The Open Society and Its Enemies : The Spell of Plato v.1, Paperback Book

The Open Society and Its Enemies : The Spell of Plato v.1 Paperback

Part of the Routledge Classics series

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Written in political exile during the Second World War and first published in 1945, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century.

Hailed by Bertrand Russell as a 'vigorous and profound defence of democracy', its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx exposed the dangers inherent in centrally planned political systems.

Popper's highly accessible style, his erudite and lucid explanations of the thought of great philosophers and the recent resurgence of totalitarian regimes around the world are just three of the reasons for the enduring popularity ofThe Open Society and Its Enemies, and for why it demands to be read both today and in years to come.

This is the first of two volumes of The Open Society and Its Enemies.


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This first part of The Open Society and its Enemies is a very fine piece of work. I was new to Popper, and found his attack on Plato very persuasive. The poisonous nature of the Platonic antipathy to change and desire for ‘perfection’, and the multifarious tyrannies produced by its influence, are elucidated effectively, and the falseness and staggering vanity of Plato’s project exposed.When Popper was writing, the targets of the second volume – Hegel and Marx – were perhaps considered the more pressing enemies, but it is Plato, the root, who is more so now and in the longer term.Recently I read a book published in 2001 that discussed Popper as a thinker fading into history because of his success, who would only need to be re-discovered in the event of resurgence in communism, fascism, or religious fundamentalism. Safe to say we could use him now!

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