The Uniqueness of Western Civilization

The Uniqueness of Western Civilization

Hardback Studies in Critical Social Sciences (Brill Academic)

By (author) Ricardo Duchesne

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  • Publisher: Brill
  • Format: Hardback | 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 246mm x 36mm | 1,021g
  • Publication date: 7 February 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Leiden
  • ISBN 10: 9004192484
  • ISBN 13: 9789004192485
  • Sales rank: 1,096,210

Product description

This extensively researched book argues that the development of a libertarian culture was an indispensable component of the rise of the West. The roots of the West's superior intellectual and artistic creativity should be traced back to the aristocratic warlike culture of Indo-European speakers. Among the many fascinating topics discussed are: the ascendancy of multicultural historians and the degradation of European history; China's ecological endowments and imperial windfalls; military revolutions in Europe 1300-1800; the science and chivalry of Henry the Navigator; Judaism and its contribution to Western rationalism; the cultural richness of Max Weber versus the intellectual poverty of Pomeranz, Wong, Goldstone, Goody, and A.G. Frank; change without progress in the East; Hegel's Phenomenology of the [Western] Spirit; Nietzsche and the education of the Homeric Greeks; Kojeve's master-slave dialectic and the Western state of nature; Christian virtues and German aristocratic expansionism.

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Author information

Ricardo Duchesne, Ph.D (1994) in Social & Political Thought, York University, is Professor of Sociology at The University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada. He has published numerous articles on the rise of the West.

Review quote

The most significant and comprehensive contribution to a post-multicultural world history is to be found in the work of Ricardo Duchesne, particularly his new book The Uniqueness of Western Civilization (2011). Like its subject-matter, this book is unique, wide-ranging, and highly contentious. Martin Hewson, Cliodynamics, Vol. 3, No 2 (2012), pp. 306-324 The book raises many provocative questions, some of which might be answered through further research. Despite my stylistic critiques, the book shows a very wide range of scholarship and many deft syntheses. It is an impressive book. Thomas D. Hall,, International Journal of Comparative Sociology 2012 53: 143 The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is every inch the embodiment of the striving spirit the author finds so characteristic of the endeavors of Western man -- a hankering after high achievement and a wish to make one's mark through the overthrow of accepted opinion. But Duchesne is no polemicist. For all its argumentative power, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization is old-school scholarship at its best; consequential, closely reasoned, richly evidenced, and professionally courteous. Stephen H. Balch, president of the National Association of Scholars (http://www.nas.org/articles/nowhere_but_the_west; January 2012). This is a persuasive volume, utterly crushing in its marshalling of evidence, yet consistently fluent and remarkable in the author's willingness to trace every constituent argument to its source...Duchesne's book may persuade readers to ponder on the ineffable nature of the human soul. It will certainly become an indispensable reference on the great passages of history. Eric Jones, Policy, Vol. 27, No. 4 (2011-12), pp. 61-63 Going against mainstream humanities and social sciences scholarship...Duchesne takes the discussion of the European Miracle to a new historical and philosophical level by viewing such issues as Europe's modern economic advancement and its political decentralization as fractions of a bigger question: What are the general sources of the rise of European creativity? Andrei Znamenski, Professor at the University of Menphis World historians should read Duchesne's controversial book and join him in debate. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D.M. Fahey, Choice, November 2011

Table of contents

Preface 1. The Fall of Western Civilization and the Rise of Multicultural World History 2. Eurocentrism over Sinocentrism 3. Whence the Industrial Divergence? 4. The Continuous Creativity of Europe 5. The 'Rise' of Western Reason and Freedom 6. The Restlessness of the Western Spirit from a Hegelian Perspective 7. The Aristocratic Egalitarianism of Indo-Europeans and the Primordial Origins of Western Civilization 8. The Emergence of the Self from the Western 'State of Nature' and the Conciliation of Christianity and Aristocratic Liberty Cited Works Index Extensive table of contents can be downloaded under "Extra" on the right.