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13 - The Grounds for Anti-Historicism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2024

Anthony O'Hear
Affiliation:
University of Buckingham
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Summary

In his seminal The Poverty of Historicism1 (hereafter PH) Sir Karl Popper deployed a number of arguments to prick the pretensions of those who thought that they were, or could come to be, in possession of knowledge of the (social) future. These ‘historicists’ assumed that they could lay bare the law of evolution of a society, and that their possession of knowledge of such a law justified (large-scale) political action which had the aim of removing obstacles to the progress of history. In arguing against historicism Popper was clearly motivated by his interest in removing the intellectual backing for such revolutionary political practice.

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Karl Popper , pp. 383 - 410
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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