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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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Popper and Liberalism

Popper and Liberalism

(p.413) 21 Popper and Liberalism
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Karl Popper's commitment to political liberalism and its connection to his account on the rationality of science. It begins with the observation that liberalism must place a high value on liberty and equality, noting Popper's claim that although equality might be a good thing, it was excessively costly in terms of liberty. The sort of equality Popper has in mind is something like equality of wealth or income. The chapter also explains what kind of liberalism is espoused by Popper and considers his defensive view of democracy and constitution building, as well as his negative utilitarianism. It concludes with the argument that Popper's account of scientific rationality is political and that what sustains his commitment to some awkward epistemological views is his liberalism. That is, it is not so much that Popper's philosophy of science supports his liberalism as that it expresses it.

Keywords:   political liberalism, Karl Popper, rationality of science, liberty, equality, democracy, constitution building, negative utilitarianism

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