Popper’s progress 1902-1994

A challenge to Sinc to show us what shots his man has got in his locker.

This material is now in an Amazon e book and must be taken down to meet the Amazon requirement that e book contents should not be available elsewhere free of charge.

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7 Responses to Popper’s progress 1902-1994

  1. one old bruce

    Firstly, Popper is obviously far more liberal than Oakshott, who is usually regarded as a conservative.

    So we may need to be more specific about ground rules before making a comparison. Liberal? Conservative?
    While Popper aimed at identifying what went WRONG in prewar Europe, some of us might see Oakshott as working towards explaining what was so RIGHT about British tradition. As always correct me if I’ve missed the point.

    (Sorry I don’t know how to italicise).

  2. Poor Old Rafe

    They were both classical liberals which combines the best of both the liberal and conservative traditons. They clearly agreed on what was right about the classical liberal tradition and what was wrong with the utopian reform agenda.

    Popper may have been more concerned about the need to address serious problems as a matter of moral urgency and he had a point when you see how things have gone in Europe and Britain since the war.

    He felt more optimistic about the US circa 1950 (although he was alarmed by the role of the media and advertising during elections) and that was before the rise of anti-anti-communism and the Great Society programs.

  3. blogstrop

    Nice one Rafe. While there are a lot of people we can look up to as being damned smart, it’s always salutary to read about their lives in more detail, and to find that they went through the same gates as a lot of others. But given the times, this was very worrying:

    Hitler came to power in 1933 and people like Popper and Mises who read Mein Kampf and took it seriously did not see a bright future for Austria or the Jews.

    Worrying because the Mein Kampff of today is written or video’d on the internet by people like those who Tim Blair is targetting very well at present.
    Like Hitler, they say it, and they mean it.

  4. Jim Rose

    what an unusual education. self-taught almost.

  5. Rafe

    Yes he was an autodidact (self taught) in many ways. The survey above does not give a hint of the depth of his work in some areas that make my head hurt like logic, probability theory and quantum physics.

    His concentration and intensity were legendary. He gave a talk in the US with both Einstein and Bohr in the audience (which he regarded as the greatest compliment in his career). In the question time Bohr got involved and they persisted in an intense debate after everyone else went home for dinner.

    Bryan Magee wrote a fascinating account of his friendship with Popper and with Bertrand Russell as well.

    The Russell file takes a while to load but if you have any interest in Bertrand Russell it is worth the wait!

  6. dover_beach

    Rafe, I’m going to set out Oakeshott’s intellectual biography – hopefully this week – as a compliment to the above which is I think an outstanding outline of Popper’s contribution. You should be pleased to note that my appreciation of Popper is improving with age. The fact that he resisted the reductionist impetus of his age in the philosophy of mind is remarkable, even though he was not alone in this. I certainly think his thought ranged more widely than O’s but O’s political and social philosophy is superior, again, even though they are confreres of the same tradition.

  7. Poor Old Rafe

    That will be a great contribution Dover!

    All of the most prominent PR re Popper is negative, especially since his big name admirers like Gombrich and Medawar are gone.

    Popper never twigged to the importance of the media image, imagine what it would have done for sales of The Logic of Scientific Discovery if he had been photographed drifting down the Thames.

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