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Debates on Civilization in the Muslim WorldCritical Perspectives on Islam and Modernity$
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Lutfi Sunar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199466887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466887.001.0001

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Rethinking Civilization and Its Others

Rethinking Civilization and Its Others

Historical Stages and Social Taxonomies

(p.46) 2 Rethinking Civilization and Its Others
Debates on Civilization in the Muslim World

Lutfi Sunar

Oxford University Press

The conception of civilization emerged in Enlightenment Europe and has been widely used as a distinctive component of modern society. It took its shape as a consequence of conjectural history that was intentionally or unintentionally devised by Scottish Enlightenment thinkers to construct a more secular society. Progressive historical perception depends precisely on the hypothesis that history goes forward in accordance with the experiences of humanity. Hence, progressive European thinkers envisage civilization as an ultimate point in the historical process, and this becomes the fertile new crop for their theoretical and conjectural historical model. They have also constantly fortified the limits of civilization by defining the outsiders and distinguishing the insiders. This article will deal the problem of the definition of Western civilization through the notion of the ‘other’ with reference to ideas of the founding thinkers of Enlightenment Europe.

Keywords:   ‘other’, Scottish Enlightenment, progressive history, Hume, Montesquieu, Smith

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