OSE Chapter 24. The Revolt Against Reason

“The conflict between rationalism and irrationalism has become the most important intellectual, and perhaps even moral, issue of our time.” This is a big chapter, 26 pages, as befits a topic that has generated such a mountain of literature, much of it confused and confusing due to (a) the numerous meanings of “reason’ and ‘rationality’ […]

OSE Chapter 23. The Sociology of Knowledge

This chapter signals what Ian Jarvie later called Popper’s “social turn”, his recognition that whatever objectivity and rationality we can achieve cannot be attributed to special qualities of mind but to the give and take of criticism in a community. Two dangerous ideas were emerging in intellectual circles at the time: one was the idea […]

OSE Chapter 21. An Evaluation of the Prophecy

The arguments underlying Marx’s historical prophecy are invalid. His ingenious attempt to draw prophetic conclusions from observations of contemporary economic tendencies failed. The reason for this failure docs not lie in any insufficiency of the empirical basis of the argument. Marx’s sociological and economic analyses of contemporary society may have been somewhat one-sided, but in […]

OSE Chapter 20. Capitalism and its Fate

This chapter completes the chain of argument that ran through chapters 18 and 19. To recapitulate, the strategy was to start with a critical appraisal of the Marxist prophecy (the coming of socialism and the class-free society) in its strongest form, allowing a number of assumptions about the trajectory of the capitalist system. All of […]

OSE Chapter 19 The Social Revolution part 2

This post continues Popper’s critique of the ambivalent attitude towards violence that is fostered by both the radical and moderate wings of the Marxist movement. These correspond roughly with the communist and social democrat parties as they existed in Europe at the time. Sometimes the issue is pushed aside, as though the Marxist in his […]