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Karl Popper - The Formative Years, 1902–1945

Karl Popper - The Formative Years, 1902–1945
Politics and Philosophy in Interwar Vienna

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  • Date Published: July 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521890557


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About the Authors
  • Karl Popper (1902–1994) is one of this century's most influential philosophers, but his life in fin-de siècle and interwar Vienna, and his exile in New Zealand during World War II, have so far remained shrouded in mystery. This intellectual 2001 biography recovers the legacy of the young Popper; the progressive, cosmopolitan, Viennese socialist who combated fascism, revolutionized the philosophy of science, and envisioned the Open Society. Malachi Hacohen delves into his archives (as well as the archives of his colleagues) and draws a compelling portrait of the philosopher, the assimilated Jewish intelligentsia, and the vanished culture of Red Vienna, which was decimated by Nazism. Hacohen's adventurous biography restores Popper's works to their original Central European contexts and, at the same time, shows that they have urgent messages for contemporary politics and philosophy.

    • The first biography of the young Karl Popper in roles previously unknown: socialist reformer and revolutionary philosopher
    • Recovers the vanished culture of interwar Vienna which was destroyed by the Nazis
    • Shows how Popper's philosophy can have contemporary relevance
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    • Winner of the 2001 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Karl Popper was not always forthcoming about his early life and his early intellectual trajectory may surprise some of his admirers. But the real hero of this book is the long-lost intellectual milieu of Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s that did so much to shape him.' The Economist, from Books of the Year 2000

    'Malachi Hacohen has written an exciting book, which will be the starting-point for any future work on the development of Karl Popper's ideas. For those with an interest in Popper, the book is a must. It should also be of immense interest to all those concerned with the history of philosophy and, more generally, of ideas in the twentieth century. Hacohen's work combines detailed archival research with engagement of Popper's politics and philosophy and an ability to write in an interesting and provocative manner. An essential purchase.' Jeremy Shearmur, Australian National University

    'Hacohen has labored long and hard in the archives, and the result is a magnificent work of scholarship.' New York Times Book Review

    '… its rich evocation of the turbulent yet vital interwar Vienna should win this formidable book a wider readership.' Publishers Weekly

    ' … this is likely to be the standard reference for some time … It is a work of quite remarkable scholarship, well organised, clearly and vigorously written. It stands as a monument to Popper's indomitable spirit and to the support of many people.' Quadrant

    'Malachi Hacohen's biography of Karl Popper is in many ways an extraordinary book … Hacohen's book is not only unique, its extremely careful, quite detailed, and very well-written. It is clearly … a truly great biography.' Review of Social Economy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521890557
    • length: 626 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 35 mm
    • weight: 0.82kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Progressive philosophy and the politics of Jewish assimilation in Late Imperial Vienna
    2. The Great War, the Austrian Revolution, and communism
    3. The early 1920s: school reform, socialism, and cosmopolitanism
    4. The pedagogic institute and the psychology of knowledge, 1925–28
    5. The philosophical breakthrough, 1929–32
    6. The Logic of Scientific Discovery and the philosophical revolution
    7. Red Vienna, the 'Jewish Question', and emigration, 1936–37
    8. Social science in exile, 1938–39
    9. The Open Society, 1940–42
    10. The rebirth of liberalism in science and politics, 1943–45.

  • Author

    Malachi Haim Hacohen, Duke University, North Carolina


    • Winner of the 2001 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize
    • Winner of the 2001 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize
    • Winner of the 2003 Friedrich Adler State Prize
    • Winner of the 2003 Friedrich Adler State Prize

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