E. H. GOMBRICH IN 1968: METHODOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISM AND THE CONTRADICTIONS OF CONSERVATISM
The commonalities Gombrich affirmed between his own positions on science, politics, and art and those of his friend Karl Popper are key to understanding both his work on the history of style and the conservative fulminations on method he published from the early 1950s onwards. United with Popper by their shared experience of exile from fascism, Gombrich failed to register the amateurish character of Popper's political theory and that his aversion to notions of social determination disabled the historian. Popper's skepticism regarding the ontological status of social collectivities and rejection of the concept of totality reinforced Gombrich's suspicions of holistic analysis and led him to fall back on naturalistic descriptions of individuals acting in a social world glued together by such commonsensical categories as 'traditions' and 'institutions'. In this regard he is representative of the common aversion to sociology of the British intellectual establishment in the early Cold War.
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