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21. Karl Popper's Philosophy of Science:
22. The Poverty of Historicism
23. Karl Popper: Critical Appraisals
24. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem:
25. Rethinking Popper (Boston Studies
26. The Open Society and its Enemies
27. Karl Popper And the Social Sciences
28. Quantum Theory and the Schism
29. An Introduction to the Thought
30. Science and the Open Society :
31. The Two Fundamental Problems of
32. La logica de la investigacion
33. The Philosophy of Karl Popper
34. Truth, Hope, and Power: The Thought
35. Philosophy of Karl Popper: v.
36. World of Parmenides
37. Die offene Gesellschaft und ihre
38. Karl Popper
39. Karl Popper: Philosophy and Problems
40. Karl Popper (Arguments of the

21. Karl Popper's Philosophy of Science: Rationality Without Foundations
by Stefano Gattei
 Hardcover: 136 Pages (2010-10)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$39.95
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Asin: 0415887763
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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This book seeks to rectify misrepresentations of Popperian thought with a historical approach to Popper's philosophy, an approach which applies his own mature view, that we gain knowledge through conjectures and refutations, to his own development, by portraying him in his intellectual growth as just such a series. Gattei seeks to reconstruct the logic of Popper's development, in order to show how one problem and its tentative solution led to a new problem. ... Read more

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No disrespect to Mr. Gottei, but if I want to know what Karl Popper said or thinks, I'll read Popper and I recommend the same to others. Besides, reading Popper, by Popper himself, is by far cheaper than reading Gottei. And, if Popper can't expresses himself properly, how can Gottei? ... Read more

22. The Poverty of Historicism
by Karl R. Popper
 Hardcover: 166 Pages (1957-01-01)

Asin: B003R3ALJC
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
For Popper's fans, this is a great reading. It's a classic, and the philosopher of science makes his point about historicism.
Excellent choice!

5-0 out of 5 stars It is impossible to know and control what people think (B. Spinoza)
In this book, Karl Popper explains his vision on the course of history, on historical determinism, and on the theories of Descartes, Poincaré and Duhem.

The course of history
For K. Popper, evolution in history is never dominated by theories, although they may exert some influence, at the same time many other less rational or even completely irrational factors are at work.

Historicism (Engels, Marx, Spencer, J.S. Mill, K. Mannheim)
Historicism is that part of social sciences which considers historical predictions as its main objective. It pretends that this goal can be achieved if we discover the 'laws' or 'trends' that underlie historical developments.
Karl Popper rejects this approach for the following reasons: the course of human history depends heavily on the increase of human knowledge. We can not rationally or scientifically predict this increase. So, we can not determine the future course of history. Developing a theoretical history which is the equivalent of theoretical physics, is impossible.

Descartes, Poincaré, Duhem, essentialism
For Descartes, the principles and premises of deductive systems must be certain ('clear and distinct'). For K. Popper, these principles are only provisory, are only hypotheses. Popper does not agree either with Poincaré and Duhem, for which some systems may not be subjected to empirical tests. A world of universals (essentialism) doesn't exist, only a world of real objects (nominalism).

Popper's proposition of piecemeal adjustments (not revolutions) in the social sphere has been heavily criticized. One critic even asked how a HIV plague can be attacked by piecemeal interventions. But, in fact, the HIV plague was attacked in a piecemeal manner; first by individual drugs, then by cocktails.

This defense of indeterminism is a must for all historians and for all Popper fans.

The best introduction to Popper's philosophy is Bryan Magee's `Philosophy and the Real World. An Introduction to Karl Popper'.

5-0 out of 5 stars Non expert summary of the book
1. Historicism is a term that was invented by Karl Popper. He did it on purpose to prevent confusion with any other existing term.
2. The book is about methodology of social science but of course most of the conclusions are about the nature of social science.
3. He seeks to refute the two core arguments that are advanced to show that social science is not like science.
4. The anti naturalist doctrine says social science is not like science because unlike in science we cannot really follow the hypothesis>experiment>conclusion> refinement of hypothesis cycle. Various reasons are offered for this such as being unable to experiment, complexity of social science (includes biology, psychology etc.), novelty (every situation is unique because of the `uncertainty principle') and the fact that social experiments is not worth doing in a piecemeal fashion because their generalisability is very less.
5. The naturalist doctrine on the other hand looks at social science as being similar to astronomy (global laws which explain everything about the universe and cannot be disobeyed or overturned no matter what we do) and says that laws of social science can be found. These laws are not accurate in the short term but work very well in the long term across periods of history and in fact are necessary to be able to make out the transition between different periods of stages of history as the deeper content of each of these stages cannot be known with accuracy. Also these laws can be solely understood by studying the history that is records of past events. These laws are called Holism by Popper and he shows that even in the anti naturalist doctrine holism is popular because it is used as a constant between the various stages of history (which in the short term cannot be analysed and predicted).
6. The holism is central to historicism and leads to a position where in the short term we cannot do anything about social sciences in the manner of being able to rationally change and predict the consequences but in the long term we have to ensure that we are in tune with the tide of history as revealed by laws such which have roots in Plato's republic and the Marx's march of the proletariat etc. The only proactive thing we can do is to hasten the transition of various stages or change our values and beliefs to be in tune(Marx ...reduce the birthing pangs in contrast to his call to action of changing history rather than interpret it).
7. So what will work according to Popper :
a. In terms of experiments he suggests piecemeal engineering that is based on the scientific method. He says that scientific experiments may look on the surface easier to setup and control as compared to social experiments but this is because we are usually comparing a limited scope experiment to one on a large scale. If the scientific experiment was on the large scale as is expected in a social context it would be just as difficult.
b. Also large scale social experiments such as centralised planning are actually not helpful in understating cause and effect because it is very hard to learn from very large failures .Specifically with respect to planning they cannot centralise knowledge and control all kinds of relationships. To get around this they use propaganda and fear which defeats the purpose of seeing whether planning works to better the society as it stood before the start of the "experiment".
c. In a large scale social change recognise that often one can only offer interpretations based on various point of views(e.g. capitalist) and the starting conditions ( equivalent to initial conditions)as opposed try to come up with a set of unchanging laws that this large scale event seems to justify (e.g. Russian Revolution.
d. He rejects the holism argument and march of history as he says that there are no laws of social science that can be gleaned by studying many separate events. There is just a trend and a trend has to be explained by multiple laws. The mistake of historicism is to see trends as laws.
e. So even if these multiple laws were there they would not be that relevant because other than in fields such as theoretical physics ( law of gravity) the laws themselves act as background to solving a practical problem rather than being the cause of the practical problem (e.g. prediction of earthquakes in a place is not going to be found out by applying the law of gravity although any hypothesis must be consistent with gravity).
f. So to solve these practical problems we can take the piecemealengineering approach by formulating the hypothesis as negative statements ( e.g. progress in science cannot occur in a totalitarian regime). These can then be tested using the experimental approach.
g. We should take a technological view of social science (build a building to guard against a storm)as opposed to a theoretical view ( explain the occurrence of storms in a location over 30 years).
h. The poverty of historicist is a poverty of imagination as it says that there cannot be a scientific approach to social science but at the same time there are absolute and unchanging laws - called essentialism on the lines of Plato's Republic (that only a few people understand ) which TODAY (this generation, this period in history where the historicist is)are operatingfar quicker than ever before because of the "pace of progress".

5-0 out of 5 stars He sees a fundamental truth of the human situation
Popper's argument hereand his general view are somewhat surprisingly in synch with that of American Pragmatic philosophy. Elements of surprise, of creative newness are what for Pragmatists make the human future, history itself as a whole fundamentally unpredictable. Popper argues in this work that total theories such as Marxism which claim to contain within themselves the true course and outcome of history, are by their very nature, mistaken. A total predictability of history is impossible in part because the prediction itself effects the actors, but also because of unseen, and unforeseeable elements which come with our always imperfect knowledge. The position taken here by Popper is in consonance with his own defense of the Open Society, and human freedom- other major elements of his thought.
Popper sees here a fundamental truth of the human situation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazon reader
Do you have a deep down, hard to enunciate, disquiet with the level of debate in the broad area of social theory and "social engineering"? Do you feel that many of the claims and pronouncements made by social theorists (of any political disposition) are unjustified, but do not really know why you feel that way? If so, this book is a useful starting point for an examination of the problem.

In it, Popper develops the argument that "Historicism" (the term has more than one meaning in different contexts) as he defines it is a flawed approach, and that it is not a justifiable base for the sweeping claims of the historicist. To Popper, historicism is the concept that, by examination of history, we are able to define the rules that govern social change and hence are able to predict those changes. His initial impetus to look into this area was a critical evaluation of Marx - see his essay "How I became a philosopher without really trying" published in "All life is problem solving".

In its simplest form, Popper's argument is the observation that observation of the past does not allow one to accurately predict the future. This may seem to be a fairly obvious statement, but it is worth keeping in mind as he develops the various arguments that make up the case for and against historicism.

Popper's philosophy is often overlooked, perhaps because he attempts to limit himself to goals that he can reasonably achieve. He is a very prominent figure in the philosophy of science, and much of his epistemology relates to the methodology of the empirical sciences, and hence to direct observation, and the relationship of observation to development and testing of theories. Perhaps because he is not too ambitious, his philosophy is less "sexy". It is, however, eminently reasonable, and avoids many of the great stumbling blocks of traditional Western philosophy - for example, the problem of induction and infinite regress.

This book is non-technical, and is accessible to those with little formal philosophical training. It addresses the dominant paradigm in social engineering, and suggests why we may be unhappy with that paradigm. ... Read more

23. Karl Popper: Critical Appraisals
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2004-12-03)
list price: US$115.00 -- used & new: US$113.52
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Asin: 0415319706
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the most original thinkers of the century, Karl Popper has inspired generations of philosophers, historians, and politicians. This collection of papers, specially written for this volume, offers fresh philosophical examination of key themes in Popper's philosophy, including philosophy of knowledge, science and political philosophy.

Drawing from some of Popper's most important works, contributors address his solution to the problem of induction, his views on conventionalism and criticism in an open society, and his unique position in 20th century philosophy. They also examine the current relevance of Popper to understanding liberal democracy, his critique of tribalism and his relationship with analytic philosophy in general - and with Wittgenstein in particular - as well as drawing on the studies of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein to assess Popper's conception of science. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars Celebration of Popper down under
Most of the eleven papers in this collection were delivered at the Popper Centenary conference in New Zealand in July 2002, in the city were Popper wrote The Open Society and its Enemies sixty years ago. Some of the contributors were fresh (actually a little jet-lagged) from the Vienna Conference a few days before.

Alan Musgrave describes how Popper (might have) solved the problem of induction, though what he actually achieved was not a solution but an explanation that the problem is rather like the problem of building a perpetual motion machine, insoluble and not a barrier to progress.

Semiha Akini explained how Popper's conventionalism is different from that ofDuhem and Pioncare because it points to the indispensable role of conventions in the methods of science and it does not underwrite decisions about the content or truth of theories. A reference to Jarvie's latest book on the role of conventions or rules ofthe game of science would have supported this case.

Phillip Catton undertook some really interesting and fine grained criticism of Popper's "conjecture and refutation" methodology with reference to Harvey's work on the role of the heart, Wegener on Continental Drift, Newton and the Einstein's early work. The gist of his argument is that these developments were "rational in ways that Popper ill equips us to fathom". I suspect that this criticism may not be as telling as he believes, for example finding out that Newton was a fallibilist hardly unsettles Popper's theory of conjectural knowledge, though it may correct some ideas that Popper and others had about Newton.

Wenceslao J Gonzalez discussed the many faces of Popper's methodological approach to prediction, with some reference to economics. Unfortunately there is no mention of the large body of work in this field by Larry Boland is not mentioned here although he is the outstanding Popperian contributor to the philosophy and methodology of economics.

Jeremy Shearmur provided a challenge to the bulk of the philosophical profession to see ifthey might have something to learn from Popper, at least from his habit of addressing problems that have both intellectual and practical import, and writing in language that is accessible to interested members of the public. It seems that Popper has practically ceased to register among both Continental and analytical philosophers, on which topic see some evidence presented below by Jeremy Waldron. Peter Munz was also entertaining and especially challenging with his thesis that Popper and Wittgenstein should have gone into partnership to provide elements that are missing from each other's schemes.

Alan Ryan is a veteran commentator on these issues and he addressed the relationship between science and politics with three questions in mind. One, is democracy good for science? Two, can or should scientists seek consensus in their own fields in the same way that citizens seek consensus on public policy? Three, is science good for democracy? It seems that democracy is good for science. On the matter ofscientific rationality as a model for rationality in the political domain, the answer is a muted yes, with some help from Dewey and a cryptic reference to Habermas. On the benefits of science for democracy, Ryan is not encouraging, noting the way that Big Science has generated demands for big money and that is the root of a great deal of political evil.

Anthony O'Hear contributed an interesting and challenging criticism of the notion of the open society as a utopia.His main criticism is that social institutions are not just problem-solving instruments that can be designed by social engineers and put in placeon order (football clubs to solve the problem of people who want to play football), they function in many ways that give meaning and purpose to people's lives. This is a fascinating paper although I think if the open society is regarded as an ideal type (in contrast with an equally idealised closed society) rather than a utopian aim, then we can get the benefit ofPopper's ideas without collapsing into that form ofconstructivist rationalism that Hayek has identified as the great and destructive superstition of modern times.

Jeremy Waldron writes on tribalism and the myth of the framework with special attention to the politics of cultural recognition. This is an intricate defence of the idea of expanding the scope of critical rationalism to address problems of culture clash inmulticultural and multiracial societies. One of his targets, following Popper, is the idea that people need to share a whole framework of beliefs before they can get on together or discuss anything usefully. The example of trade would appear to be a major counter-example, where goods can be traded across all manner of social divisions just provided that both parties want to do business. I think there is a rather significant lesson to be learned there.

In a footnote Waldron reported a quick assessment of the amount of attention being paid to "The Open Society" in modern political philosophy. He used a data base on the most prominent journals for essays in political theory or political philosophy ("Ethics", "Philosophy and Public Affairs" and "Political Theory"), searching for 'Popper' within ten words of 'Open' in the full text of articles published in these journals between 1960 and 1999. Over the four decades OSE was cited in just 23 articles, mostly in a perfunctory way: either as a source for a particular phrase (like 'radical social engineering') or to mention, without elaboration, the attacks on Plato, Hegel and Marx. Six of them devote a sentence or two to his views on topics like utopianism, psychologism, the fact/value gap and negative utilitarianism. Only three offer anything more than a paragraph, and only one (in 1974) is wholy devoted to a discussion of Popper's thought.
... Read more

24. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem: In Defence of Interaction
by Karl Popper
Paperback: 168 Pages (1996-02-02)
list price: US$33.95 -- used & new: US$29.88
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Asin: 0415135567
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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'Here, Popper's ideas are expressed with a beguiling simplicity and with considerable humour and charm. The enthusiasm (and, occasionally, puzzlement) of the original audience is preserved in the records of discussions following each lecture. The volume serves as an excellentintroduction to Popper's later thought for those who think philosophy beyond them.' o| Roger Caldwell, Literary Review Based on lectures given in 1969 by Sir Karl Popper at Emory University, Popperargues forcefully that the problem of the interaction between mental and physical states is still open regardless ofassertions by materialist philosophers' that it has 'evaporated'. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars Even the most rational men are in many respects highly irrational
This very revealing book exposes Popper's vision on man, science, philosophy and his (wrong) solution of the body-mind problem.
For Popper, there are three different worlds: a physical one, a spiritual one and an objective one (autonomous products of the human mind, like books or mathematics.)

Body-mind problem
Popper is a dualist, a body/mind man. But, like Descartes, he was confronted with the problem of the interaction between physical and mental states. For Descartes, this interaction took place in the pineal gland; for Popper, in the speech centre of the brain.
Hereupon, W. Van Orman Quine asked pertinently: `Why introduce man's mind, since it is simpler and more convenient to say that only physical things and states exist? The bodily states are there anyway, why add the others?'
Popper rejected fiercely physicalism.

Popper doesn't assert that man is rational. On the contrary, it is obvious for him that even the most rational of men are in many respects highly irrational. Rationality is simply a critical attitude towards problems, the readiness to learn from our mistakes.

Comments on other philosophers
For Berkeley, the world doesn't exist except in our minds. The material world is a kind of a dream (?).
For Wittgenstein, truth is a picture. A statement is true if it is a true picture of the facts. But (for Popper) a statement is only in a metaphorical sense a picture.
For M. Schlick, correspondence with the facts (=truth) is a kind of mathematical one-to-one correspondence. But (for Popper) to one fact may correspond many true descriptions.
Phenomenology tries to interpret physical things as bundles of sense data (phenomena). In other words, it tries to reduce physical things to mind.

This book is a must read for all those who are interested in what really exists in the real world we live in.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interactionism of what?
The book is not bad, but... afterall, what interacts? The brain and the body? The Body/Brain and the Enviroment (the outside world)? Mind (the working of the brain) and Culture (our environment, build by us) interact? What's new about that?

Popper tries to build a language to clarify and facilitate discussion and change of ideas, but he writes in such a way that many people are missleaded. I know people who see in Popper a foundations for their mistical views of the Universe ( afriend of mine even argues with me that evolution is not the answer to the many features we humans have: seek the mind, he says.So, is three-worlds philosophy has led some people to seek the mind OUTSIDE the brain (they don't perceive that one of the strugles of science is the reduction of EMERGENT properties to POTENCIALS - be they phisical or chemical potentials). What really interacts are phisical sistems (the various subsistems of the brain, these subsistems and the outside world). His evolutionary epistemology has lots is common with modern sociobiology, but sociobiology is better.

Another problem with Popper's epistemology is that he reduces epistemological concepts to ontological things. His epistemology should be viewd as heuristic, not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

By the way, if you read Popper's book and enjoy'd it, read Hofstadter's GEB (Godel, Escher, Bach). You wont regret.

5-0 out of 5 stars indispensible texton epistemology and interactionism
Popper creates an original (and useful) theoretical framework to interpret the interaction of mind and body- the world3 model.Although parts seem uninformed by advances in neurology and cognitive science, the frameworkitself is useful in explaining the relationship between the physical world(world1), the cognitive world (world2), and the products of the mind thatexist as a result of human invention (world3). As always, Popper provides aseries of compelling arguments that at the very least establish a thresholdof reason that must be crossed for the serious student of epistemology. ... Read more

25. Rethinking Popper (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science)
Paperback: 430 Pages (2009-05-11)
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Asin: 1402093373
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In September 2007, more than 100 philosophers came to Prague with the determination to approach Karl Popper’s philosophy as a source of inspiration in many areas of our intellectual endeavor. This volume is a result of that effort. Topics cover Popper’s views on rationality, scientific methodology, the evolution of knowledge and democracy; and since Popper’s philosophy has always had a strong interdisciplinary influence, part of the volume discusses the impact of his ideas in such areas as education, economics, psychology, biology, or ethics.

The concept of falsification, the problem of demarcation, the ban on induction, or the role of the empirical basis, along with the provocative parallels between historicism, holism and totalitarianism, have always caused controversies. The aim of this volume is not to smooth them but show them as a challenge. In this time when the traditional role of reason in the Western thought is being undermined, Popper’s non-foundationist model of reason brings the Enlightenment message into a new perspective. Popper believed that the open society was vulnerable, due precisely to its tolerance of otherness. This is a matter of great urgency in the modern world, as cultures based on different values gain prominence.  The processes related to the extending of the EU, or the increasing economic globalization also raise questions about openness and democracy. The volume’s aim is to show the vitality of critical rationalism in addressing and responding to the problems of this time and this world.

... Read more

26. The Open Society and its Enemies
by Karl Popper
Hardcover: 920 Pages (2002-05-24)
list price: US$85.00 -- used & new: US$101.80
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Asin: 0415282365
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Written in political exile in New Zealand during the Second World War and published in two volumes in 1945, The Open Society and its Enemies was hailed by Bertrand Russell as a 'vigorous and profound defence of democracy'. This legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx prophesied the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and exposed the fatal flaws of socially engineered political systems. It remains highly readable, erudite and lucid and as essential reading today as on publication in 1945. It is available here in a special centenary single-volume edition. ... Read more

27. Karl Popper And the Social Sciences (Suny Series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences)
by William A. Gorton
Paperback: 160 Pages (2006-01-19)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$23.29
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Asin: 0791466620
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The first systematic treatment of Karl Popper’s contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences. ... Read more

28. Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics: From The Postscript to the Logic of Scientific Discovery
by Karl Popper
Paperback: 256 Pages (1992-04-10)
list price: US$46.95 -- used & new: US$37.07
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Asin: 0415091128
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The basic theme of Popper's philosophy--that something can come from nothing--is related to the present situation in physical theory.Popper carries his investigation right to the center of current debate in quantum physics. He proposes an interpretation of physics--and indeed an entire cosmology--which is realist, conjectural, deductivist and objectivist, anti-positivist, and anti-instrumentalist. He stresses understanding, reminding us that our ignorance grows faster than our conjectural knowledge. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hard to understand
This book made me realize that material could be presented as fact and I wouldn't know the difference. it was way over my head because I think you would need a strong backround in science.

5-0 out of 5 stars A world of propensities and metaphysical dreams
During the early 1950s Popper prepared almost a thousand pages of manuscript for publication as a companion volume to the English translation of his "Logik Der Forschung" (1934). This material started as a series of appendices to "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" but some of them grew into a book to be called "Postscrip to the LSD: After Twenty Years" (from 1934 to 1954). "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" appeared in 1959 but the "Postscript" lagged behind until eventually Bill Bartley took over the editing and it appeared in three volumes in the 1980s (after 50 years).

In the meantime photocopies of the galleys circulated among Popper's colleagues and this had some impact, especially by way of Imre Lakatos and his "methodology of scientific research programmes" (MSRP. Unfortunately, this development caused a great deal of confusion and misplaced effort which might have been avoided if Popper's theory of programs had appeared earlier.

The three books of the "Postscript" are "Realism and the Aim of Science" (Volume 1), "The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism" (Volume 2) and "Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics" (Volume 3). They contribute to Popper's long campaign in support of realism, indeterminism and objectivism which in turn support human freedom, creativity and rationality.

"Realism" has two parts, the first pursues various forms of inductivism and the second attacks the subjective interpretation of the probability calculus. "The Open Universe" critiques both scientific and metaphysical determinism and traces the linkage between metaphysical determinism and subjective probability theory. This volume carries the defence of realism and objectivism into the heart of quantum theory to challenge the dominant assumptions of the Copenhagen interpretation. Bartley points out in the editor's introduction that this is a profoundly cosmological work, where "the basic theme of Karl Popper's philosophy - that something can come from nothing - obtains its basis in physics".

The book contains a 'Metaphysical Epilogue' that is remarkable (in addition to being the basis of Lakatos's theory of scientific research programmes) because it provides a key to understanding a set of themes that unify Popper's whole system of thought (the keystone to his arch of thought it you like). This gives some clues as to the depth of his thinking and the reason why it has been so badly received in the profession at large.

Popper's theory of MRPs flows from his theory that we should look at the history of a subject, and its current status, in terms of its problem situations.

"In science, problem situations are the result, as a rule, of three factors. One is the discovery of an inconsistency within the ruling theory. A second is the discovery of an inconsistency between theory and experiment - the experimental falsification of the theory. The third, and perhaps the most important one, is the relation between the theory and what may be called the "metaphysical research programme".

"By raising the problems of explanation which the theory is designed to solve, the metaphysical research programme makes it possible to judge the success of the theory as an explanation. On the other hand, the critical discussion of the theory and its results may lead to a change in the research programme (usually an unconscious change, as the programme is often held unconsciously, and taken for granted), or to its replacement by another programme. These programmes are only occasionally discussed as such: more often, they are implicit in the theories and in the attitudes and judgements of the scientists."

"I call these research programmes "metaphysical" also because they result from general views of the structure of the world and, at the same time, from general views of the problem situation in physical cosmology. I call them "research programmes" because they incorporate, together with a view of what the most pressing problems are, a general idea of what a satisfactory solution of these problems would look like."

The theme of the book is the way that the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics has been influenced by unstated and uncriticised metaphysical assumptions, especially determinism, subjectivism and instrumentalism. Of course the Copenhagen people are scientific indeterminists but Popper argues that there is a metaphysical form of determinism that they have not eliminated from their thinking.

The book contains four chapters after a 1982 Preface and an Introduction. The Preface makes a case for a realistic and commonsense interpretation of quantum theory to overcome the crisis in physics which Popper attributes to two things, the intrusion of subjectivism and the "end of the road" idea that quantum theory has reached the complete and final truth. In the Introduction he argues for an interpretation of quantum physics without the observer and he sharply formulated thirteen thesis to challenge the Copenhagen interpretation of the observer as an integral part of the system.

In Chapter I, 'Understanding quantum theory and its interpretations' Popper updated his ideas from the formulations in "The Logic of Scientific Discovery". He still maintained that the problem of interpreting quantum theory is bound up with the interpretation of probability theory, and he argued that the theory of propensities that he described in the first and second volumes of The Postscript should be applied to the interpretation of quantum theory, thus resolving the difficulties that arise in the Copenhagen interpretation.

Chapter II 'The objectivity of qauntum theory' returned to the issue of the observer in the system and confronted the doctrine that experiments have to be interpreted with the observer, and especially the consciousness of the observer, as one of the variables. The discussion includes the nature of quantum jumps and the existence or non-existence of particles.

Chapter III attempts a resolution of the paradoxes of quantum theory, using the propensity interpretation of probability, applied to (1) the indeterminacy relations, (2) the expirement of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, and (3) the two-slit experiment.

The long fourth chapter is the Metaphysical Epilogue. This covers a lot of ground, starting with a brief statement of the theory of metaphysical research programs (above). He then ran through a series of ten research programs. First the block universe of Parmenides, then Atomism and Geometrization, followed by Essentialism and Potentialism (from Aristotle), then Renaissance Physics (Copernicus, Bruno, Kepler, Galileo), The Clockwork Theory (Hobbes, Descartes), Dynamism (Newton), Fields of Force (Faraday, Maxwell), Unified Field Theory (Riemann, Einstein, Schrodinger) and finally The Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Theory. After a discussion of schism, programs and metaphysical dreams he went on to indeterminism and the reduction of the wave packet and a model of a universe of propensities to account for the leading featues of all the ten programs that he sketched previously. After touching on some open problems he concluded with some comments on the role of metaphysical systems and the possibility of a demarcation within metaphysics, between good and bad systems.

"The proper aspiration of a metaphysician...is to gather all the true aspects of the world (and not merely its scientific aspects) into a unifying picture which may enlighten him and others, and which may one day become part of a still more comprehensive picture, a better picture, a truer picture."

... Read more

29. An Introduction to the Thought of Karl Popper
by Roberta Corvi
Kindle Edition: 224 Pages (2007-03-14)
list price: US$38.95
Asin: B000OI0U44
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a comprehensive introduction to the philosophical and political thought of Karl Popper, now available in English. It is divided into three parts, dealing with his biographical data, his works and recurrent themes, and finally his critics. It was approved of by Popper himself as a sympathetic and comprehensive study, and will be ideal to meet the increasing demand for a summary introduction to his work.

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Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Karl Popper's books are better than this introduction
I've always found Karl Popper's writing clear and understandable.This 'introduction', though apparently written in english, is neither.

4-0 out of 5 stars Popper, Condensed and Referenced
This is a fine book which details Popper's final thoughts on all of his theories, and the long road that led him there.Everything is well coordinated with cross-referenced citations for all of his major works andtrends.

I would give it 5 stars, but as Popper would be the first toacknowledge, there is always room for improvement! ... Read more

30. Science and the Open Society : The Future of Karl Popper's Philosophy
by Mark Notturno
Hardcover: 287 Pages (2000-04-20)
list price: US$49.95
Isbn: 9639116696
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Science and the Open Society is a clearly argued and easyto read defense of Karl Popper's philosophy by Dr. Mark Notturno, theman whom Popper chose to research and edit his archives. The authorargues that Popper's ideas about science and open society are stilllargely misunderstood in the west, but are now more important thanever in providing inspiration for the people in Central and EasternEurope and Middle Asia who are struggling to open up their closedsocieties.

This groundbreaking volume draws together themes from Popper'sepistemology and social philosophy - showing, for example, theconnections between his distrust of communism and inductivism, hisresistance to institutionalized science and logical positivism, andhis opposition to intellectual authority and bureaucracy. Notturnodiscusses Popper's disagreements with Wittgenstein, Freud, Carnap,Gruenbaum and Kuhn, while developing the implications of his view fora wide range of contemporary issues, including politics, education,logic, critical thinking and the history of 20th century philosophy.

Science and the Open Society is written for the general reader in astyle that will appeal to philosophers and non-philosophers alike. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing about Great Thinking!
I'm not sure if this book is out of print -save for the hardcover - or just unavailable but it is well worth getting (even supposing you have to go elsewhere).

Why? First off, anyone who's read Karl Popper knows that he was a phenomenal writer who could pack much content into any one sentence. Mark Notturno is not only that good, dare I say it, he may be better at it than Popper?! Whereas Popper's terseness occasionally led him to vagueries, Notturno is always crisp.

Second, books on Popper tend to rehash his views (which the authors either understand or not - 50/50). Notturno extends Popper's thought. Never quite disagreeing with any of it, Notturno does find fault with a few of Poppers vagueries and corrects them. The essay herein - "induction and demarcation" is notable as it focuses on Poppers tendency to mislead on certain views he held. The distinction between falsification and falsifiability, the problem not being of induction altogether but the fact that bad inductive conclusions, unlike deduction, will not point to a false premise, and from it the fact that Popper did not quite believe all induction to be invalid.

Some other good essays to note (in addition to the ones listed two reviews below) are "education and the open society" which is a good essay on why current education methods might fail (his similarity to John Dewey in this, and other, regards always amazes me). Also 'inference and deference' is a great article exposing the failure of logic to justify, contra popular philosophic practice, deference to authority. Not barring it outright, Notturno highlights two errors of thought that lead us to defer abdicatingly to authority: defensive thinking and poitical thinking. If there was an essay focusing solely on these two concepts (this one only devotes a few paragraphs) then I would've had to give the book seven stars. Also worthy of mention is the afterword "what is to be done" about post-communism and how a proper trainsitiion to a truly open-society can take place. In short, very good book. If you are a Popper fan and are tired of reading secondary books that only rehash, never expand, this is the best book I can think of.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blows Your Mind
Wow!Easily one of the best reads I've had in years.Not only is it an insightful source of understanding for those interested in Karl Popper's philosophy, but Notturno, himself, emerges as a powerful player in the field of critical reasoning and the politics of knowledge.A devastatingly effective thinker and writer in his own right.It will change your view of the world and the role of reasoning and politics in the conduct of human affairs.Awesome!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Enduring Legacy of Karl Popper: A Review
Karl Popper had one of the broadest ranges of any 20th Century philosopher. He wrote in Epistemology, Philosophy and History of Science, Logic, and Democratic Theory. In each area he wrote trenchantly and with great excellence and imagination. He was the greatest of 20th century philosophers. Why I feel this way can begin to be understood by reading Mark A. Notturno's "Science and the Open Society." Notturno's work is the most valuable gateway to Popper's yet. It is one of those very few books that serve as the core of one's library, that one returns to again and again.

All of the Chapters in "Science and the Open Society" are striking and contain worthwhile insights. As a whole they allow one to think about the corpus of Popper's work and the major themes he developed over the course of 60 years. In fact, Popper himself wrote no single work that would allow us to do that. Notturno, in providing that perspective here, gives us a bird's eye view that we must work much harder to get from Popper's work. If you seek an understanding of Popper, start with Notturno and then read Popper for yourself, with the context you need to actively grasp what Popper presents.

All of the book is valuable, but there are a few Chapters that stand out from my own perspective as a Knowledge Management practitioner. These are Chapter 10 on the choice between Popper and Kuhn, Chapter 7 on the meaning of world 3, Chapter 5, a brilliant account of the breakdown of foundationalism and justificationism and of how Popper's critical rationalism escapes from the problems inherent in these views and provides a basis for solving the problems of induction and demarcation, and Chapter 3 on the significance of critical rationalism for education in open societies. Here is a more detailed review of Chapters 10 and 7.

Chapter 10, "The Choice Between Popper and Kuhn: Truth, Criticism, and the Legacy of Logical Positivism," takes up again the task of proper reconstruction of the nature of science following the breakdown of logical positivism. Notturno shows that Popper and Kuhn took two contrasting roads in journeying from this crossroads of 20th century philosophy. He traces how Kuhn and the many who followed him took the road to relativism, institutionalism, and "political" science, while denying the possibility of external rational critques of governing paradigms. Popper, on the other hand, took the road to thoroughgoing fallibilistic truth-seeking, a path which rejected foundationalism and justificationism, and offered a view of scientific objectivity attained through shared criticism of alternative knowledge claims conjectured as solutions to problems. As Notturno puts it (P. 230): "The issue at base is whether science should be an open or a closed society." Notturno shows that its is Kuhn's choice that leads to the closed society, and Popper's that supports the idea that (P. 248) ". . . our scientific institutions should exist for the sake of the individual - for the sake of our freedom of thought and our right to express it - and not the other way around."

Chapter 7 is a careful account of Popper's controversial notion that there are at least three "worlds" or realms of ontological significance: (1) the material world of tables, atoms, buildings, lamps, etc., (2) the mental world of thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. and (3) the "world" of words and language, art, mathematics, music, and other human, non-material, but sharable and autonomous creations. Popper criticized monism, the doctrine that only the physical world exists, and dualism, the idea that there is only mind, matter, and the interaction between them, in favor of a broader interactionism among three realms. This idea has been among the most difficult of notions for people to accept.

To many (including Feyerabend and Lakatos who ridiculed it), it smacks of Platonism, even though Popper clearly distinguished his own world 3 ideas from platonic forms. But Popper's world 3 notions are critical to his ideas about the pursuit of truth, criticism and trial and error as the method of science and problem-solving, the growth of knowledge, and evolutionary epistemology. Popper's world 3 is also critical to knowledge management, because without it we can't sensibly talk about managing the interaction between subjective mental knowledge (world 2) and objective linguistic knowledge (world 3), and, one can argue, it is managing this interaction to enhance the growth of relevant knowledge that is knowledge management's greatest challenge and major preoccupation.

Of all the commentary I have seen on world 3 Chapter 7 is the best at simply stating what Popper meant by it, why the notion is important to critical rationalism and the growth of knowledge, why people have denied its importance, why world 3 is consistent with a thoroughgoing fallibilism, why world 3 is a denial of empiricist epistemology, why the notion of world 3 is not invalidated by the greatly over-rated "Ockham's Razor," why world 3 doesn't violate the principle of causality, and finally why world 3 is important in spite of the view of the Wittgensteinians that solutions to philosophical problems which world 3 is an instance of, are meaningless because such problems are themselves meaningless. And in the process of doing this commentary, Notturno presents and analyzes for us a wonderful story of an encounter between Popper and Wittgenstein (mediated by Bertrand Russell) at Cambridge on October 26, 1946, which in microcosm, illustrates the conflict between reason and authority, and the open society and the closed society. It was an encounter in which the master of the cold stare, the mystique of genius, and the pithy aphorism, found himself so frustrated by the master of critque and dialogue that he left the field of open debate in anger and disgust.

5-0 out of 5 stars Free up your thinking with this book
There are many excellent critiques of contemporary discourse, but few disclose the problem in its broader range. Of those that do, fewer still identify principles by which we could extricate ourselves. Popper would seem an unlikely starting point. In the opinion of many, Popper had his day along with the authoritarianism he opposed. Indeed, the main impetus forrevival of Popper's open society concept has been George Soros's effort tohelp polities in the former Soviet block rid themselves of the vestiges ofcommunism. What worries Soros is that former Soviet citizens will retain autopian thought structure and simply plug in different parts, notablymarkets anddemocracy. Visiting Americans don't always help. Russians whoreceive lectures from Americans complain of condescension, but it is often worse than that -- the lecturers don't understand the underpinnings of theinstitutions they recommend. The lecturer may assume thatmarkets anddemocracy will, by themselves and of necessity, create a non-authoritariansocial field. They don't. It is one of Notturno'saims to explain thisdisturbing possibility that many Western elites fail to grasp.

Theauthor has applied remarkable energy to running open society seminarsthrough the post-Soviet world. Some of the chapters of thebook are basedon these seminars, and the talks are honed through frequent delivery beforegroups that are receptive yet skeptical. It would be a terrible mistake toassume that the presence of this audience means that the book is notrelevant to the American experience. Notturno understands that Popper'sintention was to promote openness in all modern societies, not justCommunist ones,and he has admirably brought Popper's program up to date.He efficiently critiques the primacy given to consensus in science. He alsoaddresses dangers outside the scientific institution proper by taking ontolerance, relativism, therapy, and bureaucracy.

In several cases hisstarting point is biographical, and he offers some revealing letters andcontemporary accounts that most of us will not be familiar with. Thesematerials give his philosophical arguments freshness and motivation notoften found in academic works.Wittgenstein, Carnap, Freud, Bohr, Kuhn,and several other heroes are indicted for various offenses against openscience. Popper isn'tspared either, though he certainly comes out aheadon crucial matters.

The best feature of the book is that the reader hasa sense of where to begin and what to do. I found myself wanting to standup, ask aquestion, and engage somebody in authentic discussion. You arepropelled forward toward problems, in your own voice, not backwardtowardanything that Popper might have said. I can image that this would be a veryuseful book in almost any public affairs course that reflects on groundrules for debate and investigation. Better yet, the book can help adultlearners free themselves from the stifling rhetoric of ideologists.

Iwas curious and asked Notturno where his program is headed. I was pleasedto find that he has plans for workshops, internationalacademic contacts,dissertation support, and other collaborations that offer practicalresults, or at least a fuller sense of whatrational discussion entails. Irecommend that you get in touch with him, especially if you have ideas onhow to institutionalize theseactivities. ......................

Disputing disputation. I accept what Notturno extracts from Popper asgood logic, but I wonder whether something more needs to be saidabout thesocial side of argument. Popper was relentless in finding thecontradictions in others. Students who tried to fend him offusingself-protective rhetoric often felt ridiculed when his persistent questionseventually forced them to admit their errors.But it is probably the casethat students who adhered to good logic were also humiliated. Theassumption behind such intellectualconflict is that contradictions arenot voluntarily displayed. More generally, one defends tidy statements thatbrook no problem. Is that the kind of statement we must have at the readybefore speaking to each other, and is that process ideal?

I wonder aboutsuch things, and suffer for it. Last week, I drafted a report and offeredexamples of how software could be used. Imentioned an operation thatwould be useful to execute in the software, but cautioned that theoperation might be too difficult toimplement. I figured that it would beuseful to retain the idea as a possibility rather than to discard it. Theproject manager, adheringto conventional practice, did not want this orany problem mentioned in our report, and the idea was discarded. Themotivation, I suppose,is to give the client nothing that can bequestioned, nothing incomplete. Is that good?

The same sort of thinghappens when writing definitions. The definition and examples stay wellwithin what is safe to say, and noguidance is offered that would helpdecide hard cases, which is exactly when definitions are needed.

Wechallenge each other to find weaknesses that we are reluctant to discloseand may actually be hiding. It is a cat and mouse game, nota mutualexploration with a common object. To explore together would require a kindof trust between partners that doesn't often exist.One approach tobuilding that trust is to create a space for imaginative thought in which adifferent set of rules is enforced.

DeBono has argued well for aseparate imaginative effort prior the critical effort, symbolized as greenhat versus black hat thinking. But consider how things actually play out inan organization that sequesters thinking in this way. 3M requires thatpeople work on secret projects for a significant percentage of their time,and theyare expected to bring a project forward when it is ready to becriticized. Whenever anything is brought before an "outsider",the presumption is that it is offered as something to be attacked. There isno possibility of wider collaboration beyond a secret cell of partners.

To put it bluntly, I'm wondering whether loose thinking should be anelement of openness. The idea is not to avoid critical thinking, buttoneither elevate nor extend it to the point that it suppresses options,rewards timidity, and encourages unproductive conflict. [1] In both scienceand business, new approaches that eventually prove to be better usuallyperform poorly at the beginning. An idea gains afollowing on anintuitive, theoretical, or emotional basis before it reaches final form.[2] Without these non-rational appeals, which arevery similar to the"communal" appeals that Notturno counts as a danger, theinnovation pipeline could dry up. [3] Notturno says thatfalse theoriesare a dime a dozen, which is true, but new theories are in the same stack.

An open attitude, I feel, is something different from the criticalattitude that is admittedly necessary to sustain both open science and anopen society. An open attitude can tolerate indecision, incompleteness, andeven contradiction. (Someone said that the testof a good mind is that itcan hold contradictory thoughts simultaneously.) [4] The open attitudemoves toward clarity, but not prematurely and not toward complete closure.That may be too muchforbearance to ask for some, and offer too easy aride for others. Yet, in our atmosphere of both heavy criticism and acommunal science that avoids criticism, we tend to confine ourselves tosafe science. Those who can't stand this situation may exile themselves, orclaim outlandish revolutions, neither of which gains any traction..................................

5-0 out of 5 stars KARL POPPER: Recent book by Notturno
For about thirty years I have been a fan of Karl Popper's writings. This recent book on Popper's philosophy (of science and of politics) is most excellent. It presents Popper's ideas more clearly than Popper himself, inmy opinion. So readers can get a quick taste of this work I refer them totwo pages: On p88 Notturno argues that "institutiomalism andinductivism are more closely related than one might think." Inductiveconclusions do not follow from their premises. Group solidarity is used toclose the gap. On p142 Notturno clarifies: Popper posited World 1 as theworld of physical objects, World 2 as the world of thoughts (feelings andimagination), and World 3 as the world of imaginative artifacts (songs,theorems, laws, etc.). The creative act corresponds to taking an insightfrom World 2 into World 3, from where it can be shared (I have a theorem inmathematical physics named for me internationally so I know this processfirst hand.). IT'S A FINE READ! ... Read more

31. The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge
by Karl Popper
Hardcover: 552 Pages (2008-11-24)
list price: US$90.00 -- used & new: US$55.00
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Asin: 0415394317
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In a letter of 1932, Karl Popper described Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge – as ‘…a child of crises, above all of …the crisis of physics.’

Finally available in English, it is a major contribution to the philosophy of science, epistemology and twentieth century philosophy generally.

The two fundamental problems of knowledge that lie at the centre of the book are the problem of induction, that although we are able to observe only a limited number of particular events, science nevertheless advances unrestricted universal statements; and the problem of demarcation, which asks for a separating line between empirical science and non-science.

Popper seeks to solve these two basic problems with his celebrated theory of falsifiability, arguing that the inferences made in science are not inductive but deductive; science does not start with observations and proceed to generalise them but with problems, which it attacks with bold conjectures.

The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge is essential reading for anyone interested in Karl Popper, in the history and philosophy of science, and in the methods and theories of science itself.

... Read more

32. La logica de la investigacion cientifica/ The Logic of the Scientific Discovery (Spanish Edition)
by Karl R. Popper
Paperback: 570 Pages (2008-06-30)
list price: US$51.95 -- used & new: US$47.99
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Asin: 8430946071
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33. The Philosophy of Karl Popper
by Herbert Keuth
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2004-12-27)
list price: US$95.00 -- used & new: US$91.00
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Asin: 0521839467
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Karl Popper is one of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. Originally published in German in 2000, Herbert Keuth's book is a systematic exposition of Popper's philosophy covering the philosophy of science (Part 1); social philosophy (Part 2); and metaphysics (Part 3). More comprehensive than any current introduction to Popper, it is suitable for courses in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of social science. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Karl Popper Explained.....
Keuth does a great job of creating an approachable book reviewing the ideas espoused by Karl Popper.The format of each chapter is easy to follow.He clearly explains any jargon used.

As for the actual content, Popper is brilliant.The argument laid out in The Fundemental Problems in the theory of Knowledge are both mathematically and verbally explicated.Similarly with the chapter on probability.

The transition from the first section of work son scientific theory toward his ideas on Open Society and the implications of theory into the social world are easy to understand. Where as many will often take liberty in verbalizing Popper's views, the book does an excellent job of presenting both Popper's respect for those that came before him and the nuance of what he adds to the discourse.The implications of historic-ism of knowledge, the mutability of truth are very significant for those making social claims.

For those interested in understanding Popper and his importance in the humanities, this is as fantastic entry into these ideas. ... Read more

34. Truth, Hope, and Power: The Thought of Karl Popper
by Douglas E. Williams
 Hardcover: 256 Pages (1989-01)
list price: US$37.50 -- used & new: US$11.00
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Asin: 0802026435
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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2-0 out of 5 stars A strange kind of balance
Douglas Williams of the Department of Political Studies at Queens University in Kingston (Canada) has written a wide-ranging account of Popper's thought with the emphasis on the social and political aspects of his ideas. The intention of the author was to draw out both the strengths and limitations of Popper's work from the perspective of a critical admirer. This stance has enabled him to identify some aspects of Popper's work that are generally neglected, especially the moral dimension of his thought which Williams regards as a pervasive unifying principle. He also notes that virtually nothing has been written about Popper's defence of the cultural ideals of Western society and a major aim of the book is to show "the sustaining unity and power of Popper's vision" as it runs through his work in cosmology, philosophy, science, history and politics.

Despite these promising indications, the results are disappointing. This is not because Williams dissents radically from many salient features of Popper's philosophy. These disagreements, from a professed admirer of Popper's achievement, should be challenging and illuminating. The problem is that Williams does not provide the arguments and the evidence that are required to make his objections convincing, or to drive the discussion to a deeper level. Inconsistencies and inaccuracies abound. What is one to make of an author who on page 164 rebukes Popper for his 'failure to apppreciate the ideal of the good life in a free and egalitarian society', having previously (p 15) quoted from Popper's Unended Quest 'For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple, and free life in an egalitarian society...'?

Williams comments that Popperian exegesis has polarised between disciples and vehement critics. It appears that he has achieved a balance of a kind by occupying each extreme in turn. In one mode he writes:
'During the last four decades, and spanning a seemingly endless number of fields of inquiry, Popper has established himself as one of the most significant thinkers of our century...Few thinkers in our century have possessed the intellectual powers, the courage, and the faith in humanity necessary to sustain such a project. Bertrand Russell is perhaps the last that comes to mind'(viii).

In the critical mode he raises myriad objections, large and small, to Popper's psychology, his epistemology, and his politics, concluding that some of Popper's ideas, especially his concept of rationality, are not consistent with the maintenance of human freedom and autonomy.

Williams digs deep to locate the roots of Popper's ideas. He suggests that Popper followed Kant's defence of human dignity and moral autonomy against the twin threats of mechanistic determinism (Newton) and skepticism (Hume.) This is a fertile formulation that could have led directly to an account of Popper's responses to these threats, namely indeterminism, fallibilism, a non-authoritarian theory of knowledge and a limited 'non-justificationist' theory of rationality. Instead, Williams embarks on an account of the rise of science and the battle to maintain a sense of enchantment in a culture of science and technocratic politics. The remaining chapters examine Popper's methodology for the natural sciences (Chapter 4), his prescriptions for the social sciences (Chapter 5) and his defence of liberalism (Chapter 7 and Chapter 8). Chapter 6 defends Mannheim from some Popperian criticism.

One of Williams's problems is that he has tried to achieve too much in 200 pages. This tendency is especially apparent in Chapter 4, where in less than thirty pages he covers the development of most of Popper's leading ideas in epistemology and the philosophy of science. This is too densely packed for an introduction and it is likely to confuse people who come to the book in search of Popper's social philosophy. At the end of the chapter Williams changes from the descriptive to the critical mode and delivers an essentially negative verdict on Popper's psychology and also his epistemology.

In Williams' conclusion, he wrote that his aim was to faithfully reconstruct the unity of Popper's vision by pursuing an 'immanent critique'. That is, 'criticism of a man or woman's thought is held to flow from his or her own assumptions and values' (185). He wanted to improve on the excessively specialised and polemical nature of most of the commentary on Popper's work. This is a worthy aim but not one that Williams achieved, possibly because he did not make use of Bartley's account of the 'metacontextual shift' generated by Popper's non-authoritarian theory of knowledge and politics. Consequently Williams has been unable to do justice to Popper's epistemology and its cultural implications.

A similar problem has apparently occurred with Williams' critique of Popper's politics, especially Popper's views on the limited, protective role of the state. Williams has promulgated some very misleading statements, on Popper's views about the role of technocrats and social engineering, for example. This is a situation where the imminent critique may need to be supplemented by an account of Williams' own assumptions and values because they have apparently influenced his adverse comments on Popper.

The result is a book containing a confusing mixture of praise and criticism. If the criticisms were valid, Williams' high opinion of Popper would appear to be unwarranted. For the most part they are not valid, and one wonders how some of the more spectacular misreadings survived the screening of all the helpers he acknowledged. One also wonders what kind of impression this book will make on people who have not read Popper. Clearly the best thing that can happen will be for people to read some of the books and make up their own minds on the problems and issues raised by Williams. ... Read more

35. Philosophy of Karl Popper: v. 1 (The Library of living philosophers)
Hardcover: 1323 Pages (1977-04)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$377.46
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36. World of Parmenides
by Karl Popper
Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-04)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$25.99
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Asin: 0415237300
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The World of Parmenides is a unique collection of essays that not only explores the complexity of ancient Greek thought, but also reveals Popper's engagement with Presocratic philosophy and the enlightenment he experienced in reading Parmenides. ... Read more

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4-0 out of 5 stars Popper preincarnated
Popper's love of the presocratics stems from his hatred of hubristic epistemology, especially as regards science, which he traces back to Aristotle. "... all serious thinkers before Aristotle made a sharp distinction between, knowledge, real knowledge, certain truth (... later: episteme), which is divine and only accessible to the gods, and opinion (doxa), which mortals are able to possess, and is interpreted by Xenophanes as guesswork that could be improved." (p. 1). "The decisive break comes with Aristotle. ... He believes he knows: that he himself has episteme, demonstrable scientific knowledge. This is the main reason why I do not like Aristotle: what to Plato is a scientific hypothesis becomes with Aristotle episteme, demonstrable knowledge. And for most epistemologists of the West, it has remained so ever since." (p. 2).

Popper's criticism of such hubristic epistemologies suggests a unity of science and other creative activities. "According to this view, literature and science have a common origin; they both originate in the imaginative explanatory story, the imaginative explanatory myth. What distinguishes them is the predominant part played in science by criticism: by that kind of criticism that is dominated by the regulative idea of truth, by the idea of correspondence to the facts." (p. 106). "It is this critical examination of explanatory stories, or explanatory theories, undertaken in the hope of getting nearer to the truth that I regard as characteristic of what may somewhat loosely be described as rationality." (p. 109). "The critical approach exerts something like an evolutionary selection pressure upon the theories and so encourages their evolution towards greater truthlikeness." (p. 126).

The connection with literature is quite well established. Thales, for example, "was influenced, according to a suggestion of Aristotle's, by ... Homeric tradition: by the Homeric myth of Oceanus" (p. 109), "Paramenides' poem was written in imitation of the style of Homer and Hesiod, to whom his language often alludes" (p. 111), and so on.

Science took off from this basis as follows. One begins by proclaiming explanatory theories, e.g., "we are told that according to Thales water is the origin of all things, and that the Earth floats on water ... like a ship---a theory that appears to have been designed to explain earthquakes, for example." This is followed by criticism, e.g., "as Aristotle says, to propose such a theory 'is to forget that the same question may be raised ... about the Earth itself.'" And the next step is revision: "It seems probable that this is precisely the criticism that was originally raised against Thales' theory by Anaximander ... for we hear that Anaximander taught that 'The Earth is aloft. It is held up by nothing. It continues in its place because of its equal distance from all things.'" Now Popper gets a bit carried away: "This theory of an unsupported and freely suspended Earth ... is breathtaking in its boldness. It is the first step in the direction of Newton's theory; and in my opinion one might say that without Anaximander's bold theory there might never have been the development of scientific thought that lead to Newton, and beyond him. Yet this breathtaking step on the way to modern science was not based upon observation, as so many empiricists have it, but rather upon a critical revision of the mythical poetry of Homer's Iliad and of Hesiod's Theogony" (p. 110).

Popper gets even more carried away in the case of Parmenides, whom Popper thinks made "the most important contribution to theoretical physics ever made" in that "he built the first deductive system describing the universe, whose refutation led to the foundations of physics" (p. 126). Popper's support for these claims is extremely thin, and is scarcely grounded in the original texts.

The "first deductive system" alluded to here is really just one single deductive argument proving that movement is impossible. "The proof was (more or less simplified): (1) Only being is (only what is, is). (2) The nothing, the non-being, cannot be. (3) The non-being would be the absence of being: it would be the void. (4) There can be no void. (5) The world is full: a block. (6) Movement is impossible." (p. 71).

The "refutation" which "led to the foundations of physics" is the atomists' argument that all is atoms and void. "The atomic theory arose, as almost every empirical theory does, from an empirical refutation of its predecessor. Parmenides had derived an empirically testable conclusion: the conclusion that motion is impossible. Yest this conclusion is clearly refuted by experience; and so the refutation of the conclusion can be used, step by step, to refute part of the original position" (p. 158), as follows. "There is movement. Thus: The world is not full. There is empty space. The nothing, the void, does exist. Thus: The world consists of the existing, the hard and full, and of the void: Of 'atoms and the void'." (p. 103).

These ambitious extrapolations aside, the rise of the critical tradition naturally led to epistemological questions. "Conflicting stories could exist in Egypt without the consciousness of a clash. But among the more critically minded Greek cosmologists, the multiplicity of conflicting and usually dogmatic claims of the different cosmological theorists led to the question: How can we decide between these conflicting stories?" (p. 115).

This time it is Xenophanes who has the honour of posthumously serving as Popper's mouthpiece. "'But as for certain truth, no man has known it, \\ ... \\ And even if by chance he were to utter \\ The final truth, he would not himself know it: \\ For all is but a woven web of guesses.'" (p. 115). "[These verses] quoted from Xenophanes are of great importance ... Personally I regard them very highly, for I see in them a kind of anticipation of my own theory of knowledge, according to which all our scientific theories are myths, of in the words of Xenophanes, 'woven webs of guesses'. I hold that scientific theories remain essentially uncertain or hypothetical, although under the influence of criticism they may in time become more and more truthlike ... But even this view was anticipated by Xenophanes, who is remembered for the following verses: 'The gods did not reveal, from the beginning \\ All things to us; but in the course of time, \\ Through seeking we may learn, and know things better.'" (p. 116).

4-0 out of 5 stars All knowledge is conjectural
Popper was obsessed by Greek philosophy, and more particularly by Parmenides and Xenophanes. He saw in them (not quite) the first critical rationalists by analyzing a few written sentences. His statements are very bold long-shots, indeed. He learned ancient Greek because he felt that classical scholars gave bad translations of ancient philosophical texts.

For Parmenides, human opinion of appearances is based on our senses, which are totally misleading. We should 'by reason alone decide on the often-contested argument'.
His world vision was as follows: 'Only what is, is; nothingness cannot exist; the world is full; motion is impossible'.

This totally false vision was criticized by Heraclitus for whom there are no things, only changes, processes.

Another of Popper's favourites was Xenophanes, in which he saw the father of epistemology, because 'for all is but a woven web of guesses.'
More famous is Xenophanes's insight that human ideas of gods are vitiated by anthropomorphism:
The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black ...
horses would draw their gods like horses... and each would then shape bodies of gods in the likeness of its own.

Popper also explains tentatively the importance of geometry for Plato: the discovery of irrational numbers destroyed the Pythagorean arithmetic and Plato sought to replace this arithmetical theory by a geometrical one.

Speaking of modern philosophy, he scorns the use of an ununderstandable and impressive language. 'Most philosophers who made 'ontology' their business got nowhere'.
In his remarks on Maxwell's demon, one should take into account the energy needed for operating the shutter.
The Boltzmann story is better told in 'Unended Quest'.
A basic knowledge of probability theory is needed in order to understand the important issue of 'how induction becomes counter-induction'.

This book contains a lot of repetitions: 3 essays on Parmenides tell the same story and one essay is a very light adaptation of a chapter of 'The Self and its Brain'.

Although some parts of this book are interesting, I recommend it only for Popper fans and also, partly, for Greek scholars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Presocratics make a come back
The Pre-Socratic philosophers have made a comeback of sorts in the philosophy of quantum gravity.This book tells why they are important, still -- such as how they would view three dimensional space and relativity.Boltzmann's defense of atomism is in a chapter, anti-Parmenidean philosophy on modern physics is also present, and it's not all physics, the mind-body problem is also explored.Popper has some counter comments to the Kirk, Raven and Schofield book, The Pre-Socratic Philosophers (which I also highly recommend).All in all the book is easy to read because it is set in very small chapters, each complete unto themselves -- some chapters have 80 notations and 50 references.

Still, the best part is how this era of thought fits into modern science.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Presocratics -- the roots of rationality
Popper's philosophical view is captured in his summary of Aristotle.Popper credits Aristotle with the invention of logic, and for being a great biologist and scholar.But, "Aristotle was the first dogmatist...""...[W]ith Aristotle's theory, that science is...certain knowledge, it may be said that the great enterprise of Greek critical rationalism came to an end." (5) And so Popper lovingly examines the great Pre-Socratic philosophers, Xenophanes, Heraclitus and Parmenides, as exemplars of critical rationalism, and makes them relevant to the 21st century.

"Beyond the Search for Invariants" is the centerpiece of this book, an absolutely brilliant 65-page essay tracing the influence of Parmenides on modern science.You may have heard the quote from Alfred North Whitehead -- "The medieval world was an age of faith based on reason, while the modern world is an age of reason based on faith." (Science and the Modern World, 1925)Popper makes a convincing case that the metaphysical assumption underpinning modern science is much older than Christianity.Heraclitus said "you can never step in the same river twice."His was a metaphysics of constant flux.Parmenides, on the other hand, logically deduced that the world is a motionless block!A motionless block universe.It sounds absurd, but what Popper shows is that this metaphysical assumption has influenced great minds ever since, giving rise to the view that the universe is closed, and entirely deterministic.Only recently, with Darwin and Einstein, has Laplacean determinism given way to an open, indeterministic universe.Popper summarizes the essay like this in his 1993 preface -- "It tries to show that Heraclitus (everything changes) and Parmenides (nothing changes) have been reconciled and combined in modern science, which looks for Parmenidean invariance within Heraclitean flux." (viii)

You might conclude that Popper is harshly judging Parmenides.On the contrary, he praises him as a great rationalist -- he simply disagrees with a powerful idea of Parmenides.There are 9 other essays here, and they are not all equally compelling, but the best are among the best of anything I've read in the philosophy of science! ... Read more

37. Die offene Gesellschaft und ihre Feinde 1. Der Zauber Platons.
by Karl R. Popper, Hubert Kiesewetter
Hardcover: 524 Pages (2003-07-01)
-- used & new: US$108.70
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38. Karl Popper
by Bryan Magee
 Paperback: 127 Pages (1986)

Isbn: 3162449480
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39. Karl Popper: Philosophy and Problems (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements)
by Anthony O'Hear
Paperback: 304 Pages (1996-03-29)
list price: US$41.99 -- used & new: US$20.39
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Asin: 0521558158
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Few philosophers in this century have had either Karl Popper's range or influence, inside and outside philosophy. This collection of essays by fifteen distinguished philosophers, several of whom have been closely associated with Popper and his work, provides a timely assessment of Popper's contributions in a number of key areas: the methodology and philosophy of science; probability and determinism; quantum theory; biology; the theory of evolution; and the theory and practice of politics. ... Read more

40. Karl Popper (Arguments of the Philosophers)
by Anthony O'Hear, Anthony Oohear
 Paperback: 232 Pages (1982-11)
list price: US$10.95
Isbn: 0710093349
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