Reaction Paper To Popper And Free Society Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

reason than his critique of Plato, Popper provides much food for thought about political philosophy, and especially the political philosophies underlying American society and government. So much modern critical theory and political philosophy is rooted in Plato that it is easy to take for granted that much of what is said in The Republic and other texts needs to be scrutinized. Plato was brilliant but not sacrosanct. I appreciate that Popper urges his readers to criticize Plato and cease believing Plato to be a sacred text. Criticizing Plato actually fulfills Plato's very own objective in his writings, which is to stimulate dialogue and discussion, promote open-mindedness, and encourage critical thought rather than blind faith. What else is the cave analogy if not an urging to readers to step outside the shadow world of falsehood and into the light of truth?

Ironically, Popper champions Plato by critiquing his arguments. Popper is astute enough to recognize the value in Plato's political philosophy, but favors more the methods by which Plato reaches his conclusions, ie. the Socratic dialogue. From this vantage point of deep respect for Plato, Popper builds upon roots democratic theory to provide a solid overview of the concept of "open society." By blending also Marxist theory, Popper presents one of the most thorough and appealing analyses of modern political culture and its being often torn in two different directions between strong centralized governments presided over by elites (Plato's suggestion) and governance that is more directly democratic and populist in nature (more like Marxism). Popper therefore provides a more genuine representation of American idealism than the "republican"...
...I believe that Popper is troubled by both Plato's and Marx's seeming lack of specificity in their philosophies, as they both focus on broad and abstract ideas as opposed to pragmatism and applied political science. When Popper discusses Marx's materialistic philosophy, for instance, I feel that he might miss the value of the main points of Marxist theory and how it helped people to rethink issues related not just to social class but also race and gender. Therefore, there is very real and tangible pragmatism in Marxism (whereas there might actually be less so for Platonic philosophy), and I believe that Popper might overlook this pragmatism only to make his point.

I found Popper's analysis of historicism and historicity as too complicated, and struggled to understand what he means by it other than determinism. If Popper only means to discuss determinism, then I would agree that one of the main weaknesses in Marxism is the deterministic belief that history is taking a pre-determined course or trajectory from different forms of past governments like monarchies through to capitalist democracies, and ultimately to…

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