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The Open Society And Its Enemies: The Spell Of Plato - Isbn:9780691019680

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  • Book Title: The Open Society and Its Enemies: The spell of Plato
  • ISBN 13: 9780691019680
  • ISBN 10: 0691019681
  • Author: Karl Raimund Popper
  • Category: Medical
  • Category (general): Medical
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format & Number of pages: 420 pages, book
  • Synopsis: A critical appraisal of political and historical philosophies, delineating the threat to freedom posed by several classical thinkers 'A work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies ...

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ISBN: 9780691019680 - The Open Society And Its Enemies, Vol

The Open Society And Its Enemies, Vol. 1: The Spell Of Plato

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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry.

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The Open Society and Its Enemies: The Spell of Plato

The Open Society and Its Enemies: The Spell of Plato

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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry.

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Popper, K

Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume 1:
The Spell of Plato
Sir Karl Raimund Popper

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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry.

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The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol

The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 1: The Spell of Plato Description:

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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry.

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The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I: The Spell of Plato by Karl Popper

The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I: The Spell of Plato (1945)

I'm still in some shock from the utter thrashing that Popper perpetrates upon Plato, maybe the most venerated philosopher in the history of the world. For that alone the book is exceedingly welcome, although I'm admittedly no expert on ancient Greek philosophy, so it's not prudent to accept everything Popper says on just his word. Indeed, one of the problems I had with the book is that, despite his various reminders that he means nothing personal, and that he still holds Plato in the highest esteem, Popper seems almost gleeful at times while knocking the old Greek down several notches. So were his disclaimers deceptive, ironic, or just disingenuous?

That said, the man has a capacity for argumentation that I'm not sure I've ever encountered. His arguments are clear, logical, and strong. He uses primarily Plato's Republic to paint Socrates' alum as the originator of totalitarianism, highlighting his proposed class stratification, state propaganda to maintain order, and the suppression of intellectual and all other freedoms. One of his most shocking and damning criticisms is the evidence that Plato actively supported selective breeding as one of the first forms of eugenics, to maintain as pure the "master race." Also quite impressive was the documentation of Plato's perversion of his own mentor's teaching. Socrates comes out of this as a shining beacon of liberalism and humanitarianism.

My main criticisms of the book are incidental to the larger point. The brief discussion in Note 4 of Ch. 7 troubled me. In discussing the "paradox of tolerance," Popper correctly notes that a completely tolerant society will breed intolerance, just because they will tolerate an intolerant person or group to rise to power and begin repression. His solution, that it's therefore necessary to repress intolerance, seems like a very slippery slope. I can respect it, as a hater of ignorance myself, but assuming that some abuse-proof way of controlling intolerance is within our grasp seems awfully idealistic. In his abhorrence of Plato's totalitarianism, he seems to err on the side of Tocqueville's "tyranny of the majority." Who can say which is preferable?

This goes into my larger criticism. As more of a radical than Popper (in his literal sense of the word), I remain skeptical of his deep faith in democratic institutes and the process of reform. Maybe he would have thought differently about our democratic process had he lived a couple of decades longer (i.e. witnessing the rise of FoxNews and the neocon). Or maybe he would have just emphasized the need to repress such hateful intolerance, who knows? But for all the cojones and free-thinking Popper shows in going after the originators of Western thought and civilization as we know them, it's a little surprising that he doesn't take it to the next level, wondering if there isn't some problem with our civilization as a whole. Or if there isn't some compromise between the magical tribalism of his Closed Society and the humanist rationalism of the Open. ( )

Straightforward and coldly logical criticism of sociological historicism as seen first in Plato, and later by Hegel and Marx (Vol. 2). Lucid and thorough. ( )

This book about one of the fundamental thinkers of Western Civilization was written in the shadow of the fascist threat to that civilization, from Popper's first conception of the book in 1938 to its publication in 1943. A blurb on its back cover describes the book as "a survey of Greek philosophy. a history of the rise and fall of Athens, a formal philosophical critique of idealism. and a defense of clarity, scientific method, and democratic procedure." I'm not sure if this should be read before or after having read Plato. It's so lucid, that even in his passionate refutation of Plato's totalitarian tendencies, Popper's book nevertheless makes a good introduction to Platonic ideas. Although personally I've always found Plato among the most lucid, accessible, as well as readable, of philosophers. His dialogues are on the whole brilliant philosophical plays, with plenty of personality and wit.

Popper's book however does make sense of a lot that puzzled me in Plato, and I don't mean the content of the ideas themselves, which are far more understandable than, say, Descartes or Kant, but some of their contradictions. Popper suggests that there's a divide between the philosophy of Socrates, Plato's mouthpiece, and that of Plato himself. That especially in the Apology dealing with Socrates trial, after all a recent event in Athens' history, Plato couldn't do much to alter Socrates' expression of belief in the "open society" of free inquiry, debate and democracy. I certainly saw and admired this Socrates and his precepts in such dialogues as Crito. Apology and Gorgias. But then one finds a rather different spirit in for instance Plato's most famous dialogue, The Republic. (The title of which Popper revealingly claims is more accurately translated, The State. ) In the end I found Popper's book a stimulating and thought-provoking study of the connections between such abstruse ideas as Plato's Forms and his advocacy of an unchanging, censorious authoritarianism, between the tensions between the individual and society, and trial and error piecemeal reform over utopian schemes. ( )

Wow. This books gives the kind of insight that's almost impossible to find in more recent books. Popper masterfully combines his interpretation of plato with contemporary political philosophy, philosophy of social science and greek history. Whether he's "right" or "wrong" about plato is not really the relevant question. The value of this book is in that it provides a clearly argued, broad-minded starting point from which you can re-read both plato's works and greek history to reconsider their influence on today's world. I immediately added Popper to my favorite authors after reading this book.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691019681. Paperback)

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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:49 -0400)

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The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume 1: The Spell of Plato by Karl R

The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume 1: The Spell of Plato

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 theMore 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.

In the book, Popper condemned Plato, Marx, and Hegel as "holists" and "historicists"--a holist, according to Popper, believes that individuals are formed entirely by their social groups; historicists believe that social groups evolve according to internal principles that it is the intellectual's task to uncover. Popper, by contrast, held that social affairs are unpredictable, and argued vehemently against social engineering. He also sought to shift the focus of political philosophy away from questions about who ought to rule toward questions about how to minimize the damage done by the powerful. The book was an immediate sensation, and--though it has long been criticized for its portrayals of Plato, Marx, and Hegel--it has remained a landmark on the left and right alike for its defense of freedom and the spirit of critical inquiry. Less

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Matthew Harbowy rated it it was ok

over 4 years ago

Popper's Open Society and its Enemies is devoted to a crushing polemic against Platonism. Plato's Republic is described as a detailed defense of what Popper calls "Closed Society", which is taken to be totalitarian in all its forms.

Platonism is hard to summarize concisely. Read full review

Clif rated it it was amazing

Have you wondered what Plato was all about or had trouble reading through his lengthy works? Get this wonderful book where an outstanding author does the hard work for you, then lays out the gist of Plato's thoughts in clear, easily and quickly readable prose.

Randal Samstag rated it did not like it

almost 4 years ago

Popper's anti-Platonist tract is slander from start to finish; the book that inspired Ronald Levinson to write a 645 page rebuttal (In Defense of Plato ). In much of Popper's writing he is a fitting follower of Sextus Empiricus, but here, in a perhaps-understandable post-H. Read full review

محمد النعمه rated it really liked it

about 1 year ago

ينتقد كارل بوبر في كتابه " المجتمع المفتوح وأعداؤه - الجزء الأول ) نظريات الفيلسوف أفلاطون السياسية ، حيث يوضح موقف أفلاطون من الديموقراطية. ورغم نقد أفلاطون للإستبداد السياسي إلا أن بوبر وصف برنامج أفلاطون السياسي بالأستبداد الخالص.

ويقول بوبر " غالباً ما تدعي النزعة. Read full review

Steve Evans rated it it was amazing

over 4 years ago

This is one of the most important books written in the 20th century, taken with its second volume - a searching analysis of the modes of thinking of "development" that takes in Plato, Hegel, and Marx. The best edition is this one, that keeps more detailed analysis in wee. Read full review

Kyle van Oosterum rated it it was amazing

An incredible work on Plato yielding one of the most important interpretations of his philosophy of all time. We tend to idealize the great Athenian philosopher but Karl Popper, a philosopher of science, sets the record straight with this scathing indictment of his philos. Read full review

hayatem rated it it was amazing

"إن حضارتنا إذا ما أريد لها أن تبقى وتستمر، فينبغي أن تقلع عن عادة الدفاع الأعمى عن أولئك المفكرين العظماء. فهؤلاء الرجال العظماء ليسوا معصومين من الخطأ."
-كارل بوبر

يعد هذا الكتاب مدخلاً نقدياً لفلسفة السياسة والتاريخ.، وهو فحص لمبادىء إعادة البناء الاجتماعي من أفلاطون بوص. Read full review

Tom rated it really liked it

over 4 years ago

This is a thorough repudiation of Plato's political and moral philosophy. Although I am definitely not any sort of historian or authority on the nature of Plato's philosophy, Popper is convincing enough to make me really question the "idealization" of Plato he so often me. Read full review

John Gurney rated it it was amazing

over 1 year ago

Popper brilliantly shows how Plato was no friend of democracy or freedom (the "open society"). This highly influential work is fascinating, yet, highly readable.

Maria Borland rated it it was amazing

almost 7 years ago

Popper begins 150 pages of endnotes with an apology for those books he was unable to consult due to wartime (WWII) conditions. This sense of humility and thoroughness pervades Poppers work. Any satisfying soundbites - 'what we want is to moralize politics and not to polit. Read full review

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Book Details

Paperback. 376 pages

Published February 21st 1971 by Princeton University Press (first published 1945

ISBN 0691019681 (ISBN13: 9780691019680 ) Edition Language English Original Title The Open Society and Its Enemies: 1.The Spell of Plato

About this Author

Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born in Vienna on 28 July 1902. His rise from a modest background as an assistant cabinet maker and school teacher to one of the most influential theorists and leading philosophers was characteristically Austrian. Popper commanded international audiences and conversation with him was an intellectual adventure - even if a little rough -, animated by a myriad of.

Genres Quotes

But the secret of intellectual excellence is the spirit of criticism ; it is intellectual independence. And this leads to difficulties which must prove insurmountable for any kind of authoritarianism. The authoritarian will in general select those who obey, who believe, who respond to his influence. But in doing so, he is bound to select mediocrities. For he excludes those who revolt, who doubt, who dare to resist his influence. Never can an authority admit that the intellectually courageous, i.e. those who dare to defy his authority, may be the most valuable type. Of course, the authorities will always remain convinced of their ability to detect initiative. But what they mean by this is only a quick grasp of their intentions, and they will remain for ever incapable of seeing the difference.

Nature consists of facts and of regularities, and is in itself neither moral nor immoral. It is we who impose our standards upon nature, and who in this way introduce morals into the natural world, in spite the fact that we are part of this world. We are products of nature, but nature has made us together with our power of altering the world, of foreseeing and of planning for the future, and of making far-reaching decisions for which we are morally responsible. Yet, responsibility, decisions, enter the world of nature only with us

Historically, all ethics undoubtedly begin with religion; but I do not now deal with historical questions. I do not ask who was the first lawgiver. I only maintain that it is we, and we alone, who are responsible for adopting or rejecting some suggested moral laws; it is we who must distinguish between the true prophets and the false prophets. All kinds of norms have been claimed to be God-given. If you accept 'Christian' ethics of equality and toleration and freedom of conscience only because of its claim to rest upon divine authority, then you build on a weak basis; for it has been only too often claimed that inequality is willed by God, and that we must not be tolerant with unbelievers. If, however, you accept the Christian ethics not because you are commanded to do so but because of your conviction that it is the right decision to take, then it is you who have decided.

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The Open Society and Its Enemies

The Open Society and Its Enemies

0-415-29063-5
978-0-691-15813-6 (1 volume 2013 Princeton ed.)

The Open Society and Its Enemies is a work on political philosophy by Karl Popper. a critique of theories of teleological historicism in which history unfolds inexorably according to universal laws. Popper criticizes and indicts as totalitarian Plato. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx for relying on historicism to underpin their political philosophies. Written during World War II. The Open Society and Its Enemies was first printed in London by Routledge in 1945. Originally published in two volumes, "The Spell of Plato" and "The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath", a one volume edition with a new introduction by Alan Ryan and an essay by E. H. Gombrich was published by Princeton University Press in 2013. [ 1 ] The work was on the Modern Library Board's 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century. [ 2 ] Popper has been criticized for misinterpreting Plato, Hegel, and Marx.

Publication

As Popper was writing in academic obscurity in New Zealand for the duration of World War II, several other figures in philosophy and the social sciences were involved in its path to publication. Gombrich was entrusted with the main task of finding a publisher; Friedrich Hayek wanted to get Popper to the London School of Economics and thus was enthused by his turn to social philosophy; Lionel Robbins and Harold Laski reviewed the manuscript. Lastly, J.N. Findlay suggested the book's ultimate title after three others had been discarded. ('A Social Philosophy for Everyman' was the original title of the manuscript; 'Three False Prophets: Plato-Hegel-Marx' and 'A Critique of Political Philosophy' were also considered and rejected.)

The book was not published in Russia until 1992. [ 3 ]

Summary

Popper develops a critique of historicism and a defense of the open society . liberal democracy. The subtitle of his first volume, "The Spell of Plato", makes clear Popper's central premise — namely, that most Plato interpreters through the ages have been seduced by his greatness. In so doing, Popper argues, they have taken his political philosophy as a benign idyll, without taking into account its dangerous tendencies toward totalitarian ideology.

Contrary to major Plato scholars of his day, Popper divorced Plato's ideas from those of Socrates. claiming that the former in his later years expressed none of the humanitarian and democratic tendencies of his teacher. In particular, he accuses Plato of betraying Socrates in the Republic . wherein Plato portrays Socrates sympathizing with totalitarianism (see: Socratic problem ).

Popper extols Plato's analysis of social change and discontent, naming him as a great sociologist. yet rejects his solutions. This is dependent on Popper's reading of the emerging humanitarian ideals of Athenian democracy as the birth pangs of his coveted "open society". In his view, Plato's historicist ideas are driven by a fear of the change that comes with such a liberal worldview. Popper also suggests that Plato was the victim of his own vanity, and had designs to become the supreme Philosopher King of his vision.

The last chapter of the first volume bears the same title as the book, and conveys Popper's own philosophical explorations on the necessity of liberal democracy as the only form of government allowing institutional improvements without violence and bloodshed.

In volume two, "The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath", Popper criticises Hegel and Marx, tracing back their ideas to Aristotle. and arguing that the two were at the root of 20th century totalitarianism.

Scholarly reception

Bertrand Russell called The Open Society and its Enemies "a vigorous and profound defence of democracy." [ 4 ] Philosopher Sidney Hook praised The Open Society and its Enemies as a "subtly argued and passionately written" critique of the "historicist ideas that threaten the love of freedom [and] the existence of an open society". Hook calls Popper's critique of the cardinal beliefs of historicism "undoubtedly sound", noting that historicism "overlooks the presence of genuine alternatives in history, the operation of plural causal processes in the historical pattern, and the role of human ideals in redetermining the future". Nevertheless, Hook argues that Popper "reads Plato too literally when it serves his purposes and is too cocksure about what Plato's 'real' meaning is when the texts are ambiguous". Moreover, Hook calls Popper's treatment of Hegel "downright abusive" and "demonstrably false", noting that "there is not a single reference to Hegel in Hitler 's Mein Kampf ". [ 5 ]

Walter Kaufmann believed that The Open Society and Its Enemies has many virtues, including its attack against totalitarianism, and many suggestive ideas. However, Kaufmann also found the work to have serious flaws, writing that Popper's interpretations of Plato were flawed and that Popper had provided a "comprehensive statement" of older myths about Hegel. Kaufmann commented that despite Popper's hatred of totalitarianism, Popper's method was "unfortunately similar to that of totalitarian 'scholars'". [ 6 ]

The Marxist philosopher Maurice Cornforth defended Marxism against Popper's criticisms in his work The Open Philosophy and the Open Society: A Reply to Dr. Karl Popper's Refutations of Marxism. Though disagreeing with Popper, Cornforth nevertheless called him "perhaps the most eminent" critic of Marxism. [ 7 ] Marxist economist Ernest Mandel identifies The Open Society and Its Enemies as part of a literature, beginning with German social democrat Eduard Bernstein. that criticizes the dialectical method Marx borrowed from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel as "useless", "metaphysical", or "mystifying." He faults Popper and the other critics for what he regards as their "positivist narrowness". [ 8 ]

Reviewing the book's legacy at the end the 20th century, Rajeev Bhargava claims that Popper "notoriously misreads Hegel and Marx", arguing also that the formulation Popper deployed to defend liberal political values is "motivated by partisan ideological considerations grounded curiously in the most abstract metaphysical premises". [ 9 ]

Legacy

The Open Society Foundations. created by investor George Soros. are inspired in name and purpose by Popper's book. [ 10 ]

See also References External links

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The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato

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Θ The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato Θ : A critical appraisal of political and historical philosophies, delineating the threat to freedom posed by several classical thinkers 'A work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies.
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Θ The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato Θ : Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history.
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Θ The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato Θ : First published in 1994. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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Θ The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato Θ : Hailed on publication in 1957 as 'probably the only book published this year that will outlive the century', this is a devastating criticism of the idea that there are fixed laws in history and that human beings are able to predict them.On.
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Θ The Open Society and Its Enemies The spell of Plato Θ : 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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