Authors: Oseni Taiwo Afisi
In discussing the concept of individual freedom in Popper, I argue that there is room for the “social” in Popper’s liberal politics beyond the pervasive individualism. The moral core of his critical rationalism encourages the process of openness to criticism which entails both individual and social aspects. Although, Popper is critical of holists or collectivists doctrines which often accompany the idea of community, he does not discredit the values of social relation that foster community togetherness. The basis of this presupposition is that Popper’s individualism is a commitment which begins an analysis from the position of the individual rather than the community. Such a commitment does not in any way entail a disregard to community values of social relation or any selfless voluntary action that would benefit the community. In arguing for a balance of relations, within the context of Popper’s idea of freedom, between liberal politics and the community values in politics, I defend a thesis on social freedom. This position on social freedom is aimed at providing an alternative thesis for grounding the social character of freedom in Popper’s political philosophy. This delineates a conception of freedom that applies both individual and social aspects of Popper’s critical rationalism. The objective is to enhance Popper’s project of an open society and establish that his conception of freedom does not inhibit its application within the context of community. This is to the effect that social freedom does not undermine both the capacity of individuals to self-determination and the progress of the community that enhances human relationships.
Keywords: Popper, liberalism, freedom, individualism, social.