Karl Popper in Exile: The Viennese Progressive Imagination and the Making of the Open Society
This article explores the impact of Popper's exile on the formation of The Open Society. It proposes homelessness as a major motif in Popper's life and work. His emigration from clerical-fascist Austria, sojourn in New Zealand during World War II, and social isolation in postwar England constituted a permanent exile. In cosmopolitan philosophy, he searched for a new home. His unended quest issued in a liberal cosmopolitan vision of scientific and political communities pursuing truth and reform. The Open Society was their embodiment. As described, it expressed the ideals of fin-de-siècle Viennese progressives. Many progressives were assimilated Jews, whose dilemmas of national identity gave rise to cosmopolitan views that stripped ethnicity and nationality of significance. The Open Society was an admirable defense of liberalism against fascism, but it remained a utopian ideal. It could not provide a surrogate community or home where Popper might have reached his destination and rested.
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