Popper Karl 1902 - 1994 (92)
The Open Society
and Its Enemies
Karl Popper (28 July 1902 - 17 September 1994) was one of the most important Austrian philosophers, with great influence on political and social philosophy. Born in Vienna to a family of wide education and culture, from a young age he developed many interests: music, politics, mathematics, physics, philosophy. He obtained a diploma that allowed him to practice teaching, and continued at the Vienna Pedagogical Institute, which had just been founded in 1924. In 1928 he successfully completed his doctoral dissertation in the history of music, psychology and philosophy. He also obtained a diploma in mathematics and physical education, and was appointed in 1930 to a secondary school in Vienna. Along with teaching, he also worked as a carpenter, in order to differentiate himself from the arrogant intellectuals. His family was Jewish and with the rise of Nazism in 1937, Popper immigrated to New Zealand where he taught philosophy. In 1946 he returned to Europe and in 1949 he was appointed Professor of Logic and Scientific Method at the University of London; he remained a permanent resident of England ever since.
Popper in his book "Open Society and Its Enemies", which was first published in 1945 and republished in 1952, introduced and established the concepts of open and closed society. The archetype of "closed society", according to Popper, is defined as the community of gender or race, in which everything is regulated by religion, magical-religious prohibitions and where power and general social life operate in such terms that there is the possibility of initiatives by individuals. An open society is a society in which criticism is possible not only in relation to scientific claims but also to political proposals. The greatest enemy of an open society is metaphysical propositions, those that cannot be judged by reality.
Popper has been honored with numerous awards in many countries and has been awarded honorary doctorates at dozens of universities. His works have been translated into forty languages. He died in 1994.