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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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An Epistemological Base for a Dynamic Conception of Civilizations and Intercultural Relations

An Epistemological Base for a Dynamic Conception of Civilizations and Intercultural Relations

Chapter:
(p.390) 14 An Epistemological Base for a Dynamic Conception of Civilizations and Intercultural Relations
Source:
Debates on Civilization in the Muslim World
Author(s):

Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466887.003.0015

There have been two major static conceptualizations of civilization and its relation to culture. One has been the attempt to reduce different sorts of civilization to a fundamental one. The other is that different civilizations are incommensurable with each other, each trapped in its particular universe without any common vocabulary. This chapter challenges both conceptualizations as flawed. While the first conception takes knowledge at the most abstract level without taking into account different cultural contexts, the second holds that knowledge or the basic ideas of different civilizations are encapsulated units without any relation to other civilizations whatsoever. Accordingly, it is argued in the chapter that both abstract as well as culturally contextual aspects of knowledge need to be taken into account in order to provide a sound account of knowledge, and that abstract ideas need not be restricted to some allegedly privileged civilizations and cultures.

Keywords:   civilization, culture, knowledge, civilizational conceptualizations

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