Review Of "Popper's "Open Society" After Fifty Years: The Continuing Relevance Of Karl Popper" Edited By I. Jarvie And S. Pralong

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Conference papers tend to be uneven. This collection, edited by Jarvie (York Univ., Toronto) and Pralong (former director, Open Society Foundation, Romania) is a happy exception. Its brief preliminary section presents E.H. Gombrich's recollection of his role in getting Popper's Open Society published and the last extensive interview with Popper himself, conducted by Adam Chmielewski. A second part addresses The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), and David Miller explores Popper's appreciation of Tarski's theory of truth. The final part considers the continuing relevance of The Open Society. Since the 1995 conference that produced these papers took place in Prague, they clearly reflect the sweeping political changes in Central and Eastern Europe. Hagiography is everywhere avoided; instead the ambiguities, insights, and problems of Popper's distinctive methodology are explored: John A. Hall suggests a remedy for a sociological deficit in Popper's thinking; Bryan Magee, philosopher and former MP, lucidly explains the strengths and limits of Popper's methodology; and Joseph Agassi explores the perils of contemporary nationalism. Scholars from Poland and the Czech Republic contribute other fine essays. Anyone interested in Popper's social and political thought--and its contemporary relevance--will find this an example of Popper's own advocacy of openness and testing. Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates and beyond.


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