Karl Popper - Influence

Influence

Popper played a vital role in establishing the philosophy of science as a vigorous, autonomous discipline within analytic philosophy, through his own prolific and influential works, and also through his influence on his own contemporaries and students. Popper founded in 1946 the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and there lectured and influenced both Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend, two of the foremost philosophers of science in the next generation of philosophy of science. (Lakatos significantly modified Popper's position, and Feyerabend repudiated it entirely, but the work of both is deeply influenced by Popper and engaged with many of the problems that Popper set.)

While there is some dispute as to the matter of influence, Popper had a long-standing and close friendship with economist Friedrich Hayek, who was also brought to the London School of Economics from Vienna. Each found support and similarities in each other's work, citing each other often, though not without qualification. In a letter to Hayek in 1944, Popper stated, "I think I have learnt more from you than from any other living thinker, except perhaps Alfred Tarski." Popper dedicated his Conjectures and Refutations to Hayek. For his part, Hayek dedicated a collection of papers, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, to Popper, and in 1982 said, "...ever since his Logik der Forschung first came out in 1934, I have been a complete adherent to his general theory of methodology."

Popper also had long and mutually influential friendships with art historian Ernst Gombrich, biologist Peter Medawar, and neuro-scientist John Carew Eccles.

Popper's influence, both through his work in philosophy of science and through his political philosophy, has also extended beyond the academy. One of Popper's students at the London School of Economics was the billionaire investor George Soros, among whose philanthropic foundations is the Open Society Institute, a think-tank named in honor of Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies.

Popperian philosophy also inspired the creation of Taking Children Seriously, a libertarian movement which noticed that Popper's general theory of knowledge creation does not differentiate between adults and children.

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