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Publisher's Summary

One of the most important books of the twentieth century, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies is an uncompromising defense of liberal democracy and a powerful attack on the intellectual origins of totalitarianism. Popper was born in 1902 to a Viennese family of Jewish origin. He taught in Austria until 1937, when he emigrated to New Zealand in anticipation of the Nazi annexation of Austria the following year, and he settled in England in 1949. Before the annexation, Popper had written mainly about the philosophy of science, but from 1938 until the end of the Second World War he focused his energies on political philosophy, seeking to diagnose the intellectual origins of German and Soviet totalitarianism. The Open Society and Its Enemies was the result.

An immediate sensation when it was first published in two volumes in 1945, Popper's monumental achievement has attained legendary status on both the Left and Right and is credited with inspiring anticommunist dissidents during the Cold War. Arguing that the spirit of free, critical inquiry that governs scientific investigation should also apply to politics, Popper traces the roots of an opposite, authoritarian tendency to a tradition represented by Plato, Marx, and Hegel.

©1994 The University of Klagenfurt/Karl Popper Library (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-2020

Karl Popper writes an easy to read equality philosophy

I absolutely loved Open Society and its enemies. I’m disappointed that Popper decided to support Marx’s open society where we rely on humanitarianism and accountability. Popper’s intentions are for the “brotherhood of mankind” which I completely believe in. I also enjoyed his thorough analysis of Socrates and Plato as well as Hegal and others. I learned so much in just one book. It was a surprisingly easy read that was so comprehensive and easy to follow. He writes as a man who completely believes in true freedom and equality no matter who you are. I don’t like that he writes that Capitalism will become Socialism no matter what. He also states that the only way to stop Capitalism is to destroy it. Seems to mimic what we’re seeing in society. The attack on Capitalism across the country especially in Democratic states and cities. It does contradict true justice which I think defeats writing about equality. He does write about how war and death is justified to reach the goal of an open society. I don’t agree. Popper did have a fee chapters where he did disagree with Marx but ultimately writes that Marx was on the right track. I don’t agree because there is no path or details of what it would ultimately look like. George Soros and others are risking it all on a philosophy that is flawed.

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  • Jason Baumbach
  • 09-04-2020

A very difficult book

The beginning refutation of Plato, the total dismissal of Hegel, and the books concluding chapters are, however, worth the effort.

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  • Lorenzo Coopman
  • 29-03-2020

Still relevant !

I'm not a reader of philosophy books but I found this book very interesting and useful as a reader of history books. His criticism on Plato has awoken my interest to revisit some dialogues of Plato ( the Republic, the laws) and see for myself. Popper's view of Hegel has made clear that I should not waste too much time on this man and his unapproachable philosophy. Voice was clear and understandable!

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  • Mr GS McCreadie
  • 23-06-2020

Enlightening

In the context of Brexit, China, USA, Africa, the shifting political sands, #BLM, international health concetns and the post-truth world being fought over, this text seemed relevant and still addresses some of the fundamental questions of today - as historicism and its revisionists rise and fall. The clamour for attention in the instantaneous world of the now brings some of Popper's observations into a sharpened clarity and from the totalitarianist ethics of Plato to the legacy of a post-industrialized Hegel, it is maybe time to look anew at the emerging dialogue between Maoist Communism & Jesuit Liberalism as a dialectic.

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