Open Society Unresolved

The Contemporary Relevance of a Contested Idea
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Publication date: 
March, 228 pages
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Is the concept of open society still relevant in the 21st century? Do the current social, moral, and political realities call for a drastic revision of this concept? Here fifteen essays address real-world contemporary challenges to open society from a variety of perspectives. What unites the individual authors and chapters is an interest in open society’s continuing usefulness and relevance to address current problems. And what distinguishes them is a rich variety of geographical and cultural backgrounds, and a wide range of academic disciplines and traditions.

While focusing on probing the contemporary relevance of the concept, several chapters approach it historically. The book features a comprehensive introduction to the history and current ‘uses’ of the theory of open society. The authors link the concept to contemporary themes including education, Artificial Intelligence, cognitive science, African cosmology, colonialism, and feminism. The diversity of viewpoints in the analysis reflects a commitment to plurality that is at the heart of this book and of the idea of open society itself.

Introduction: Open Society Unresolved: Charting the Contested Terrain
Christof Royer

PART I. Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives on Open Society 

Human Nature and the Open Society 
Thom Scott-Phillips

In Praise of Coldness: The Open Neighborhood and Its Enemies 
Rachid Boutayeb

Against Identity: Individuality as the Foundation of Open Society 
Gregory Lobo

Empirical Embodiment of Critical Rationalism: Deliberative Theory and Open Society 
Gazela Pudar Draško and Predrag Krstić

Open Society as an Achievement: Popper, Gaus, and the Liberal Tradition 
Piers Norris Turner

Nozick’s Meta-Utopia as an Open Society 
Avery Fox White

Hannah Arendt and Literary Pedagogy
Andrea Timár

Can Bergson’s Definition of Open Society Be Useful Today? 
Jean-Louis Fabiani

PART II. National and Regional Perspectives on Open Society 

The Gender of Illiberalism: New Transnational Alliances against Open Societies in Central and Eastern Europe 
Katalin Fábián

Open Society Contested: Liberal Universalism versus Autocratic Functionalism in Hong Kong 
Kenneth Ka-Lok Chan

“Sorosoids”: Uses of Labeling in Bulgaria 
Lubomir Terziev

An African Background to the Concept of Open Society: Ikenga and Ofo Cultic Figures as Structural Representations of the Enterprising Spirit of the Igbo of Nigeria 
Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe

Imagining the Future of Intelligence in Open Societies: Venturing beyond Secrecy and Scientific Prophecy as Totalitarian Modes of Modernity 
Anna Eva Grutza

Open Society in Crisis: Making Sense of Public Health and Expert Advice during Covid-19 
Tarun Weeramanthri

List of Contributors 

"Not much in Open Society Unresolved is surprising, but that is a good thing—let me repeat: that is a good thing. If looked at the concept of open society from within the broader intellectual open society context, there’s nothing new or radical or startling for us to uncover. The distinctive contribution of Royer and Matei’s book is to have reiterated in diverse ways the challenge where to draw a clear boundary line between open society’s friends and foes."
“As new challenges continue to emerge and threaten open societies around the world, there is a renewed urgency in understanding the nature of the open society in all its complexity and diversity. This collection of essays does just that, exploring different historical, analytical, and political elements that make up open societies while noting that the very idea of the open society is itself contested. This is as it should be. Open societies prize the contestation of ideas and this volume exemplifies that ideal while examining it. Understanding the foundations and challenges of an open, free, and dynamic society is one of the most urgent and crucial intellectual tasks of our time and I can’t think of a better place to start wrestling with those issues than this excellent volume.”
“Open Society Unresolved contributes some new perspectives to the existing literatures on the concept of Open Society. The volume demonstrates how the significant enrichment of the Open Society is possible with an emphasis on the pluralism of ideas and the embrace of non-western political ideologies, other than liberal politics alone. This enhances both the theory and practice of Karl Popper’s own stress on openness. The book advances constructive debates on new ways of thinking about the open society, and the plurality of ways that will help to promote openness in society. It is a must-read for scholars interested in liberal politics, international politics and justice, moral philosophy and law.”