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The Open Society And Its Enemies, Volume One: The Spell of Plato (The Open Society and its Enemies #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,795 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Written in political exile during the Second World War and first published in 1945, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. Hailed by Bertrand Russell as a 'vigorous and profound defence of democracy', its now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx exposed the dangers inherent in c ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published July 11th 2003 by Routledge (Routledge Classics) (first published 1945)
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Matthew Harbowy
Popper's Open Society and its Enemies is devoted to a crushing polemic against Platonism. Plato's Republic is described as a detailed defense of what Popper calls "Closed Society", which is taken to be totalitarian in all its forms.

Platonism is hard to summarize concisely, but roughly amounts to an ontology (that is, the study of reality) which is grounded in the concept of the "form", that of an idealized and unchanging entity which is the pure, unadulterated essence of all objects in reality.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you wondered what Plato was all about or had trouble reading through his lengthy works? Get this wonderful book where an outstanding author does the hard work for you, then lays out the gist of Plato's thoughts in clear, easily and quickly readable prose.

Behind our societies lie influential ideas, philosophies about the best way to organize humanity. In a few cases, the general public might be able to associate a person with an idea - Marx and communism, Jefferson and American democracy - b
Kyle van Oosterum
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
An incredible work on Plato yielding one of the most important interpretations of his philosophy of all time. We tend to idealize the great Athenian philosopher but Karl Popper, a philosopher of science, sets the record straight with this scathing indictment of his philosophy and its cruel implications. Plato, necessarily was an enemy of democracy due to his best friend and tutor Socrates having been democratically elected to be executed. He fought through his philosophy to restrain such a syste ...more
Steve Evans
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important books written in the 20th century, taken with its second volume - a searching analysis of the modes of thinking of "development" that takes in Plato, Hegel, and Marx. The best edition is this one, that keeps more detailed analysis in wee tiny print in appendices - but be sure to get the full Monty as much of this is fascinating.

People have tried to defend Plato against Popper's savage attack on his political theories, but it's pretty hard really. Plato was polit
Randal Samstag
Oct 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Popper's anti-Platonist tract is slander from start to finish; the book that inspired Ronald Levinson to write a 645 page rebuttal (In Defense of Plato). In much of Popper's writing he is a fitting follower of Sextus Empiricus, but here, in a perhaps-understandable post-Hitler and post-Stalin rage, he descends to dogmatic fiction. For example, on the very first page Popper counter-poses two quotes, one from Pericles that "Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it" t ...more
محمد  النعمه
ينتقد كارل بوبر في كتابه " المجتمع المفتوح وأعداؤه - الجزء الأول ) نظريات الفيلسوف أفلاطون السياسية ، حيث يوضح موقف أفلاطون من الديموقراطية .. ورغم نقد أفلاطون للإستبداد السياسي إلا أن بوبر وصف برنامج أفلاطون السياسي بالأستبداد الخالص ..

ويقول بوبر " غالباً ما تدعي النزعة الإستبدادية حبها للحرية " الحقة " ، وثناء أفلاطون على الحرية كمقابل للطغيان يحمل تماماً نبرة ذلك الحب المزعوم " ..

Straightforward and coldly logical criticism of sociological historicism as seen first in Plato, and later by Hegel and Marx (Vol. 2). Lucid and thorough.
John Gurney
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Popper brilliantly shows how Plato was no friend of democracy or freedom (the "open society"). This highly influential work is fascinating, yet, highly readable.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: أخرى
"إن حضارتنا إذا ما أريد لها أن تبقى وتستمر، فينبغي أن تقلع عن عادة الدفاع الأعمى عن أولئك المفكرين العظماء. فهؤلاء الرجال العظماء ليسوا معصومين من الخطأ."
-كارل بوبر

يعد هذا الكتاب مدخلاً نقدياً لفلسفة السياسة والتاريخ.، وهو فحص لمبادىء إعادة البناء الاجتماعي من أفلاطون بوصفه "الفيلسوف المقدس" . ووصولاً إلى الذين يشعلون الحروب، مروراً بالماركسية والهيغلية وغيرها من الفلسفات الشمولية المغلقة.

وبتصنيف بوبر لتاريخ التطور الثقافي للإنسان إلى مرحلة قبلية هي مرحلة ما قبل الإغريق، والمرحلة الحضارية مع الإ
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a thorough repudiation of Plato's political and moral philosophy. Although I am definitely not any sort of historian or authority on the nature of Plato's philosophy, Popper is convincing enough to make me really question the "idealization" of Plato he so often mentions.

My criticisms are not of Popper's treatment of Plato, but of some of his other contentions on the subject of individualism/collectivism and ethics. Popper himself creates a table in which individualism is opposed to colle
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An essential book for the person who is looking for the roots of hatred of individualism, human intellect and human creativity. Plato was the first in line to openly and intellectually declare war on the individual, his poisonous ideas in time fueled many dangerous ideologies including mainstream religions and K.Popper, being the knight defender of egalitarianism, freedom of thought and expression and individualism shows us, NO reveals us how Plato, so called hero of philosophy was actually a mo ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Popper is a pretty persuasive writer, a real scholar. I was a bit skeptical when I started this book, since I had always held Plato in pretty high esteem. But Popper brought together a lot of what I already knew in a way that made me rethink some of my opinions.

I would like to read the other volume of The Open Society and Its Enemies, on Hegel and Marx, but don't yet have it.
Jackson Cyril
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Critical enquiry is good. Totalitarianism stifles critical enquiry. Therefore totalitarianism is bad. Plato advocates totalitarianism. So Plato must also be bad.' One reading of Platonic thought, and a nice critique of it.
Rene Stein
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knihu jsem poprvé četl před 20 lety a dnes jsem si ověřil, že dílo K. R. Poppera nejen mistrně demaskuje totalitární tendence v Platonově dile, ale i brilantně analyzuje svět, ve kterém je prezidentem USA izolacionista Trump a v českém politickém mikropanoptiku rejdí třeba směšný kmenový vůdce Robejšek, národní závist a nenávist k individuálnímu podnikání živí postSTBácký žoviální oligarcha Babiš podáváním EET ve smrtelných dávkách a oběma sekunduje poslední typicky český samuraj Okamura, kteréh ...more
Maria Borland
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Popper begins 150 pages of endnotes with an apology for those books he was unable to consult due to wartime (WWII) conditions. This sense of humility and thoroughness pervades Poppers work. Any satisfying soundbites - 'what we want is to moralize politics and not to politicize morals' - are invariably preceded by pages of meticulous argument and textual reference. A careful avoidance of polemic and generalisation enhances Popper's case against hitoricism and essentialism as they appear not only ...more
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
لدى كارل بوبر فلسفته الخاصة التي تستطيع ان تستشفها من خلال كتاباته سواء كانت في مجال المنطق و المنهج العلمي او في مجال السياسة .. . لقد كان تركيز بوبر في نقد الأفكار الشمولية و الدوغمائية في المقابل يؤكد على فكرة تراكمية وتدرج المعرفة.
بوبر يريدنا ان نكون دائماً منفتحين على الآراء من حولنا أيا كان مصدرها وتقبل النقد لأنه مفتاح التطور المعرفي و العلمي.
في كتابه هذا انتقد بوبر قادة الفكر العالمي من أصحاب النظرات الشمولية و التفسير التاريخي ورغبتهم في إخضاع الإنسان للكُليات التاريخية التي يعتقدون به
This is brilliant. It's a radical re-reading of Plato which argues that, in his authoritarian vision of the perfect state, he is the forerunner of totalitarianism oppression (Nazism, Stalinism) and the enemy of true political freedom. Perhaps the most unsettling claim, for philosophers anyway, is that Plato's use of the character of Socrates in his dialogues is a complete distortion of what the real Socrates stood for - the opposite, in fact. The book is well-argued, clear, and - apart from some ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If we dream of a return to our childhood, if we are tempted to rely on others and so be happy, if we shrink from the task of carrying our cross, the cross of humaneness, of reason, of responsibility, if we lose courage and flinch from the strain, then we must try to fortify ourselves with a clear understanding of the simple decision before us. We can return to the beasts. But if we wish to remain human, then there is only one way, the way into the open society. We must go into the unknown, the ...more
Mahmoud EL Agamey
أعداء المجتمع المفتوح هي الأفكار الشمولية التي تتضمن شموليتها انغلاقها فهي تقدم تصورا متكاملا منتهيا لتكون وتطور المجتمع التاريخي ومن هنا فهي تؤدي بالضرورة إلى الوقوف في وجه الأفكار المخالفة بل وقمعها ومن هنا ترافقت ، على مدار التاريخ البشري ، المذاهب الشمولية والقمع والديكتاتورية والاستبداد. الشيوعية وستالين النازية وهتلر الأديان والملوك في القرون الوسطى. كانت هذه متلازمة تثبت باستمرار خطر الأفكار الشمولية. المجتمع المفتوح هو المجتمع الديموقراطي الذي لا يحكمه تصور نهائي مثالي محدد بل يسير بخطوا ...more
Dec 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Popper was perhaps unfashionable for loathing Plato, but I can see where he's coming from. Plato's Republic would have been a dehumanising hell on earth if ever it was instigated. But I feel Plato in his talking about the different classes of society being strictly controlled had in mind the warring factions of the psyche rather than an actual society, so he's off the hook as far as I am concerned. I liked his discussions of Hegel's historicism, however, and of the ways in which historicism with ...more
Mahmoud Omar
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

في رفض العودة والسكون، في درء النظريّات، التاريخانيّة واليوتيوبيا والشموليّة، وفي الدفع نحو مجتمع مفتوح: مثابرة في المجهول، واللايقيني، وغير الآمن، "مستعينين بما قد يخططه لنا العقل بقدر إمكاننا من أجل الأمان والحريّة معًا".
Rui Coelho
A good enough critique of Plato's political philosophy, but the theoretical framework is vague and unclear. Terms as Historicism and Open/Closed Society are so broad that their meaning seems to change according to the author's convinience.
Abdulla Alali
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الثورة على الحرية
Luke Echo
I should probably re-read Plato's Republic after this.
Laurent Franckx
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why "The Open Society and its Enemies" remains one of the essential readings of the 20the century

Like hundreds of thousands of students worldwide, I have been first confronted with Popper as the philosopher of science who first proposed 'falsification' as a criterion for differentiating science from pseudo-science, a concept that has left a permanent mark on our way to evaluate the intellectual merits of assertions in all areas of life. However, it wouldn't do justice to this intellectual giant
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A strong and convincing analysis of Plato's conception of the perfect state as a foundations for totalitarianism.

Plato thought that there exists a transcendental world, full of perfect Forms or Ideas of every sensible thing in our own world. So there exist conceptions of the Perfect State and the Perfect Man - Plato uses these to build his own ideal state. This a state that arrests change and fights the constant degeneration inherent in our cosmos. In doing so, Plato makes every individual subs
Nicholas Woode-Smith
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A stalwart defence of liberalism, reason and science against the dangers of totalitarianism, historicism and a fear of change. While a bit condensed in sections, Karl Popper has created a classic that we must often re-read to remind ourselves of the dangers of pseudo-altruistic collectivism and its lies about truly virtuous individualism.
Mostafa Shalash
الفضل في فهم هذا الكتاب يعود للمترجم : السيد نفادي - والكتاب يدور حلو تفكيك التاريخانية والمدينة الكاذبة لافلاطون - لا الفاضلة- ويدعو لحماية الفرد والحصول على نسبية بين الأمن والحرية وفكرة المساواتية في العدل - وإعادة بناء مفهوم للعدل والعدالة داخل المجتمع الذي لا يفرق بين ابناءه على أساس طبقي او امتيازي
Angus Stirling
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intellectual wrecking ball into totalitarianism, in which Popper attacks a tendancy to generously and selectively interpret Plato as a progressivist instead of an anti-humanist totalitarian class rule jerkbutt. He treats Plato as a sociologist and then demolishes Plato's opressive social theories and pretty much calls him out on being a spartan tough guy wantabe. It's beautiful stuff.
Miguel Figueiredo
Popper's comprehensive analysis on Plato's metaphysics and his Theory of Ideas allows us to get a grip on what where the the main components that put together his idealized State and its societal organization, leading to an understanding of the justification of Plato's totalitarian means to govern society. Besides Karl Popper's lay out of Plato's ideas, a more important knowledge is learned: the critical thinking applied by the author to ideas such as isonomy (equal treatment in the eyes of the ...more
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Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born in Vienna on 28 July 1902. His rise from a modest background as an assistant cabinet maker and school teacher to one of the most influential theorists and leading philosophers was characteristically Austrian. Popper commanded international audiences and conversation with him was an intellectual adventure - even if a little rough -, animated by a myriad of philosoph ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Open Society and its Enemies (4 books)
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two: Hegel and Marx
  • After the Open Society: Selected Social and Political Writings

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“But the secret of intellectual excellence is the spirit of criticism ; it is intellectual independence. And this leads to difficulties which must prove insurmountable for any kind of authoritarianism. The authoritarian will in general select those who obey, who believe, who respond to his influence. But in doing so, he is bound to select mediocrities. For he excludes those who revolt, who doubt, who dare to resist his influence. Never can an authority admit that the intellectually courageous, i.e. those who dare to defy his authority, may be the most valuable type. Of course, the authorities will always remain convinced of their ability to detect initiative. But what they mean by this is only a quick grasp of their intentions, and they will remain for ever incapable of seeing the difference.” 39 likes
“Nature consists of facts and of regularities, and is in itself neither moral nor immoral. It is we who impose our standards upon nature, and who in this way introduce morals into the natural world, in spite the fact that we are part of this world. We are products of nature, but nature has made us together with our power of altering the world, of foreseeing and of planning for the future, and of making far-reaching decisions for which we are morally responsible. Yet, responsibility, decisions, enter the world of nature only with us” 21 likes
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