Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies, and its Enemies
According to Michael King, Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies may be “the most influential book ever to come out of New Zealand.” Written in Christchurch in the last years of the Second World War by a Jewish intellectual in exile from Vienna, the book’s forthright attack on Plato created a storm of controversy worldwide, and continues to be influential today. In this piece, I want to reintroduce Popper to the current generation of New Zealanders. I look at how the book came to be written in New Zealand, and what Popper thought of the country. I also examine the controversy surrounding the book, and see what we might say about it today, especially in light of subsequent scholarship.
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