glyph 600: teaching, education ... Popper's London School of Economics (LSE) seminars 1960s & 70s ... Greek presocratic philosophers, cosmologists ... Heraclitus, Parmenides, Xenophanes


Karl Popper's Seminar, London School of Economics, 1968

described by Arne F. Petersen

Arne F.. Petersen began attending Karl Popper's seminar in 1968, eventually becoming his research assistant, and then editor of Popper's The World of Parmenides: Essays on the Presocratic Enlightenment. Petersen, in his Editor's Preface, recalls the seminar:

... studying in Oxford in 1968, I started to go to London once a week to attend Popper's lectures and seminars at the LSE. To me it was like jumping on to an express train in motion. At that time there prevailed in these seminars a captive atmosphere of real learning, a quest for knowledge and a kind of teaching that reflected many great moments in the history of science and philosophy. Outstanding scientists and philosophers from all over the world took part in Popper's seminars, where everybody seemed at home as members of a large family who could criticize each others' views without being on bad terms. And his lectures on logic and scientific method, which students of many nationalities attended, were the scene of a continuing educational process stirred by a creative and critical mind of unusual richness and rigour. Through a lecture Popper could create a thrill of suspense and revelation in his audience as he unravelled the circumstances of a discovery or recounted the solution to a philosophical or scientific problem. He made philosophy of science a living enterprise showing how ideas of the past could reason with ideas of the present.

He concludes his preface with these words:

Through his example and work Karl opened new roads to knowledge and cleared old ones, and in trying to follow the Parmenides way of inquiry, I, for one, have often been rewarded with the striking impression that, in spite of what mankind has done to it, the world may be still as new and fresh as it was at the dawn of our civilization.
June 2, 2018; edited/updated June 4, 2018

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