It is often argued that open society is a (so-called) ‘Western concept’. This criticism is pervasive in academic circles, but it is also deployed to delegitimize philanthropic efforts and practical action. This criticism should be taken very seriously. It is true, after all, that the concept of open society was developed in ‘the West’, and that the imposition of abstract ideas on societies with different traditions and value systems can be highly dangerous. However the Open Society Research Platform’s research has demonstrated that the concept of open society has been influential in South Africa and other African countries, that Russian scholars are using the concept, that Karl Popper’s work has inspired Iranian intellectuals and society, and that there is a thriving literature on open society in Latin America.
In this workshop, we want to pay even closer attention to the reception, potential, and limitations of the idea of open society in Latin America. This event, which is co-organized by the Universidad de los Andes and the Open Society Research Platform, seeks to bring together scholars, activists, and other experts to discuss philosophical, theoretical, and practical questions that include (but are not limited to) the following:
- What is the reception of the idea of open society in Latin America? What accounts for the interest in Karl Popper’s thought in the region?
- What are the philosophical traditions in Latin America that might help us to substantiate the concept of open society?
- How can the idea of open society help to address pressing moral, social, and political problems of the region? And what are the limitations of the concept in the Latin American context?
- How is the idea of open society implemented by various actors (e.g., OSF, NGOs, etc) in practice? And what are some of the specific challenges that these actors are facing?