Popper's Legacy: Rethinking Politics, Economics and Science

Popper's Legacy: Rethinking Politics, Economics and Science

Popper's Legacy: Rethinking Politics, Economics and Science

Popper's Legacy: Rethinking Politics, Economics and Science

Synopsis

The work of Karl Popper has had extraordinary influence across the fields of scientific and social thought. This book examines Popper in the round, analysing in particular his moral and psychological insights. Presenting an overview, it reveals the debt many intellectual movements owe to Popper.

Excerpt

Karl Popper has been a central figure in the European intellectual life of the twentieth century, yet relatively ignored for most of his life. Perhaps one reason for this relative neglect of his ideas has been his move from Vienna to escape the Nazis all the way to New Zealand where he spent the war years (World War II). He eventually made it to Britain with a position at the London School of Economics, rather than the more prestigious universities of Oxford or Cambridge. He was known by his contemporaries, but was not the first choice (and at times not chosen at all) to give keynote speeches at conferences. Perhaps his legacy exemplifies the stereotype of the wandering Jew. Unlike Odysseus, who had a home to go back to, the wandering Jews had to move from point to point, finding refuge from one danger only to find another in their new homes. They were victims of their enemies for centuries, whether the Catholic Inquisition in Spain in the fifteenth century or the Russian pogroms in the nineteenth century. The more they tried to assimilate to their newfound homes, the more they realized that their difference would come up at some point to haunt them, and to provide the excuse for the natives to persecute and eventually expel them. Whether the natives were enlightened or not, as was the case in the British Isles in the sixteenth century, the Jews had to go! No matter how hard they tried, the Jews remained outsiders, foreigners, untrustworthy residents.

Instead of exploring in detail the historical and cultural causes for the phenomenon of wandering Jews, I would like to link Popper’s own wanderings to theirs (despite the fact that his own genealogy stresses his parents’ conversion). Perhaps the one who wanders has . . .

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