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The Open Society and Its Enemies.

Volume I: The Spell of Plato. Volume II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath.

London : 1945 Stock Code: 139145
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First edition, first impression, of the author's influential first book. "The Open Society was, deservedly, a great success; and so was its author. It appeared in November 1945, and Popper arrived the following January from New Zealand to find himself a rising star in the British philosophical firmament. Gilbert Ryle wrote an enthusiastic review of The Open Society and its Enemies for Mind. Bertrand Russell wrote an enthusiastic recommendation on its behalf to his own American publisher, and spoke warmly of Popper's demolition of Plato when he delivered his well-known lecture 'Philosophy and politics' in October 1946... The 'open society' had obvious affinities with what John Stuart Mill had argued for in On Liberty: a society in which argument was the norm, where moral, political, scientific, and religious doctrines were constantly questioned and revised. What was unusual about The Open Society and its Enemies was not only its sustained assault on the enemies of the open society but its concentration on the way in which their philosophical errors became politically dangerous. Volume 1 depicted Plato as both a proto-communist and a proto-fascist, and emphasized the ways in which his theory of knowledge with its emphasis on the intuitive grasp of essences licensed intellectual authoritarianism, and therefore political authoritarianism. Volume 2, subtitled 'The high tide of prophecy', savaged Hegel and Marx for claiming to have arrived at the definitive truth about the future of humanity and the political implications of that truth" (ODNB).

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2 volumes, octavo. Original black cloth, spines lettered in gilt.


Early ownership signature of B. Parkes to the front pastedown and title pages, note to front free endpapers "Wingerworth, November, 1945", a few minor pencilled marginal lines in vol. II. Rubbed, covers a little bowed and bumped at extremities, contents a little toned as usual, minor creasing to some top page corners, vol. I with botanic specimen inserted at pp. 120/121 and offset toning to pp. 182/183, minor small running stain at fore edge pp. 137-162. A very good copy.


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