of these views to Marx. I suggest simply reading Marx himself to appreciate the huge over-emphasis Popper places on his comments on 'historicism'. Though its importance in 20th century political philosophy cannot be denied, this work has dated badly because its biased view is now so out of context. This is not to say that Nazism and Stalinism did not warrant such a polemic, of course, but hell will surely freeze over before I buy into the explanation that Plato was responsible for them.
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The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics)
The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge Classics) by Karl Popper (Paperback - 4 April 2011)
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