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Open society

From Academic Kids

An open society is a concept originally developed by philosopher Henri Bergson. In such a society, the government is constantly evolving and its politics are open for criticism and change. It keeps no secrets from itself in the public sense; it is a non-authoritarian society in which all are trusted with the knowledge of all. Freedom of movement and human rights lay the foundation of an open society.

In Karl Popper's definition, found in his two-volume book The Open Society and Its Enemies, he defines an "open society" as one which ensures that political leaders can be overthrown without the need for bloodshed, as opposed to a "closed society", in which a bloody revolution or coup d'état is needed to change the leaders. Democracies are examples of the "open society", whereas totalitarian dictatorships and autocratic monarchies are examples of the "closed society".

The Popperian concept of the open society stems from his philosophy of science. Since no one has the perfect knowledge on the perfect government, the next best thing is a government that is ready to change the politics it runs. An open society also has to be pluralistic and multicultural, in order to benefit from the maximum number of viewpoints possible to the given problems.

Open society advocates most often see the civil society as the engine of the evolution of the open society.

See also

de:Offene Gesellschaft pl:Społeczeństwo otwarte fi:Avoin yhteiskunta

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