Progress with the study of Popper scholarship

Work is proceeding to document some of the extent of defective Popper sholarship. The outline can be found on this page that I have set up to avoid putting up monster posts on this site.

The idea is to produce a cheap ebook that will not have to go through the standard publishing process and will also circumvent the bookshops.

Companion volumes will provide equally cheap cribs or primers on the major works. Several of these are in draft form.

The Logic of Scientific Discovery, The Poverty of Historicism, The Open Society, Conjectures and Refutations, Objective Knowledge.

Criticism and comments can be put up here or sent off line to rchampATbigpondDOTnetDOYau

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4 Responses to Progress with the study of Popper scholarship

  1. 1. Don’t you think this might be overstating things a bit: “If ideas matter then the neglect of Popper’s ideas may be no small contribution to the political, social and economic travails of our time”?

    2. Are you going to back up any of the sweeping claims about the general ignorance of Popper’s work, the pomo turn in universities and the disengagement of philosophy from public discourse with evidence or citations?

    3. I completed a degree in philosophy and politics and political studies at an Australian university that is not a member of the group of eight and I read Conjectures & Refutations, The Logic of Scientific Discovery and Unended Quest in full and The Open Society in part during my degree. The opening of your book makes the false assumption that students are programmable idiots who soak up what their lecturers say as if it’s gospel. We have critical faculties, you know. Give us some credit and cut the ‘false consciousness’ BS. Or are you being ironic?

  2. Rafe says:

    Thanks for your comments Dylan!

    You were very lucky. How many undergrads in philosophy around the nation get to read that much of Popper? Did you find parts of The Open Society helpful and relevant to current political issues?

    Do you think we would have such a toxic political and intellectual culture if Popper’s ideas were well known by all educated people? Not that everyone has to agree with them of course.

    I appreciate that students come in many different varieties, some use their critical faculties and some do not. How many of the people in your philosophy courses were sufficiently interested to do extra reading or engaged in serious discussion outside tutorials?

  3. G’day Rafe,

    My first comment combines your assessment of the secondary material on Popper with what I assume is your position on the general presentation of Popper’s ideas throughout universities. My mistake. So thanks for the polite response.

    Yes, no doubt that there are lazy students, just as there are lazy academics who toe the ‘standard criticism’ line. The interpretation of Popper’s work that you’ll present in this eBook might at least get those students who can’t be stuffed reading Popper first hand leaving uni with a truer understanding of his ideas.

    I was lucky enough to study under this guy, which is no doubt part of the reason why I was exposed to Popper’s work. Then I found that Popper turns me on. It was an feeling shared by a few of my fellow students. Bizarre, I know.

    As for The Open Society, I like it because I hate Platonic elitism. On that front I find it more helpful for understanding the tendency of academics to view the average punter with contempt than I do for understanding contemporary politics.

    But yes, the more Popper the better. First hand, preferably. If second hand, then at least accurately. Which is why I look forward to the complete eBook.

  4. Rafe says:

    Thanks again!

    Man O man, did you get lucky with Geoff Stokes! This is my review of his book on Popper.

    “Given the many controversial aspects of Popper’s thought, most people will find plenty to disagree with, both in the primary works and in Stokes’s interpretation of them. In case the comments above appear ungenerous I had better close by saying that it is gratifying to note that Stokes has been prepared to put so much time and effort into the work of a thinker who is not widely regarded in philosophical circles as a living influence or a significant force. Those who beg to differ will be pleased that Stokes has kept Popper’s ideas “in play”, at least for the time being.”

    I think this next comment in the review is unfair, given that he was writing an introductory book. Elaborating all the points that I suggested would have made the book impossibly large and complicated.

    “Such a large number of complex and controversial issues are touched in the book that most readers are likely to feel that their special area of interest has not been given adequate coverage. A major concern in this regard is the lack of development of some of Popper’s central ideas.”

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