2014 Symposium on Karl Popper & the Open Society
Members of the public were invited to attend an international symposium on Karl Popper & the Open Society in 2014. The symposium included a lecture on “The United States Constitution and the Values of an Open Society,” by Judge John E. Jones III of the United States Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The symposium and the lecture were held on the campus of Lebanon Valley College and both events were coordinated by Dr. Philip Benesch, associate professor of politics at LVC.
Karl Popper was among the most innovative intellectuals of the 20th century. While he is best known as a philosopher of science, Popper was also a prominent social and political philosopher: a proponent and defender of the “Open Society” and of humanitarianism; a fallibilist and critical-rationalist, opposed to both dogmatism and relativism in science and ethics; and a consistent critic of authoritarianism, ethno-nationalism, and collectivism. Popper’s intellectual contribution has been widely valued. Popper enjoyed friendship and intellectual collaboration with the economist Friedrich Hayek and the art historian Ernst Gombrich. He was acknowledged as a major influence on the work of several distinguished scientists. Praised by Bertrand Russell, Popper was recognized as an important source of ideas by George Soros, Imre Lakatos, and Paul Feyerabend. While teaching at the London School of Economics, he attracted a group of highly-talented research assistants whose subsequent academic careers have extended the critical review and improvement of Popper’s theories.
The international symposium was held in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Karl Popper’s death (Sept. 17, 1994) and plenary sessions reflected on Popper’s many fields of inquiry. Papers were presented in three primary areas: Popper’s philosophical contributions to scientific method, ethics, and social science; the constitutional framework of an open society; and the 100-year crisis of liberalism.
September 16, 2014
8–9:30 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
OPENING SESSION: KARL POPPER AND THE OPEN SOCIETY
Opening statement by George Soros followed by introductory lecture by Mark Notturno, Ph.D. In his keynote address, “Karl Popper: in Memoriam,” Dr. Notturno shares memories of Karl Popper, reflects on the influence of his philosophy, and evaluates the concept of the Open Society, 25 years after the Cold War.
September 17, 2014
9 a.m.–12 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
HAYEK AND POPPER: ON RATIONALITY, ECONOMISM, AND DEMOCRACY
The session is devoted to the recent work of Mark Notturno, Ph.D., regarding differences between Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek. Dr. Notturno collaborated closely with Sir Karl Popper in his final years, editing two collections of Popper’s papers published in 1994, and is preparing a construction of Popper’s introductory lectures on scientific method based on transcripts of 10 years’ of Popper’s course lectures at the London School of Economics. Both Notturno’s Science and the Open Society (CEU 2000) and his forthcoming book, Hayek and Popper: On Rationality, Economism, and Democracy (Routledge 2014), are published with forewords written by George Soros. In his most recent work, Notturno identifies differences between Popper’s and Hayek’s approaches to rationality, economism, democracy, and open society, and argues that Popper’s approach to these issues is preferable to Hayek’s. The morning session will comprise three distinct one-hour segments (each student is encouraged to attend those segments that best fit his or her interests and schedule):
- 9-9:50 a.m. Hayek and Popper on rationality (and rational intervention by government)
- 10-10:50 a.m. Hayek and Popper on economism and social science
- 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Hayek and Popper on democracy and the rule of law
12:30 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
SOCIAL NETWORK COMMUNICATION IN THE UKRAINE – Dinissa Duvanova (Lehigh University, USA)
1–2:30 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
25 YEARS AFTER THE COLD WAR: THE PROSPECTS OF AN OPEN SOCIETY IN EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA
A video-roundtable including:
- Adam Chmielewski (Wroclow University, Poland)
- Fred Eidlin (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
- Dmitry Sepety (Zaporizhzhya State Medical University, Ukraine)
- Mark Notturno (Fellow, Interactivity Foundation, USA)
- Dinissa Duvanova (Lehigh University, USA)
2:30–5 p.m. (Phillips Room and Leedy Theater; Mund College Center)
1ST SESSION OF CONTRIBUTED PAPERS: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
2:30 p.m. – Jeremy Shearmur (Australian National University) – Popper and Analytical Political Philosophy
3 p.m. – Harald Stelzer (Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany/University of Graz, Austria) – Problem Solving Ethics – A critical rationalist approach towards practical philosophy (via video)
3:30 p.m. – William Berkson (Director, Jewish Institute for Youth and Family) – The God That Failed: The Collapse of Libertarian Economics
4 p.m. – Jack Birner (U. Trento, Italy) – How Karl Popper and Friedrich von Hayek Influenced Each Other’s Thought
4:30 p.m. – David Ramsay Steele (Publisher, Open Court) – Perspectives on Totalitarianism: Orwell, Popper, and Hayak
7:30–9 p.m. (Leedy Theater/Mund College Center)
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND THE VALUES OF AN OPEN SOCIETY
A lecture on The United States Constitution and the Values of an Open Society by Judge John E. Jones III of the United States Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Judge Jones presided over the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, after which he held that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum. In 2014, Judge Jones resolved the matter of Whitewood v. Wolf by striking down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.
September 18, 2014
8:30–11 a.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
SECOND SESSION OF CONTRIBUTED PAPERS: POPPER AND SOCIAL PRACTICE
8:30 a.m. – Brian Gladish (Independent, USA) – The Society Most Conducive to Problem-Solving: Karl Popper and Piecemeal Social Engineering
9 a.m. – Stephanie Chitpin (U. Ottawa, Canada) – Making “Just” Tenure and Promotion Decisions Using the Objective Knowledge Growth Framework
9:30 a.m. – Jon Guze (Independent, USA) – Towards a Logic of Practical Discovery
10 a.m. – Sebastian Botic (Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, Romania) – Spatial Planning in a Critical Rationalist World (via video) Part I
10:30 a.m. – Andrew Massey (Middlebury College) – Popper’s World 3 and Music (via video)
11 a.m.–12 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND THE EXPERIENCE OF GERMAN- SPEAKING JEWS
The session will feature recent research on the German-Jewish experience during WWI. Peter Appelbaum, M.D., Ph.D., has authored and co-authored more than 1,000 scientific articles and presentations to scientific audiences worldwide during his career as a clinical microbiologist and antibiotic researcher, particularly in the field of bacterial drug-resistance. His interests in German and other languages as well as modern Jewish history led to his discovery of the lives and experiences of the 100,000 Jewish soldiers in the First World War German army. This work has yielded two books: Loyalty Betrayed: Jewish Chaplains in the German Army During the First World War is available now and Loyal Sons: German Jews in the First World War is in preparation. Additionally, Dr. Appelbaum has unearthed poetry written by German Jewish soldiers, and translated many of those works, making them available in English for the very first time. These poems give a fascinating insight into the German and Jewish experience of the First World War.
12:30–3 p.m. (Phillips Room/Mund College Center)
THIRD SESSION OF CONTRIBUTED PAPERS: APPLICATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS OF CRITICAL RATIONALISM
12:30 p.m. – Halil Rahman Açar (U. Yildirim Beyazit-Ankara, Turkey) – Karl Popper as an Indeterminist
1 p.m. – John Sceski (Villanova University) – Popperians and the Rationality of Ethical Inquiry
1:30 p.m. – Michael Duggan (Georgetown & NYU DC Program) – Law as Justification
2 p.m. – Ray Percival (Independent, UK) – Doxastic Involuntarism Devastates Subjectivist Justification
The Popper Symposium and Judge Jones’ lecture were coordinated by Dr. Philip Benesch, Lebanon Valley College associate professor of politics.