Well, I see that I've been a very bad boy. I haven't posted to this blog in a week, but then perhaps we've all been busy enough with the papers. I hope so.
Anyway, I want to give some thoughts about reading Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies. As I've mentioned before, this is not such an easy book to read, and you'll have to be very mindful as you start to dig into it.
Remember in class we discussed the communications triangle, like this:
The triangle says that if you want to understand any given text, then you must understand its context, or its frame. If you don't know the context, then you cannot reliably understand the text. Thus, to understand the book Don't Think of an Elephant!, you must know something about George Lakoff, you must know his reader, and you must know what his general topic is. You must determine what role Lakoff is assuming and what role he expects of his readers, and most importantly, you must know what response he expects from his readers. And usually, you must know all of this very soon in the book, or else you are likely to misinterpret what the book is trying to say to you. The more you know about Lakoff, the more you know about his readers, and the more you know about his topic, then the more you will understand of his book.
This is the case with Popper's The Open Society. Very early in this book, you should try to figure out the author. Lakoff is a linguist and cognitive scientist and a political progressive who has studied cognitive frames and can speak with authority about them, but who is Popper? What's his background? Is he qualified to write this stuff? What was his time period? What were his concerns? What was going on that led him to write?
Then you should try to figure out the readers. Lakoff is writing to American progressives who are tired of being defeated by American conservatives, but who is Popper's audience? Why would they be interested in Popper and what he has to say? Are they willing to listen to him? Do they trust him? have faith in him? believe him?
Then you should try to figure out what problem Popper is dealing with. Lakoff started his study trying to figure out the frames that conservatives and progressives use to form their political opinions. What problem led Popper to write his book? What is Popper trying to figure out? What is it that Popper thinks he knows that his readers should also know?
Finally, you should try to figure out what response Popper is looking for. Lakoff wants progressives to learn their frames and to use their frames to promote progressive policies. What does Popper want his readers to do, to say, to think, to believe, to feel, or to imagine after they read his book? If you don't know what Popper is after, then you can't tell if he got there.
Think on these things. I'll be interested to see the ideas you start forming. Be sure to point to specific quotes from the book that support your opinions.