Karl Popper on the general and the particular

And the irrationalist not ony tries to rationalize what cannot be rationalized, but he also gets hold of the wrong end of the stick altogether. For it is the particular, the unique and the concrete individual, which cannot be approached by rational methods, and not the abstract universal. Science can describe general types of landscape, for example, or of man, but it can never exhaust one single individual landscape, or one single individual man. The universal, the typical, is not only the domain of reason, but it is also largely the product of reason, in so far it is the product of scientific abstraction. But the unique individual and his unique actions and experiences and relations to other individuals can never be fully rationalized. And it appears to be just this irrational realm of unique individuality which makes human relations important. (p. 449)

Popper, K. (2013). The open society and its enemies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original published 1945 in two volumes)


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