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Karl Popper: The Open Society And It's Enemies

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  • Karl Popper: The Open Society And It's Enemies

    Have you guys read this?

    What do you guys think?
    I wonder if it's worth any dollares from my "hard earned capital in the open society?"

    Are people as free as they want to be? Or are other people using this as an excuse to control other people (as has happened). Reminds me of
    "Do what thou wilt." Typical fin-de-siecle dreaming again. I should recommend Dancers At The End Of Time to those who argue for
    this kind of society, because, in my view it would lead to decadence.
    Humanity always looks for guidelines and structures of security.
    I guess we are built that way. It is hard to argue that historicism
    is wrong. When there is so much history in the world......

  • #2
    It's a classic anti-Marxist text, so should really be on everyone's reading list - whether to agree or disagree. I'm ashamed to say I haven't actually read it, but I am familiar with Popper's ideas. By "historicism" what he meant was the use of history to make up laws which can be used to predict about the future. By way of contrast, he thought that “Non-repetitive events are the most striking aspects of historical development�.

    Popper was a positivist, and his particular contribution was to say that no theory could be said to be "scientific" unless it is capable of being proved wrong. Marxism fails this test (although also, arguably, does Darwin's theory of evolution - although Popper was fuzzy on this particular point, and changed his mind about it).

    So - what do I think? I had to write an essay about positivism for the 'research methods' component of my course this year (I could email it to you if you're sad enough to want to read it!) where I rejected it in favour of a 'realist' approach, which does acknowledge the possibility of laws underlying social behaviour. So I guess I'm in Marx's camp! Whether that justifies everything done in his name I really don't think so - but I think if you read Marx closely (which I haven't really :oops: ) his view of the world wasn't as deterministic as many of his supporters would have you believe (and most of them mix up Marx with Lenin - a far less subtle thinker - anyway).
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mikey_C
      It's a classic anti-Marxist text, so should really be on everyone's reading list - whether to agree or disagree. I'm ashamed to say I haven't actually read it, but I am familiar with Popper's ideas. By "historicism" what he meant was the use of history to make up laws which can be used to predict about the future. By way of contrast, he thought that “Non-repetitive events are the most striking aspects of historical development�.

      Popper was a positivist, and his particular contribution was to say that no theory could be said to be "scientific" unless it is capable of being proved wrong. Marxism fails this test (although also, arguably, does Darwin's theory of evolution - although Popper was fuzzy on this particular point, and changed his mind about it).
      So.. Was Arthur Schopenhauer in direct confrontation with positivism? (pessimism). One can see that maybe marxism needs a bit of positivism injected into it.

      I heard now that the EU is trying to work out neoliberalism with restraint to all this "shuffeling around with stocks and sucking dry the industri" and put in incentives to promote job growth and growth of industri.
      Otherwise nobody is free, if there are no jobs.
      Easier said than done i say..

      The problem is that positivism alone can consolidate the barriers between mistrust and a need for stability. Europeans are in essence more pessimistically inclined in their culture it seems.
      Hence Conservatism and Social Democracy.

      I think out of this 'can' come a new form of socialism. One thats about effort and ideas rather than just effort and money.

      Greed alone is just destructive.

      Originally posted by Mikey_C
      So - what do I think? I had to write an essay about positivism for the 'research methods' component of my course this year (I could email it to you if you're sad enough to want to read it!) where I rejected it in favour of a 'realist' approach, which does acknowledge the possibility of laws underlying social behaviour.
      Sure send it over! :)
      [email protected]

      Originally posted by Mikey_C
      So I guess I'm in Marx's camp! Whether that justifies everything done in his name I really don't think so - but I think if you read Marx closely (which I haven't really :oops: ) his view of the world wasn't as deterministic as many of his supporters would have you believe (and most of them mix up Marx with Lenin - a far less subtle thinker - anyway).
      People always blame on this or that. What certain leaders do is not really any systems fault. What if Hitler made concessions with the jews (and that also happened) to have 'their' own country and be happy. Would we look at the nazi's a different way than today?

      The problem is also Hayek. He didn't try to adress the issue of tolerance.
      Moaning about too much 'big government'. He was one of those who didn't realize, like Keyenes, that capitalism becomes corrupt if it becomes unrestrained.

      You are right about the determinism. I read a debate between two liberals(?) arguing about the same subject. It's nice to see that they haven't all together just refuted his ideas although they don't agree with him. I tend to try and make the younger generation see the difference's between the two ideologies. "One mans freedom. Is another mans oppression." and "Some people have more freedom to do things than others". I think it's a fallacy that just freedom alone could provide everyone with the benefits of the freemarket and the open society.

      The difference can be seen both in "wage-slaving" and "tax-slaving".

      I see nothing really wrong with both ideologies as such but the problem is as always 'human'!

      Marx and Engels where for the idea of "social evolution".
      �The communists do not preach morality at all ... They do not put to people the moral demand: love one another, do not be egoists, etc.; on the contrary, they are very well aware that egoism, just as much as selflessness, is in definite circumstances a necessary form of the self-assertion of individuals. Hence, the communists by no means want ... to do away with the �private individual� for the sake of the �general�, selfless man.�
      Marx and Engels, from The German Ideology


      Well 'cause and effect' i'd say..

      One mans freedom is another mans oppression.

      Comment


      • #4
        Theocrat,I think "positivism" in that case does not mean optimism or a "positive thinking" sort of crap. It is the idea that all scientifical and philosophical thought should limit itself to the study of "positive facts" and relations between them, positive facts being those which are directly observable and therefore likely to be proved or disproved by experience.
        No direct opposition to pessimism in its common sense.

        Example: my pessimism re: the EU incentives to employment growth comes from my observation of the positive fact that what they do is give corporations millions of euros in tax exonerations and such, in exchange for creating low-wage, flexible-time, precarious jobs :lol:

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mordenkainen

          Example: my pessimism re: the EU incentives to employment growth comes from my observation of the positive fact that what they do is give corporations millions of euros in tax exonerations and such, in exchange for creating low-wage, flexible-time, precarious jobs :lol:
          This is very bad. It's as bad as the U.S. It's deplorable that the EU is being transmogrified into U.S.-lite.

          There goes my plan to move back to France. :(

          LSN

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
            Originally posted by mordenkainen

            Example: my pessimism re: the EU incentives to employment growth comes from my observation of the positive fact that what they do is give corporations millions of euros in tax exonerations and such, in exchange for creating low-wage, flexible-time, precarious jobs :lol:
            This is very bad. It's as bad as the U.S. It's deplorable that the EU is being transmogrified into U.S.-lite.

            There goes my plan to move back to France. :(

            LSN
            Well thats whats pissing the french off... Do you think they will want their national pride of historic economic and social revolutions be taken a piss at.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Theocrat
              The problem is also Hayek. He didn't try to adress the issue of tolerance.
              Moaning about too much 'big government'. He was one of those who didn't realize, like Keyenes, that capitalism becomes corrupt if it becomes unrestrained.
              I wonder about Hayek. His main argument was that planning was inefficient as it couldn't handle enough information - only the market could do that. Yet he was writing in 1948! It is no coincidence that the US was desperate to stop the Soviets getting hold of computer equipment. And, even today, we are just on the edge of the possibilities of IT. Could a planned economy be a thing of the future after all? After all, one of the latest toys the capitalists can give us is an 'intelligent fridge' - sounds like planning to me!
              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikey_C
                Originally posted by Theocrat
                The problem is also Hayek. He didn't try to adress the issue of tolerance.
                Moaning about too much 'big government'. He was one of those who didn't realize, like Keyenes, that capitalism becomes corrupt if it becomes unrestrained.
                I wonder about Hayek. His main argument was that planning was inefficient as it couldn't handle enough information - only the market could do that. Yet he was writing in 1948! It is no coincidence that the US was desperate to stop the Soviets getting hold of computer equipment. And, even today, we are just on the edge of the possibilities of IT. Could a planned economy be a thing of the future after all? After all, one of the latest toys the capitalists can give us is an 'intelligent fridge' - sounds like planning to me!
                There is always some sort of planning going on. Plan economy was inefficient because of the 'heavy foot of government'. I had a discussion with my mom about this who worked at the same company i do but at an international relations office. She had some real problems with China for instance, with a "shitload" of documents to be formed or filled out.

                Chinas present ideological economic society is "Work like capitalists. Spend like communists". After what i read somewhere. Don't know if it's true though?

                I still wonder if that argument of IT and Plan Economy still holds true.
                Would we willingly give up our overconsumption to help another country reach the same level? Would we have to overdemocratize the process.
                To me it all depends on how we plan and how we invest in another country. We have to water the plants some time?

                I prefer a 'taoistic' approach to the economy. I see that as the future for a flexible, open and free stability. We have to observe ourselves and what we are doing for other countries via our consumptions. Problem is information is not or will not get through to those who care and don't really know, and those who don't wish us to.
                The problems of 'self interest' again....
                Everybody wants to be lazy and have freedom..

                I'm not really saying "Hayek is wrong", but that the economy needs some restraint to prove a point to the corporations. Pure freedom isn't freedom for everybody. And we can't go on wishing that corporate leaders would be benign and caring for "the little guy" via a "trickle down" procedure to accumulated ethic value. And why all this jabbing about efficiency? When all the money just gets accumulated to the top.
                There is too much of a conflict of interests for a trickle down to happen.
                'The Open Prison' would be more preferable.

                Both Adam Smith and Marx would cringe at what happened to their market and social ideologies. Marx did... He said "Ooopppsss!"

                Cause is mostly different from effect...

                :lol:

                Maybe Gramsci could hold some clue about the hegemony in society?
                I read a good article about it.. But it was in Swedish of course.
                And i'm not too familiar about his work.

                Funny sidenote.. the classic liberals in my country are know turning more and more leftist.. *Ahhhh* The beauty of democracy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mordenkainen
                  Theocrat,I think "positivism" in that case does not mean optimism or a "positive thinking" sort of crap. It is the idea that all scientifical and philosophical thought should limit itself to the study of "positive facts" and relations between them, positive facts being those which are directly observable and therefore likely to be proved or disproved by experience.
                  No direct opposition to pessimism in its common sense.
                  Almost exactly what a textbook would say on the topic. I would argue rather strongly that, for many topics, a non-positivist approach to investigation will actually produce more accurate, valid, and useful results. As an aside, this claim sits well with neither Popper nor Marx's materialism.

                  Also, re: Gramsci and hegemony and society--
                  After Gramsci try Stuart Hall. Both examine hegemony and its processes famously.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Doc
                    Also, re: Gramsci and hegemony and society--
                    After Gramsci try Stuart Hall. Both examine hegemony and its processes famously.
                    Uhhh... Haven't dived into gramsci yet!
                    Which books by both would you recommend?
                    Neoliberals are having a fieldtrip about hegemony et al Machiavelli..
                    Would come as no surprise either i guess? I met a journalist friend who is studying Machiavelli and comes to the conclusion that it's a contemporary satir about a "benign dictator?".

                    Time to get wasted! I need it! :lol:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Theocrat
                      Uhhh... Haven't dived into gramsci yet!
                      Which books by both would you recommend?
                      This might interest you: http://www.italnet.nd.edu/gramsci/
                      Gramsci's writings ('Prison Notebooks' is the reccomended read) are notoriously obtuse, as he produced them in a fascist prison and had to get them past the censors.

                      Basically, he tries to explain why, contrary to Marx's predictions, the working class hadn't been able to realise it's historic role and take power. The answer is hegemony, whereby ruling class institutions such as Church and State are able to dominate the intellectual environment and determine conscious. There's a lot in it.
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I recommend reading any Popper in conjunction with Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions which is a useful extension/expansion of this kind of thinking.

                        The debate about Darwinism is interesting. Oddly enough, i think it was the playwright Tom Stoppard (correct me if I'm wrong) who nailed it, by having one of his protagonists imply that evolution didn't exist then all living organisms would be the same, and would have remained so throughout history - or, as he puts it, 'the world would be one gigantic field of soy beans'. Darwinism could be disproven if this were the case! As I recall, the core of Popper's agrument was not that good theories were disprovable but that they were testable, which isn't quite the same thing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A further thought on the nature of 'Hegemony':
                          As long as Church, State and the Media own the language, which is the matrix in which we construct our social reality, then the whole 'PC non-PC' language debate will remain relevant, as part of the struggle to wrest control of our lives back from those who would control our every thought and deed.

                          Which is why that particuliar discourse is actually a lot more important than it can sometimes seem, at first glance. The forces of reaction are everywhere. That's probably why someone like Rowan 'Mr Bean' Atkinson is fighting against new 'Anti-Incitement to Religious Hatred' legislation in Britain, at the moment.

                          ...

                          I must admit, I am still extremely fond of the Fortean Times Message Board, but I do learn a lot more at Michael Moorcock's Miscellany! :)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mikey_C
                            It's a classic anti-Marxist text, so should really be on everyone's reading list - whether to agree or disagree. I'm ashamed to say I haven't actually read it, but I am familiar with Popper's ideas. By "historicism" what he meant was the use of history to make up laws which can be used to predict about the future. By way of contrast, he thought that “Non-repetitive events are the most striking aspects of historical development�.
                            Found a site debunking him.

                            http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn065.htm

                            I've tried peaking into this world of "As if".. It's full of plastic! 8O
                            I'm more in tone with a 'what if' i think?...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ooh, Popper 'debunked' from the Right. Must check this out! For the record, I get the impression that Popper was a compassionate, sincere man, whether or not we agree with him.

                              Free marketeers and Marxists have one thing in common - they both view the world through the lens of their theory.
                              \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                              Comment

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