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Friday, February 09, 2007

Popper fix

This morning I got to listen to this week's installment of Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time as I drove to campus, and besides making the drive more bearable it also provided me with a much needed fix of "Popper" that I require to keep my addiction going....

I find Karl Popper to be one of the more interesting philosophers of the 20th century, and perhaps one who does not get his due when put up against others of his time. Most recently his name was associated with a rather silly and trivial incident that was the focus of Wittgenstein's Poker, a book which I found unhelpful and annoyingly demeaning of Popper.

Bragg's panel, in contrast, did not even touch on the incident (thank goodness) and instead helped put Popper's ideas about science, philosophy and politics in context. What emerges is a sweeping picture of a brilliant thinker who applied a consistent perspective across that range of topics.

An interesting dimension to the discussion was the focus on Popper's longstanding commitment to socialism -- a fact often lost to those who frequently associate him with the likes of Hayek, Orwell and Koestler.

This show is another example of the high quality offerings at In Our Time. As always, the logic of topic selection remains baffling -- last week was Genghis Kahn, several weeks back it was Hell, and earlier the Speed of Light -- and next week will be Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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Comments on "Popper fix"


Blogger meditations71 said ... (7:47 PM) : 

Thanks for the heads up on Conrad next week. Haven't had time to listen to the Popper programme yet (downloaded on my iPod though). Conrad is one of my all time favourite Victorian/Edwardian era writers in the English language, along with Kipling.

Bragg's got a really fine series going here, with just a bit of a tendency to interrupt his guests a bit too much at times...

Have you checked out the Big Ideas series on TV Ontario as well? Great stuff.


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