7th Edition

The Open Society and its Enemies

By Karl Popper Copyright 2002

    Written in political exile in New Zealand during the Second World War and published in two volumes in 1945, The Open Society and its Enemies was hailed by Bertrand Russell as a 'vigorous and profound defence of democracy'. This 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. It remains highly readable, erudite and lucid and as essential reading today as on publication in 1945. It is available here in a special centenary single-volume edition.

    VOLUME 1: THE SPELL OF PLATO Introduction, The Spell of Plato, THE MYTH OF ORIGIN AND DESTINY 1. Historicism and the Myth of Destiny 2. Heraclitus 3. Plato's Theory of Forms or Ideas PLATO'S DESCRIPTIVE SOCIOLOGY: 4. Change and Rest 5. Nature and Convention, PLATO'S POLITICAL PROGRAMME: 6. Totalitarian Justice 7. The Principle of Leadership 8. The Philosopher King 9. Aestheticism, Perfectionism, Utopianism THE BACKGROUND OF PLATO'S ATTACK: 10. The Open Society and its Enemies Notes Addenda Index of Platonic Passages Index of Names Index of Subjects
    VOLUME 2: THE HIGH TIDE OF PROPHECY The Rise of Oracular Philosophy 11. The Aristotelian Roots of Hegelianism 12. Hegel and The New Tribalism MARX'S METHOD: 13. Sociological Determinism 14. The Autonomy of Sociology 15. Economic Historicism 16. The Classes 17. The Legal and the Social System MARX'S PROPHECY: 18. The Coming of Socialism 19. The Social Revolution 20. Capitalism and Its Fate 21. An Evaluation MARX'S ETHICS: 22. The Moral Theory of Historicism THE AFTERMATH: 23. The Sociology of Knowledge 24. Oracular Philosophy and the Revolt against Reason CONCLUSION: 25. Has History any aning? Notes Addenda (1961, 1965) Index of Names Index of Subjects


    Karl Popper (1902-1994). Philosopher, born in Vienna. One of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.

    'One of the great books of the century' - Alan Ryan, The Times

    'Few philosophers have combined such a vast width of knowledge with the capacity to produce important original ideas as he did.' - Anthony Quinton, The Guardian

    'A powerful and important book. It is a criticism of a set of dogmas which underlie the most influential political theories, and in consequence powerfully affect the actual conduct of human affairs. Dr Popper writes with extreme clarity and vigour. His studies in Greek history and Greek thought have obviously been profound and original. Platonic exegesis will never be the same again. Nor, I think, will Marxist exegesis. Readers should not miss studying the notes collected at the end of the two volumes.' - - Gilbert Ryle, Mind

    'This is a work of great interest and significance, stimulating and suggestive throughout. Dr Popper's virtues are manifold. He has a great fertility of ideas. Almost every sentence gives us something to think about.' - G.C. Field, Philosophy

    'Combining daring historical and psychological speculation with an irreverent philosophical scepticism, it is a model of serious, searching free thought. The Open Society was written by torchlight. And it is with torchlight that it is best read.' - Financial Times

    '[...] the most lucid defence of freedom as a political and cultural idea ever written. It's one of those books that I know will stay relevant for ever.' - Justin Webb, BBC North American Editor