Karl Popper: A Critical Appraisal

Karl Popper: A Critical Appraisal

Karl Popper: A Critical Appraisal

Karl Popper: A Critical Appraisal


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.


The majority of papers appearing in this volume were given at a conference held in Christchurch, New Zealand, 12-14 July 2002, celebrating the centenary of the birth of Sir Karl Popper (28 July 1902). There are many people to thank for their assistance in making the conference such an agreeable and successful occasion. We would not have been able to effect the participation of so many distinguished speakers without very generous sponsorship from Jade Software Corporation Ltd. We would like to thank Sir Gil Simpson for this sponsorship, and Professor Martin Holland for being instrumental in obtaining it. The University of Canterbury provided assistance through the Erskine Fellowship fund; in this regard we appreciate the support of Professor Daryl Le Grew and Professor Robert Kirk. Financial assistance was also provided by the Goethe Foundation (Wellington).

The pre-conference administration was accomplished with remarkable efficiency and exceptional good humour by Carol Hiller, to whom we are indebted for keeping us sane. The registration desk at the Conference was staffed by post-graduate students from the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

The participants also merit considerable admiration for the way in which they rapidly overcame fatigue due to jet-lag, contributing vigorously to the discussion of all the papers. Karl and Hennie Popper's thought that New Zealand was 'half-way to the moon' was no doubt caused in part by the means of transport at their disposal (ship), but even with modern jet planes the journey to Christchurch can be energy-sapping. Some of the contributors flew directly from the Viennese Centennial Popper Conference. To all of them, and to those who have contributed papers to this volume who did not make the conference, a very big thank you.

Graham Macdonald would like to express gratitude to the University of Canterbury for an Erskine Fellowship that funded leave in 2001 which enabled him to do some of the organising for the Popper Centennial conference, and to the Philosophy Department in King's College, University of London, for hosting him during this leave. He would also like to thank the Philosophy Department at the University of Connecticut, USA, for its hospitality during his study leave from the University of Canterbury in 2003-4, during which time this volume was

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