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    Laur9247's Avatar
    Laur9247 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 10, 2006, 07:55 AM
    Western Civilization Question
    What are the most important defining features of western civilization? How does the west impact the rest of the world?

    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
    Uber Member

    May 10, 2006, 08:32 AM
    I'd say Democracy and Capitalism are the most significant "features of western civilization".

    That's as far as I can take it as volumes and volumes have been written on how western civilizations impact the world...
    Bobbo_the_Beggar's Avatar
    Bobbo_the_Beggar Posts: 9, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Aug 29, 2006, 05:03 PM
    Western civilization is defined by analysis, I think. Western civilization, since early Greek times, has been all about seeing the truth, explaining the logic behind beliefs that people hold. Western thought has always been about proving that something is true; in fact it is often thought in Western cultures that having a good argument for a belief is more important than if the belief is true or not.

    As RickJ stated, democracy and capitalism are also defining features of Western civilization; but I would argue that these two ideas are in fact based on analysis. They are the outward signs of the mental "analytical habit of mind" as David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen refer to it as in Writing Analytically. I have come to this conclusion by considering that democracy is based upon votes, which are cast based on the conclusions that the "analytical habit of mind" in Western thinkers have come to. Capitalism depends on independent business owners, which relies on the analysis of the private owners rather than the government's control. In fact the very idea of Westernism is analysis, which leads to freedom because people come to their own conclusions.

    Unfortunately the West has a way of enforcing its ideas upon others, notably the East. The recent invasion of Iraq has proven that Western thinkers do not approve of anyone thinking in a manner inconsistent with their own. The East has always been about authority, while the West has been about freedom and analysis. This is why there is such a conflict today.

    I hope my ideas have been helpful for you. A good source to find Western ideas is the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and many other ancient philosophers. It is true that their ideas formed the West that we now have in the modern world.
    Credo's Avatar
    Credo Posts: 23, Reputation: 6
    New Member

    Sep 8, 2006, 02:41 PM
    Actually, Bobbo and Rick are both right. Democracy is one of the defining facets of the West, being rooted in the Greek City States of the 500's and 400's B.C.E. And what Bobbo would call "analytical thinking" is what has been called philosophy. So, democracy (the art of living out the polis life--making decisions, voting on what you want and how you want to be governed, and attempting to make the government you are ruled by and the life you and your fellow citizens live better) and philosophy (the art of discovering the truth, dissecting things and classifying them, categorizing them, and truly seeing them, and constructing a way of life and living, positions on moral and political issues, and defending them with sound arguments and rhetoric) are the most defining features in western civilization.
    Bobbo_the_Beggar's Avatar
    Bobbo_the_Beggar Posts: 9, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Sep 9, 2006, 07:15 PM
    I agree with you, Credo. Thank you.
    Credo's Avatar
    Credo Posts: 23, Reputation: 6
    New Member

    Sep 9, 2006, 08:17 PM
    Well, thank you too, Bobbo:)

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