The Paradox of Karl Popper

John Horgan in Scientific American:

I began to discern the paradox lurking at the heart of Karl Popper’s career when, prior to interviewing him in 1992, I asked other philosophers about him. Queries of this kind usually elicit dull, generic praise, but not in Popper’s case. Everyone said this opponent of dogmatism was almost pathologically dogmatic. There was an old joke about Popper: The Open Society and its Enemies should have been titled The Open Society by One of its Enemies.

To arrange an interview, I telephoned the London School of Economics, where Popper had taught since the late 1940s. A secretary said he generally worked at his home in a London suburb. When I called, a woman with an imperious, German-accented voice answered. Mrs. Mew, housekeeper and assistant to “Sir Karl.” Before he would see me, I had to send her a sample of my writings. She gave me a list of a dozen or so books by Sir Karl that I should read before the meeting. After numerous faxes and calls, she set a date. When I asked for directions from a nearby train station, Mrs. Mew assured me that all the cab drivers knew where Sir Karl lived. “He’s quite famous.”

More here.