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The Poverty of Historicism / Edition 2

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On its publication in 1957, The Poverty of Historicism was hailed by Arthur Koestler as 'probably the only book published this year which will outlive the century.'
A devastating criticism of fixed and predictable laws in history, Popper dedicated the book to all those 'who fell victim to the fascist and communist belief in Inexorable Laws of Historical Destiny.' Short and beautifully written, it has inspired generations of readers, intellectuals and policy makers. One of the most important books on the social sciences since the Second World War, it is a searing insight into the ideas of this great thinker.
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Editorial Reviews

Arthur Koestler
Probably the only book published this year which will outlive the century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415278461
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Series: Routledge Classics Series
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 736,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Popper (1902-94). Philosopher, born in Vienna. One of the most influential and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century.

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Table of Contents

Historical Note
Introduction 1
I The Anti-Naturalistic Doctrines of Historicism 4
1 Generalization 5
2 Experiment 7
3 Novelty 8
4 Complexity 10
5 Inexactitude of Prediction 11
6 Objectivity and Valuation 12
7 Holism 15
8 Intuitive Understanding 17
9 Quantitative Methods 21
10 Essentialism versus Nominalism 23
II The Pro-Naturalistic Doctrines of Historicism 31
11 Comparison with Astronomy. Long-Term Forecasts and Large-Scale Forecasts 32
12 The Observational Basis 34
13 Social Dynamics 35
14 Historical Laws 36
15 Historical Prophecy versus Social Engineering 37
16 The Theory of Historical Development 40
17 Interpreting versus Planning Social Change 44
18 Conclusion of the Analysis 46
III Criticism of the Anti-Naturalistic Doctrines 50
19 Practical Aims of this Criticism 50
20 The Technological Approach to Sociology 53
21 Piecemeal versus Utopian Engineering 58
22 The Unholy Alliance with Utopianism 65
23 Criticism of Holism 70
24 The Holistic Theory of Social Experiments 76
25 The Variability of Experimental Conditions 85
26 Are Generalizations Confined to Periods? 89
IV Criticism of the Pro-Naturalistic Doctrines 96
27 Is there a Law of Evolution? Laws and Trends 96
28 The Method of Reduction. Causal Explanation. Prediction and Prophecy 110
29 The Unity of Method 120
30 Theoretical and Historical Sciences 132
31 Situational Logic in History. Historical Interpretation 136
32 The Institutional Theory of Progress 141
33 Conclusion: The Emotional Appeal of Historicism 148
Index 150
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