George Soros presents the fundamentals of his guiding philosophy, beginning with historical understandings of objective reality, scientific inquiry, and the limits of human perception.

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George Soros: General Theory of Reflexivity

George Soros: General Theory of Reflexivity – Transcript

The following is a transcript of a lecture given by George Soros at Central European University on October 26, 2009.

In the course of my life, I have developed a conceptual framework which has helped me both to make money as a hedge fund manager and to spend money as a policy oriented philanthropist. But the framework itself is not about money, it is about the relationship between thinking and reality, a subject that has been extensively studied by philosophers from early on.

I started developing my philosophy as a student at the London School of Economics in the late 1950s. I took my final exams one year early and I had a year to fill before I was qualified to receive my degree. I could choose my tutor and I chose Karl Popper, the Viennese-born philosopher whose book The Open Society and Its Enemies had made a profound impression on me.

In his books Popper argued that the empirical truth cannot be known with absolute certainty.

Even scientific laws can’t be verified beyond a shadow of a doubt: they can only be falsified by testing. One failed test is enough to falsify, but no amount of conforming instances is sufficient to verify. Scientific laws are hypothetical in character and their truth remains subject to testing. Ideologies which claim to be in possession of the ultimate truth are making a false claim; therefore, they can be imposed on society only by force. This applies to Communism, Fascism and National Socialism alike. All these ideologies lead to repression. Popper proposed a more attractive form of social organization: an open society in which people are free to hold divergent opinions and the rule of law allows people with different views and interests to live together in peace. Having lived through both Nazi and Communist occupation here in Hungary I found the idea of an open society immensely attractive.

See full Transcript here.

Via opensocietyfoundations.org