The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two by Karl Popper

The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two

Written in political exile in New Zealand during the World War II and first published in two volumes in 1945, Karl Poppers The Open Society and its Enemies was hailed by Bertrand Russell as a vigorous and profound defence of democracy. Its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx prophesied the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and exposed the fatal flaws of socially engineered political systems.

Details The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two

TitleThe Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two
Release DateJul 11th, 2003
GenrePhilosophy, Politics, Nonfiction, History

Reviews The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two

  • Clif
    This is the second volume of Popper's work that warns of the great influence of thinkers who were no friends of the open society, a society in which the rights of the individual are valued over the glory of the state.In volume one, Popper uses Plato's writings, quoted extensively, to indict Plato very effectively as an advocate of totalitarianism. In this volume, it is Hegel and Marx that are up on charges of abandoning reason for historicism, Po...
  • Dan
    I don't know what I would do without this book. Popper fled the Nazi takeover of Austria, and set out to write a book that would somehow fight bad ideologies. He succeeded. If only anyone actually read it. Open Society begins with an attack on Plato. Popper argues that we need to realize that Plato chose Sparta over Athens, and every other vaguely cosmopolitan city. He spends time describing just how controlled, misogynistic, and totalitarian Spa...
  • Gabriel Thy
    From Plato to Hegel, the philosopher king is the summit of socialism everywhere, a system in which the "good" thinker knows what is best for all individuals. Karl Popper prefers the free society and counts neo-Platonism among his enemies. Having been raised in an authoritarian Communist culture in Austria, Popper rejected "historicism" in ascertaining that the growth of human knowledge is a causal factor in the evolution of human history, and sin...
  • C. Varn
    While Popper's critiques on the dangers of total ideas can be helpful, but ultimately this is a fairly vapid critique.
  • Lucas
    Just a quote:"It should perhaps be admitted that the Heraclitean ethics, the doctrine that the higher reward is that which only posterity can offer, may in some way perhaps be slightly superior to an ethical doctrine which teaches us to look out for reward now. But it is not what we need. We need an ethics which defies success and reward. And such an ethics need not be invented. It is not new. It has been taught by Christianity, at least in its b...
  • Naing Lin
    I personally found it more intriguing to read than the previous volume, part of the reason is I'm not familiar with Plato and Aristotle than that of Karl Max and Hegal. It's perhaps either incorrect notions of representation has existed over our culture like their hardliners used to say about it. Nevertheless, the ideas and concepts are distributed via various media outlets after all. I still feel that His attack on the particular concept is not ...
  • Robin
    Well written, and some interesting insights, but generally disingenuous towards Hegel and Marx, and I think unfairly and quite incorrectly attributes 'methods' to them that are not quite right, but which become convenient anchors for Popper to "deconstruct" them and show their inherrant weaknesses.In this regard he is dishonest and disappointing. But like many conservatives, his criticisms do apply to a certain clique within the left, and no doub...
  • Joseph Stieb
    Striking in its main ideas, but largely unpleasant to read in comparison to the shorter and more focused first volume. Popper jumps around a lot in his book, and occasionally it is hard to tell where he is going. The main thrust of the book is the case against Hegelian and Marxist historicism, or the belief that one can intuit and predict a larger purpose to history and then design a political program to further the inevitable. He sees historicis...
  • Xander
    In Vol 2 of The Open Society, Popper describes how the historicist approach of Hegel forms the foundation of facism and how the historicist approach of Marx - never mind its good intentions - led to immense suffering. His treatment of Hegel's philosophy is somewhat irritating, due to the long list of witty comments on how corrupted and wrong Hegel was. (Nonetheless, I completely agree with Popper on this).Hegel, according to Popper, was a scam. H...
  • blakeR
    Not nearly as engaging as Volume I. It might be because the material of Hegel's and Marx's philosophies are necessarily more complex than that of Plato and Aristotle. But I also got the impression that Popper, through a large part of the volume, left the discussion of an "open society" off to the side while he treated his preferred topic of historicism, along with other, less relevant tangents (many having to do with Marx's economic theories). Th...
  • Mierrosamir
    - thinking in the solving problems need logics or an experience? - are we should trade one way? - are we all search for many answers at same time? - is there an answer without a question?
  • Tom
    4 1/2 stars. This is a pretty extensive refutation of Marx's (inspired by Hegel's) historicism. "Scientific Marxism is dead," Popper claims, and that's also an apt summary of the work as a whole. I think that he is undoubtedly right in the main in his treatment of Marx, and I'm obviously not going to go through the arguments he proffers against Marx's historicism, but I'll just provide some general remarks and one criticism.First, although it's c...
  • Kraig Grady
    I had never heard of Popper until Ligeti used a title of his for his pieces "Clouds and Clouds". So when in a book store, i search it out but ended up buying this one . Now here was a philosopher who didn't need to use big terms to impress you. His language is as simple as he could make it. And he ask the really important question-how open in terms of individual rights does a citizen have within a society. He takes Plato as a starting point and s...
  • Joel
    I thought that this book was great (both Volume 1 and 2, although people more frequently refer to Volume 2, likely since it discusses Marxism which seems to be more near and dear to people's hearts). Popper wrote The Open Society during World War II when he thought that Europe might soon be under a totalitarian regime.
  • Maggie Koerth Baker
    Still reading currently. Will definitely have more to say about it when I'm done. Given the time frame this is written in, Popper is talking about issues between liberal democracy and the communism-based totalitarian states. But really, a lot of what he's talking about is also applicable to religion and tribalism-based totalitarianism and is, thus, still pretty relevant today.
  • ali
    A book to learn more about marxism and democracy
  • Melusine Parry
    don't agree with the angry man at all, but a good read.
  • sologdin
    very plausibly skips over 25 centuries to tie marxism directly into plato.
  • David
    Volume 2, dealing with Hegel and Marx, with an in-depth critique of the moral theory of historicism and whether history has any meaning, in light of oracular philosophy and the revolt against reason.
  • Andrew Endicott
    This is the second part (the cover isn't correct, but oh well), and it's equally good. You should read this if you're uninspired to read anything else.
  • Nathan Albright
    It is a great shame that my local library system does not have the first volume of this collection stocked but only the second, but as someone who finds much to enjoy in reading Popper, this book is certainly a thoughtful and provocative read that has a lot to say against the sort of prophetic culture that has become increasingly popular in Western Civilization from the 19th century onward.  Given the malign influence of Hagel on both Nazis and ...
  • Aaron Crofut
    Well, that was a let down. The cranks on Hegel are worth the while, as is the question of the use of history in the last chapter, but everything else...meh. Popper's thoughts on Marx are like a new invention that protects you against spears: not particularly important anymore, because I can't recall the last time I met a legitimate Marxist. Communists, sure, but out and out Marxists? A thing of the past. Ironically, Popper spends a great deal of ...
  • Rafal Pruszynski
    I liked this book, though not as much as the first volume. Though that probably has a lot to do with having read much of Plato while having read very little of Hegel and Marx. One thing that bothered me a bit here was how Popper never really gives a very good justification for his morality of interventionism and his take on humanitarianism. He asserts, often enough, that we have moral duties to help those in need, for example, without providing m...
  • Lukas Szrot
    Brilliant, overall. A great exegesis on both Marx and historicist philosophy. A bit uncharitable to Hegel (though not without reason) and somewhat off-base in the criticism of the sociology of knowledge (philosophers and sociologists of knowledge continue in many ways to talk past each other regarding whether epistemology is a somewhat a priori, criterion-oriented discipline or a socially constructed phenomenon. Having a background in both views,...
  • Andrei
    Many Marxists consider that knowledge is determined by cultural and social norms, but Popper rejects this idea as absurd. His main argument is that Marxists ignored famous examples from the history of science, such as Copernicuss heliocentric theory of the solar system that was created independently from the cultural prejudices of the sixteenth century. This leads us to the conclusion that scientific knowledge does not depend on society. Popper t...
  • Dirk Buken
    This book is a classic of political thinking. It offers a compelling answer against all kind of totalitarian ideas. Before reading I've never noticed that the totalitarian tendencies were founded by Platon. The contempt of Hegel felt by many liberal thinkers i could not understand......however an instinctive refusal of marxism i did feel all the time. It's a strong plea for liberty and reason. One of the most convincing sentences was, that we are...
  • Donald
    In his second volume Poper turns his attention to the more modern philosophers Hegel and Marx. Again Poppers book doesn't tell anyone who has read Hegel or Marx things they didn't already know or suspect. What's interesting is the way Popper manages to place these philosophers and men into their time and place in history, They way he clearly sees why their theories fall and his suggestions for a successful way forward for an open society, many of...
  • Jaap Bennen
    If readers would also read this, in advance or after reading Popper, they would ultimately conclude that this critique is a hatchet job:[Walter Kaufmann, Beacon Press, Boston 1959, page 88-119, Chapter 7: The Hegel Myth and Its Method] completely misunderstands Hegel, and if you want a serious criticism of Marx, you should look to Leszek Kołakowski - a far better and more reasonable criticism of the ...
  • Luís Nunes
    This book helped me understand the profoundly authoritarian nature of the philosophies of Plato and his political heirs, Hegel and Marx. I did not realize the risk embedded in the totalitarian understanding of Hegelian State, which had so much influence in the various versions Marxists. But contrary to what the author intended, it did not take me to the arms of liberalism. But, to be on guard against the State.