Saturday, March 06, 2010

The end of the Western World

Wonderful, thought-provoking talk at George Mason University by Stephen Davies on the death of Western Civilization. While listening to it, I had to take breaks almost every 15 minutes to think things through.

By the "death of western civilization", he means something very different from what Spengler and others like him have in mind. He believes that there was a meaningful sense in which there used to be a civilization we could call "Western", which was a bridge between one civilization you could call "Christendom", and another we can call "Modern" (a curiously archaic term).
Whether you agree with his thesis depends to some extent on whether you agree with his definition of "civilization": a collection of people who share a certain collection of concepts and possess a shared understanding of a set of symbols. Whether you agree with all that he says, he is well worth listening to.

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