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Back to Unedited Philosophy Quotes and Ramblings about Intequinism.
Book: After The Open Society
Author: Karl Popper
Editors: Jeremy Shearmur and Piers Norris Turner
Publisher: Routledge Classics
Place: London and New York
ISBN: 978-0-415-61023-0 (pbk)
Reader: Mr. Marquard Dirk Pienaar
31 January 2014
"Those who like myself wish to dissent from pragmatism or instrumentalism admit, as a matter of course, that most scientific theories are instruments. What we deny is that they are nothing but instruments -- more precisely, that they cannot have value as pure theoretical knowledge. And we shall assert the old-fashioned thesis that the pure scientist searches for truth, and not merely for usefulness.
... I think that the theory of truth developed by Alfred Tarski has dispelled many sceptical misgivings about the idea of truth. What Tarski did was to show there was no reason to give up the commonsense view according to which a statement or a theory is true if it corresponds to the facts. ...
agree with the pragmatists that we have to seek for a third
position between optimism and pessimism. But it is clear
that our new 'third position' will have to be, in
contradistinction to the 'third position' of the
pragmatists, much further from pessimism than from optimism." (Shearmur,
Turner 2012: 6).
[Popper wrote about Plato's conception of truth when Popper referred to Plato's program of procreation whereby the rulers influenced young people with deceit. Popper opined Plato's conception of ruling class "communism", included sharing of the class' women and children, and children were not supposed to know who their real parents were. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:189,225).
It implies that Plato's conception of truth was his subjective "coherent" theory of truth, which did not prioritize correspondences, in order to reach truer coherencies, based on corresponding realities, which precedes coherence, like Kant promoted. Kant's conception of coherencies, as result of, correspondences, promoted a belief, whereby different subjective coherencies, are combined, to form larger wholes in minds, to reach fuller conceptions of coherence. Fuller conceptions of coherence can be reached, by combining corresponding communication about subjective individual coherencies, when individuals have the same reference point for their correspondences. The common reference point is actuality, not functional and instrumental truths, but the real world. This stable reference point, which is the world, will cause, with belief, successful societies. That is why honesties are important, to cause, fuller conceptions of coherence. It could be argued that this theory of truths is a type of materialism, because coherence is derived from matter. I however opine it is not materialism because only belief can keep people honest enough to correspond reasonably, when devils start to interfere with honesties. Fuller conceptions of coherence will benefit the creational effect of humans on the world. Effecting changes in the world will happen more efficiently with less negative side effects than currently.]
[Popper wrote in 1992 with reference to not only Friedrich August von Hayek's book: "The road to serfdom leads to the disappearance of free and rational discussion; or if you prefer, of the free market in ideas. But this has the most devastating effect on everybody, the so-called leaders included. It leads to a society in which empty verbiage rules the day; verbiage consisting very largely of lies issued by the leaders mainly for no purpose other than self-confirmation and self-glorification. But this marks the end of their ability to think. They themselves become the slaves of their lies, like everybody else. It is also the end of their ability to rule. They disappear, even as despots. ... Gorbachev was the first general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to pay several personal visits to the West. ... He somehow noticed, probably subconsciously, that his own empire was suffering from a kind of suppressed mental disease; as indeed it was, together with all its leaders. It was the rule of lies." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:405).
I do not agree with Popper about "the free market of
ideas". Popper did not realize that imparting of
ideas in free markets of ideas, as supported by utilitarian
constitutions necessitates lies. This "rule of lies" can be seen
in Caiaphas syndromes when the deceivers accuse honest
people of thinking they are each "God himself" or the
"Mother of God". The accusation is dependent on monotheistic
[Popper made a clear distinction in his thought between "dogmatic" and "critical". Dogmatic people according to him had not the ability to adjust, whilst critical people could change their views and adjust to survive. This leads to a situation whereby tools of societies improve best methods of survival, which do not relate to "biggest or the most powerful ones." Marx's "most convincing way" of describing the difference was referring to "a war between means of production... This, however, would be a war between dogmatic and critical ways of thinking, or between less and more mental flexibility. In history, the less flexible were usually in the majority. And, like Louis XIV, or Napoleon, or Kaiser Wilhelm, or Hitler, they usually had a monolithic and highly centralized organization." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:332-333)
"The critical attitude may be described as the conscious attempt to make our theories, our conjectures, suffer in our stead in the struggle for survival of the fittest. It gives us a chance to survive the elimination of an inadequate hypothesis--when a more dogmatic attitude would eliminate it by eliminating us. (There is a touching story of an Indian community which disappeared because of its belief in the holiness of life, including that of tigers.) We thus obtain the fittest theory within our reach by the elimination of those which are less fit. (By 'fitness' I do not mean merely 'usefulness' but truth; see chapters 3 and 10, below.) I do not think that this procedure is irrational or in need of any further rational justification."]
["Honesty – granted that this is our virtue, from which we cannot get free, we free spirits – well, let us labour at it with all love and malice and not weary of 'perfecting' ourselves in our virtue, the only one we have: may its brightness one day overspread this ageing culture and its dull, gloomy seriousness like a gilded azure mocking evening glow! And if our honesty should one day none the less grow weary, and sigh, and stretch its limbs, and find us too hard, and like to have things better, easier, gentler, like an agreeable vice: let us remain hard, we last of the Stoics! And let us send to the aid of our honesty whatever we have of devilry in us – our disgust at the clumsy and casual, our 'nimitur in vetitum', our adventurer's courage, our sharp and fastidious curiosity, our subtlest, most disguised, most spiritual will to power and world-overcoming which wanders avidly through all the realms of the future – let us go to the aid of our 'god' with all our 'devils'! It is probable that we shall be misunderstood and taken for what we are not: but what of that! People will say: 'Their “honesty” - is their devilry and nothing more!' But what of that! And even if they were right! Have all gods hitherto not been such devils grown holy and been rebaptized? And what do we know ourselves, when all's said and done? And what the spirit which leads us on would like to be called (it is a question of names)? And how many spirits we harbour? Our honesty, we free spirits – let us see to it that our honesty does not become our vanity, our pomp and finery, our limitation, our stupidity! Every virtue tends towards stupidity, every stupidity towards virtue; 'stupid to the point of saintliness' they say in Russia – let us see to it that through honesty we do not finally become saints and bores! Is life not a hundred times too short to be – bored in it? One would have to believe in eternal life too" (Nietzsche, 2003: section 227;p.156)
"nimitur in vetitum" - [Google translation: "too much in the forbidden"]]
Popper wrote: "The position between optimism and pessimism which I am trying to establish may be briefly described as follows.
I agree with the pessimists that there is no justification for the claim of any particular theory or assertion to be true. Thus there is no justification of any claim to know, including the claims of scientific knowledge. But this merely means that all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is hypothetical or conjectural: it is uncertain, fallible. This certainly does not mean that every assertion is as good as any other, competing, assertion. For we can discuss our various competing assertions, our conjectures, critically; and the result of the critical discussion is that we find out why some among the competing conjectures are better than others." (Shearmur, Turner 2012: 10).
Popper with reference to The Laws of Plato took a position in favour of altruistic individualism against Plato's opinion. Popper wrote: "This is clearly individualism -- altruistic individualism, of course. It leads to the demand that the State is to exist for the sake of individuals and not (as Plato demanded, in common with the fascists) the individual for the sake of the State." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:66). Popper regarded "group egoism", which is usually "taken for granted" as evil. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:66,78).
1 February 2014
Popper wrote to Carnap in 1947: "It is this aesthetic-Utopianist-Messianist element in Socialism which is its main danger, and which drives it so easily into a totalitarian direction." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:104).
The danger Popper identified i regard to be the
sacrifice of creativities, with the false functionalist
belief in the return of a messias, which cannot exist due to
the weakness of singularity. Individuals with power received
their power from many people. The result is that
creativities are sacrificed in socialist systems and
eventually such territories are colonized. Popper also
referred to Hayek's book The road to serfdom,
which could promote the same realization. Hayek promoted
denationalization of printing money. Whether he promoted a
wider monetary system, for example the current European
Union or whether he promoted narrower printing of currency,
i do not know currently. Previously i thought without
considering a wider than national monetary system that Hayek
wanted a narrower system. I then started to doubt my
thoughts about Hayek but after reading Wikipedia
just now my previous thoughts were enforced, particularly
because at Wikipedia it was written that Hayek thought a
centralized reserve bank could not have the required
knowledge to efficiently control volumes of new currency.
Popper wrote: "As a step towards the solution of this problem of the agenda and non-agenda of public policy I suggest that we distinguish between what may be roughly called 'positive values' and 'negative values', or, for simplicity's sake, goods and evils. And my contention -- that misery should be considered a matter for public policy while happiness should not be so considered -- could be perhaps re-stated in this way: the fight against avoidable concrete evils such as avoidable misery should be considered a public duty while the realization of comparably concrete positive goods should not be considered a public duty." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:118).
Popper thought: "I found that Plato and Hitler were exponents of a reaction to the same social phenomenon: social change. Both represented an attempt to get over the strain caused by the breakdown of the closed society, both are exponents of The Strain of Civilization, and of The Fear of Change. This explained to me why the equation was valid: it was not valid because of any similarity in the two persons, however faint, but because both answered a similar challenge." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:176-177).
Popper opposed the idea of the "Messias (sic), the wise king, the philosopher king" in The Open Society and its Enemies. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:177).
Popper thought: "In my book [The Open Society and its Enemies], I mention explicitly the points of Platonism which, in my opinion, were pernicious. They are:
(1) Utopianism, Aestheticism. (Let us first agree on the ideal society we want.)
(2) The question 'who should rule'. (Which leads to the answer 'the best', i.e. to aristocracy.)
(3) Education as a class prerogative and a class attribute. (Another emphasis on aristocracy.)
(4) The use of white lies in politics. The belief that the people have to be told [such lies], and that they cannot be as wise as the rulers
(5) The equation: individualism = egoism" (Shearmur, Turner 2012:178).
Is Popper's reference to "white lies" to
Socrates's opinion? "Socrates: 'And
we must value truthfulness highly. For if we were right when
we said just now that falsehood is no use to the gods and
only useful to men as a kind of medicine,
it's clearly a kind of medicine that should be entrusted to
doctors and not to laymen. . . It will be for the rulers of
our city, then, if anyone, to use falsehood in dealing with
citizen or enemy for the good of the State; no one else must
do so. And if any citizen lies to our
rulers, we shall regard it as a still graver offence than it
is for a patient to lie to his doctor, or for any athlete to
lie to his trainer about his physical condition, or for a
sailor to misrepresent to his captain any matter concerning
the ship or crew, or the state of himself or his
fellow-sailors.' " (Plato, The
Popper wrote: "True the Republic and the Laws are very pretentious too -- and the Laws, more especially, are vicious and full of lies: but again and again the sun manages to break through the clouds, and there are insights of immeasurable value." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:217).
Popper with reference to closed societies and totalitarianism emphasized negative impacts on individuals who are treated as "scapegoats" with postulates of " 'preventive terror' ". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:244).
Popper wrote: "I have given the name 'historicism' to the view that history is predictable, and that it is the task of the social sciences to predict it. I have criticized this view and, I believe, refuted it. Its refutation demolishes not only all claims of the Marxists that history is on their side, but also of course all claims that it is on our side.
All such appeals to history are, one might say, religious heresies, heretical forms of Western monotheism. This can be shown by comparing them with an earlier heresy, one which replaced the God of Christianity by Nature. This earlier, naturalistic, revolution against God simply replaced the name 'God' by the name 'Nature'." Popper had for example, "Natural Selection" and "Science" in mind when he wrote this. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:245,462).
Popper's book The Open Society and its Enemies, is a direct result of the circumstances, which caused the 2nd World War and opposes "historicism (historical prophecy), collectivism and irrationalism". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:179). Popper opposed the idea of the "Messias (sic), the wise king, the philosopher king". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:177). Popper wrote to Carnap in 1947: "It is this aesthetic-Utopianist-Messianist element in Socialism which is its main danger, and which drives it so easily into a totalitarian direction." (Shearmur, Turner 2012:104). Popper with reference to closed societies and totalitarianism emphasized negative impacts on individuals who are treated as "scapegoats" with postulates of " 'preventive terror' ". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:244). Popper wrote: "I have given the name 'historicism' to the view that history is predictable, and that it is the task of the social sciences to predict it. I have criticized this view and, I believe, refuted it. Its refutation demolishes not only all claims of the Marxists that history is on their side, but also of course all claims that it is on our side.
such appeals to history are, one might say, religious
heresies, heretical forms of Western monotheism." (Shearmur,
The idea of the "Messiah" is irrational because the weakness of singularity implies one man cannot have the power of God, not even if he is given power by a group, who always have power to take the given power away, whether by murder or by statute.
Popper's three evils, identified in his book can therefore be traced back to one origin, which is Caiaphas syndrome. "Historicism" and "irrationalism" relates to the predictions of a 2nd coming of Christ and "collectivism" relates to scapegoating and "preventive terror". The question arises how Caiaphas syndrome affected Germany before the 2nd World War in relation to the Jewish and German communities. Which community were more ill with Caiaphas syndrome? Was it the Jewish community, the German community or was both communities equally affected?
"Radical transcendence as alterity" is a countercultural movement relating to authenticities due to notions attached to ulterior motives, identified in authenticities according to Charles Taylor in his book The Malaise of modernity. Westphal emphasized, with reference to Niebuhr, that the "return of Christ" and by implication creators' activities should be seen as threats, which require restrictions. Intelligence agencies during recent times have broken the balances between securities and privacies by using modern technology irresponsibly. CCTV News reported that the National Security Agency of the USA accessed computers of civilians with radio wave technology even whilst the computers were not connected to the Internet. Aljazeera News reported that text messages were intercepted because the messages were regarded a "goldmine to exploit". "Sin, the opposite of trusting obedience, is the desire for autonomy, not merely as being responsible for my own actions, but also as being the one who defines my identity and sets my own agenda. The same is true when the ‘I’ is expanded to the ‘We’, the self to society."  From these quotations it can be questioned whether Westphal's views about creativities are dangerous to societies' independence as creative units. Sometimes theodicies are regarded as bureaucratic necessity. Westphal's theism acknowledges "God as creator"; God can exist without the world but the world cannot exist without God. He wrote Pantheism and atheism, which are basically the same, postulate interdependence; God cannot exist without the world and vice versa. Atheism and pantheism do not recognize "God, as personal, purposive creator".
11 February 2014
Popper wrote about the victory of the "Great Alliance" over "National Socialism" during the 2nd World War. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:245).
Elsewhere in the book i recall Popper wrote about bringing liberalists and socialists together. It seems then that Popper was an internationalist liberalist with socialist leanings. His socialist leanings were however limited due to his arguments against collectivism. The "National" in National Socialism could refer to Caiaphas Syndrome because of the Nationalist ideas in the book of Revelation.
"From Plato to Karl Marx and beyond, the fundamental problem has always been: who should rule the state? (One of my points will be that this problem must be replaced by a totally different one.) Plato's answer was simple and naïve: 'the best' should rule. If possible, 'the best of all', alone. Next choice: the best few, the aristocrats. But certainly not the many, the rabble, the demos.
The Athenian practice had been, even before Plato's birth, precisely the opposite: the people, the demos, should rule. All important political decisions -- such as war and peace -- were made by the assembly of all full citizens. This is now called 'direct democracy'; but we must never forget that the citizens formed a minority of the inhabitants -- even of the natives. From the point of view here adopted, the important thing is that, in practice, the Athenian democrats regarded their democracy as the alternative to tyranny -- to arbitrary rule; in fact, they knew well that a popular leader might be invested with tyrannical powers by a popular vote.
So they knew that a popular vote may be wrongheaded, even in the most important matters. (The institution of ostracism recognized this: the ostracized person was banned as a matter of precaution only; he was neither tried nor regarded as guilty.)" (Shearmur, Turner 2012:361).
Popper wrote that Plato "recommended concentration camps" due to Plato's ideology, which worked "in terms of classes". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:395).
With reference to
Friedrich von Hayek's book The Road to Serfdom
Popper explained Von Hayek's "enslavement
theorem" as follows: "The
road to serfdom leads to the disappearance of free and
rational discussion; or, if you prefer, of the free market
in ideas. But this has the most devastating effect on
everybody, the so-called leaders included. It leads to a
society in which empty verbiage rules the day; verbiage
consisting very largely of lies issued by the leaders mainly
for no purpose other than self-confirmation and
self-glorification. But this marks the end of their ability
to think. They themselves become the slaves of their lies,
like everybody else. It is also the end of their ability to
rule. They disappear even as despots.
Of course, these are also, partly, matters of individual personal talents. But I suggest that they are mainly dependent upon the temporal length of the enslavement. The acceptance of lies as the universal intellectual currency drives out truth -- just as bad money drives out good money." Popper wrote about Gorbachev who visited the West several times personally and was aware of the societal mental illness in Russia: "the rule of lies". (Shearmur, Turner 2012:405).
Just after the 2nd World War, Von Hayek started the Mont Pèlerin Society on the 'mont' at the southern shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland to counter the effect of the many "intellectuals" who opted for fashionable socialism at the time. (Shearmur, Turner 2012:403).
NIETZSCHE, F. 2003. Beyond good and evil: prelude to a philosophy of the future. (London: Penguin, 3rd Penguin edition)
PLATO. 2007c. The Republic. (London, England: Penguin, 2nd edition)
POPPER, K.R. 1963. Chapter 1 - Science: Conjectures and Refutations. (In Conjectures and refutations: the growth of scientific knowledge, pp. 33-59. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul)Shearmur, J. and Turner, PN. eds. 2012. Karl Popper's After The Open Society: Selected Social and Political Writings. (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2012 paperback)
 POPPER, K.R. 1963. Chapter 1 - Science: Conjectures and, 52.
 " 'but the whole does not exist for the sake of the part. ... You yourself are created for the sake of the whole, and not the whole for the sake of you'. ... [Plato, Laws, 903 c.]" (Shearmur, Turner 2012:67,435)
 Westphal, M. 2012. Dimensions of divine, 135.
 "Niebuhr, H.R., 1951. Christ and culture. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers." (Westphal, 2012: 136)
 Westphal, M. 2012. Dimensions of divine, 135.
 Interview on France 24 news channel, 17 November 2013, 10h10 (South Africa time) with Elmar Brok, German member of the European parliament and current chairman of the European parliament committee on foreign affairs. The interview was about spying by intelligence agencies, which caused the necessity of new agreements between the USA and Europe due to infringements on the European populace's privacies.
 Channel 403, CCTV News on Top TV. 16 January 2014, 18h15, South Africa time.
 Channel 401, Aljazeera News on Top TV. 17 January 2014, 18h00, South Africa time.
 Westphal. M. 2012. Dimensions of divine, 128.
 Trakakis, N. The end of philosophy of religion, 25.
Westphal. M. 2012. Dimensions of divine, 126-127.