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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Karl R. Popper

Such considerations are not merely academic as All Life Is Problem Solving by Karl R. Popper (Routledge) takes pains to point out. This collection of essays illuminates Popper's process of working out key formulations in his theory of science, and indicates his view of the state of the world at the end of the Cold War and after the collapse of communism. Karl Popper was one of the most influential thinkers of our time. By far the most important and exceptionally influential Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper (5th edition: Princeton University Press) is his most cited work. It is one of those treasure troves of great ideas that challenge the idealist presuppositions of the received tradition. Popper is famous reformulating the grounds  for empiricism. His suggestion that the basis of the scientific method is the falsification of false theories by empirical analysis opens the way to his criticism earlier systems such as those of Plato as "essentialist" as such that cannot be disproved by experimentation and hence against the open inquiry of scientific investigation. Beyond offering a rationalization for scientific practice, he also related science to democratic social systems. He was repulsed by the development of totalitarian systems. In his view these systems were the product of "essentialist" philosophical systems or ideologies. He favored pragmatic systems in which ideology could be challenged by his method. The Open Society and Its Enemies is a work that is one of the most learned and systematic attacks on ideological systems which has been written in the last hundred years. It is definitely one of those works that will inspire and provoke one to think newly about Society and science, democracy and history.

Recently Popper’s many essays have been collected, Popper wrote Myth of the Framework (Routledge), a collection of some of Popper's most important materials on the discussion of science and rationality. He offers his own critical rationalism, which he regards, both as a theory of knowledge and as an attitude towards human life, human morals and democracy. In Search of a Better World (Routledge) pulls together Karl Popper's meditations on the real improvements science has wrought in society, in politics and in the arts in the course of the twentieth century. His subjects range from the beginnings of scientific speculation in classical Greece to the destructive effects of twentieth century totalitarianism, from major figures of the Enlightenment such as Kant and Voltaire to the role of science and self-criticism in the arts. The essays offer striking new insights into the mind of one of the greatest twentieth century philosophers.

World of Parmenides by Karl R. Popper (Routledge) is a unique collection of essays that not only explores the complexity of ancient Greek thought, but also reveals Popper's engagement with Presocratic philosophy and the enlightenment he experienced in reading Parmenides.

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