The success of the malign masters can be explained sociologically, but only in general terms, for that kind of explanation does not really account for the specific career path that each followed and how out of this arose the groupings of supporters who would eventually constitute his following. The human factors that play such a large part in winning over people to a cause, especially in its early stages, are also operative in philosophy. Sometimes one single friendship might be of crucial importance in establishing a reputation and gaining supporters. On its own a single relationship cannot create a philosophical movement, but in the right social setting one influential friendship can multiply itself many times over, whereas under unfavourable conditions it remains isolated and withers in the bud. The interweaving between the personal and the social is of great complexity and can only be analysed by unravelling and untangling the numerous separate threads which make up the web of the cultural fabric. I shall concentrate in the first place on personal relations, following these like a kind of red thread throughout all the varied career patterns of the malign masters. After that I shall consider more general social factors.


Vienna Circle Frankfurt School Class Consciousness Influential Friendship Independent Thinker 
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© Harry Redner 1997

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  • Harry Redner

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