Category Archives: open society

Hayek as a critical rationalist

F A Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy  by Peter Boettke of the George Mason  University is hot off the press. The subtitle signals three phases in Hayek’s career, first   fundamental economic theory from roughly 1920 to 1940, then the … Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, open society | 2 Comments

Commentary on the worldview of Pope Francis

Pope Francis and the Caring Society edited by Robert M Whaples, Independent Institute, Oakland Calif, 2017. The question “is the pope a Catholic?” used to be rhetorical but tragically that is no longer the case in light of the concessions … Continue reading

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‘Brexit’ and the Political Ideals of the Open Society

Rod Thomas Preface, acknowledgements, lament, dedication and disclaimer This paper was written in the months preceding the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum to decide whether the United Kingdom ought to remain a member of the European Union. It uses starred (*) endnotes … Continue reading

Posted in open society | 17 Comments

Scientism vs Liberalism

In his book, “The Counter-Revolution of Science”, Hayek argued against scientism – attempts by the social sciences to ape the methods of the natural sciences by ignoring the subjectivity of economic value. I will apply these ideas to criticise of some current ideas that the government should use force to make people happier. Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, ethics, open society | 10 Comments

Utopianism, Libertarianism and Other Political Theories

In Chapter 9 of Volume 1 of The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper argues against utopianism. I have heard many people say that libertarianism is utopian. For example, in this series of videos the speaker often states or implies … Continue reading

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Popper on Schools and Universities

It has been said, only too truly, that Plato was the inventor of both our secondary schools and our universities. I do not know a better argument for the optimistic view of mankind than the fact that this devastating system of education has not utterly ruined them. Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, ethics, open society, quote | 9 Comments

Who Should Decide?

Popper points out that it is difficult to find a government on whose goodness and wisdom we can rely and so that we should set up our institutions to allow us to prevent bad government from doing too much damage. Many people seem unaware of this argument and its implications for political and moral philosophy. Continue reading

Posted in ethics, open society | 4 Comments

Optimism vs Faith

In the debate between those who think the human species is doomed due to this or that environmental problem and those who are more optimistic, one often gets the impression from pessimistic environmentalists that optimism is motivated solely by faith. In … Continue reading

Posted in historicism, open society | 30 Comments

Essentialism vs freedom

Michael Sandel gives an interesting TED Talk on democracy, saying that we should talk more about the deep moral convictions people have to raise the level of debate in democracy. This may be a good idea, but unfortunately his argument … Continue reading

Posted in essentialism, ethics, open society | 1 Comment

Proportional Representation and the Open Society

In The Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl Popper criticised the idea that political philosophy should be about the question of who should rule. Any person or group is fallible, so the question “Who should rule?” begs for a false … Continue reading

Posted in open society | 3 Comments