Karl Popper

Sir Karl Raimund Popper, (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. He is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century; he also wrote extensively on social and political philosophy. He was born in Vienna (then in Austria-Hungary), to upper middle-class parents of assimilated Jewish origins, both of whom had converted to  Christianity. Karl’s father Simon Siegmund Carl Popper was a lawyer from Bohemia, and mother Jenny Schiff was of Silesian and Hungarian descent. After establishing themselves in Vienna, the Poppers made a rapid social climb in Viennese society: Simon Siegmund Carl became a legal partner of Vienna’s liberal mayor Raimond Grübl and, after his death in 1898, took over the firm (Karl received his middle name from the mayor).

Popper received a Lutheran upbringing and was educated at the University of Vienna. His father was a doctor of law at the Vienna University and a bibliophile who had 12,000–14,000 volumes in his personal library. Popper inherited from him both the library and the disposition.

In 1919, Popper became attracted by Marxism and subsequently joined the Association of Socialist School Students. He also became a member of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria, which was at that time a party that fully adopted the Marxist ideology. He soon became disillusioned by what he saw to be the philosophical restraints imposed by the historical materialism of Marx, abandoned the ideology and remained a supporter of social liberalism throughout his life.

In 1928, he earned a doctorate in Philosophy and then, from 1930 to 1936, taught secondary school. Popper published his first book, Logik der Forschung (The Logic of Scientific Discovery), in 1934. Here, he criticised psychologism, naturalism, inductionism, and logical positivism, and put forth his theory of potential falsifiability as the criterion demarcating science from non-science.

In 1937, the rise of Nazism and the threat of the Anschluss led Popper to emigrate to New Zealand, where he became lecturer in philosophy at Canterbury University College New Zealand (at Christchurch). In 1946, he moved to England to become reader in logic and scientific method at the London School of Economics. Three years later, he was appointed as professor of logic and scientific method at the University of London in 1949. Popper was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1958 to 1959. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1976. He retired from academic life in 1969, though he remained intellectually active for the rest of his life. He was invested with the Insignia of a Companion of Honour in 1982. Popper was a member of the Academy of Humanism and described himself as an agnostic, showing respect for the moral teachings of Judaism and Christianity.

Popper won many awards and honours in his field, including the Lippincott Award of the American Political Science Association, the Sonning Prize, and fellowships in the Royal Society, British Academy, London School of Economics, King’s College London, Darwin College Cambridge, and Charles University, Prague. Austria awarded him the Grand Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in Gold.

Popper died in Croydon, UK at the age of 92 on 17 September 1994. After cremation, his ashes were taken to Vienna and buried at Lainzer cemetery adjacent to the ORF Centre, where his wife Josefine Anna Henninger, who had died in Austria several years before, had already been buried.

Via Wikipedia

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