e-book Language and State: An Inquiry into the Progress of Civilization
It describes a state of human society marked by significant urbanization, social and professional stratification, the luxury of leisure time, and corresponding advancements in the arts and sciences. The capacity for reasonably complex sociopolitical organization and self-government according to prevailing standards has long been thought of as a central requirement of civilization. There is widespread greement in the Western world that civilization is a good thing, or at least that it is better than the alternatives: barbarism, savagery, or a state of nature of some sort.
In theory, as time passes and the further we get away from the Big Bang and the primordial soup, the more we progress both as a species and as individual human beings; the more we progress, the more civilized we become individually and collectively; the more civilized we become, the further we are removed from the vestiges of savagery and barbarism. In fact, for many in the West civilization, progress, and modernity are by definition good things e. Samuel Huntington has summarized the state of debate rather succinctly: to be civilized is good, and to be uncivilized is bad , As with so many debates, however, rarely are things so clearly black or white; there are usually many more shades of gray.
To enable a better understanding of the various perspectives on civilization, this article begins by outlining what civilization means, particularly in the history of Western political thought for other traditions of thought see, for example, Weismann It then examines the significance and nature of the rather symbiotic relationship between civilization and concepts such as progress and modernity. The article then explores some of the potential consequences that go along with or are outcomes of the pursuit of these ideals, the less commonly acknowledged darker side of civilization.
Included here are other important dimensions of the relationship between civilization and progress, such as the relationship between civilization and war and the exploitative nature of the relationship between civilization and the environment or the natural world more generally. The conclusion proposes a slightly different way of thinking about civilization that might help us avoid some of the pitfalls that lead away from the light and into darkness.
Upon the appearance of the verb civilizer sometime in the sixteenth century, which provided the basis for the noun, the coining of civilization was only a matter of time, because it was a neologism whose time had come. The first known recorded use of civilization in French gave it a meaning quite different than what is generally associated with it today. An act of justice or judgement that renders a criminal trial civil.
Just when the written word civilization first appeared in its more modern sense is open to conjecture. It is evident that from early on civilization was used to represent both an ongoing process and a state of development that is an advance on savagery. An initial concern with the concept of civilization gave way to detailed studies of civilizations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in large part instigated by the foundation and development of the fields of anthropology and ethnography e.
Collingwood has outlined three aspects of civilization: economic, social, and legal. In essence, Collingwood is arguing that civilized society—and thus civilization itself—is guided by and operates according to the principles of the rule of law. When we combine these three elements of civilization, what they amount to is what I would call sociopolitical civilization, or the capacity of a collective to organize and govern itself under some system of laws or constitution.
- The Fall of Arthur.
- Nisbet, “The Idea of Progress” (Bibliographical Essay).
- Un día más (Spanish Edition).
The kinds of relations that both Bozeman and Puchala are referring to are relations between civilizations see also Hall and Jackson ; Katzenstein ; Bowden This proselytizing crusade in the name of civilization is worth considering further. It is the criterion against which barbarity, or non-civilization, is judged and condemned. And this, many have argued, is one of the less desirable aspects and outcomes of the idea of civilization Anghie ; Bowden Having achieved self-consciousness, civilization immediately discovers civilizations.
The issue is not only the denial of the value and achievements of other civilizations, but the implication that they are in nearly irreversible decline. Guha The British took it upon themselves to compile such uneven accounts as that which was prepared by James Mill and published as The History of British India in One of the primary justifications underpinning such thinking relates to the widely held view that a capacity for reasonably complex sociopolitical organization and self-government according to prevailing standards is a central requirement of civilization.
The presence, or otherwise, of the institutions of society that facilitate governance in accordance with established traditions—originally European but now more broadly Western—has long been regarded as the hallmark of the makings of, or potential for, civilization. An exemplar of the importance of society to the qualification of civilization is J.
In savage life there is no commerce, no manufactures, no agriculture, or next to none; a country in the fruits of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, we call civilized. Wherever, therefore, we find human beings acting together for common purposes in large bodies, and enjoying the pleasures of social intercourse, we term them civilized. The concept entered international legal texts and practice in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under the influence of anthropologists and ethnologists, who drew distinctions among civilized, barbarian, and savage peoples based on their respective capacities for social cooperation and organization.
A civilized state required 1 basic institutions of government and public bureaucracy; 2 the organizational capacity for self-defense; 3 a published legal code and adherence to the rule of law; 4 the capacity to honor contracts in commerce and capital exchange; and 5 recognition of international law and norms, including the laws of war Gong ; Bowden , If a nation could meet these requirements, it was generally deemed to be a legitimate sovereign state, entitled to full recognition as an international personality. The inability of many non-European societies to meet these European criteria, and the concomitant legal distinction that separated them from civilized societies, led to the unequal treaty system of capitulations.
The right of extraterritoriality, as it was also known, regulated relations between sovereign civilized states and quasi-sovereign uncivilized states in regard to their respective rights over, and obligations to, the citizens of civilized states living and operating in countries where capitulations were in force. Following the end of the First World War, this legal rationale contributed to the establishment of the League of Nations mandate system. Despite criticism of them, standards of civilization remain influential tools in the practice of international affairs.
Some prominent recent discussions of standards of civilization in IR and international law have focussed on proposals for appropriate standards for the late twentieth or early twenty-first centuries, ranging from human rights, democracy, economic liberalism, and globalization to modernity more generally see Donnelly ; Franck ; Fidler ; Mozaffari ; Gong Other studies have highlighted the dark side of standards of civilization and their role in European expansion, such as mimicking in the case of Japan Suzuki , or the effects of stigmatism on foreign policy making in the case of defeated powers such as Turkey, Japan, and Russia Zarakol As these studies demonstrate, a number of ongoing legacies continue to have an impact on the conduct of international affairs.
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
One of the important lessons generally drawn from this passage is that life lived outside of society in a state of nature is constantly under threat; there is little to no chance of peace among humans without society. A related point is that some degree of sociopolitical cooperation and organization is a basic necessity for the foundation of civilization. Social and political progress is said to come prior to virtually every other form of progress; moreover, progress within the other subelements of civilization is thought to be contingent upon it. The two words were destined to maintain a most intimate relationship.
Indeed, in recent centuries it has proved irresistible to a diverse range of thinkers from across the political spectrum. The idea of progress, of development, appears to me the fundamental idea contained in the word, civilization. Wherever mankind beholds these great signs, these signs glorified by human nature, wherever it sees created these treasures of sublime enjoyment, it there recognizes and names civilization.
One of the things that we have increasingly been confronted with and have fought to both survive and eradicate in centuries past is the scourge of war between communities, including civilized communities. In some ways this might seem a bit at odds with the ideas of civilization, progress, and human perfectibility, but just as there is a close relationship between civilization and progress, so too there is a close relationship between civilization and war, and between war and progress.
Instinct would suggest that the more civilized we have become over time, or the further we have progressed from a brutish state of nature, the more likely it is that the violent and bloody realities of armed conflict will become ever more abhorrent and objectionable and to be avoided at almost any cost.
Language and State: An Inquiry into the Progress of Civilization
Indeed, this is one of the key lessons we take from Hobbes , —; see also Lorenz ; Keeley about the uncertainties and brevity of life in a state of nature, in which every man is an enemy to every man, and while not necessarily constantly at war with all others, is at least prepared for it. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on the other hand, claimed that the state of nature was the playground of the noble savage, who by and large lived in a state of harmony with his fellow beings and the natural world more generally.
It was only with the coming of civilization that the Garden of Eden was disturbed by war and the other ills associated with civilized modernity. This conclusion fits nicely with assumptions about the spread of civilization underpinning an ever more orderly and peaceful, civilized international society in which resorting to armed conflict is becoming increasingly rare. But is the association between civilization and war really a straightforward, inverse linear relationship, or is there more to it than that?
FRANK W. BLACKMAR
Robert R. It cultivated the virtues of courage, loyalty, and obedience; it created solid groups and a method for enlarging the area of these groups, all of which were indispensable to the creation of the civilizations which followed.
Civilization was both an effect and a cause of warlikeness. The irrationality remains, though we have learnt insanire certa ratione modoque , to have a method in our madness. Anthropomorphic climate change, its associated consequences, and the delicate state of the natural world more generally are at the forefront of the new and emerging threats to civilization Fagan , As outlined above in relation to progress, a significant aspect of civilization revolves around evolving or developing, whether from a state of nature, savagery, or barbarism, toward urbanized, scientific, technological civilization.
In some ways, the relationship between civilization and nature is not so different from the dialectical relationship between civilization and war: the higher the level of civilization, the greater the exploitation of nature; the greater the exploitation of nature, the more civilization progresses. But as with civilization and war, this relationship cannot go on forever: natural resource extraction and exploitation is not a bottomless pit, but rather is finite and can only support so many people for so long.
- Exchange Discount Summary!
- How to be Good: The Science of Doing Well.
- Language and State: A Theory of the Progress of Civilization - Xing Yu - Google книги.
- Freedom Personalized Weight Management.
And of course as our planet is telling us, there are severe consequences associated with the processes of civilization, modernization, urbanization, and all that goes with them. The cycle of extracting more stuff from the ground, processing more stuff, building more stuff, producing more stuff, owning more stuff, throwing away more stuff, and buying more new stuff to replace it is proving unsustainable on such a large scale.
The consequences of such excess, in the forms of environmental degradation and climate change, are many and varied; they include melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels, variations in air and sea temperatures, extended periods of drought in some parts of the world while others experience increased rainfall and flooding, and increasing frequency of extreme weather phenomena, to name just a few.
These environmental changes in turn impact our capacity to continue to inhabit certain parts of Earth and our abilityto continue to utilize and exploit resources as we have done for centuries. A knock-on effect is that these diverse changes and threats are often interrelated; one realm of security or insecurity can have a direct and dramatic impact on another, generating a kind of vicious cycle of insecurity. For instance, scarcity of and competition for essential resources such as land, food, water, and energy are potential catalysts for violent conflict Dyer ; Mazo ; Homer-Dixon ; Pumphrey And these are not just imaginary scenarios; the period — witnessed violent food riots in as many as thirty countries around the globe, some of them developed Western nations.
If the dire predictions are correct, then this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Today the world average life expectancy is somewhere in the mid- to late sixties, and life expectancy is considerably higher in many parts of the world. In respect to the global economy, it has been calculated that in the past millennium, during which the global population increased some twenty-two-fold, global per capita income rose by approximately thirteen times, while global GDP expanded by a factor of almost The vast majority of this growth can be attributed to advances made as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution; since the global population has grown by a factor of five, while per capita income has increased approximately eight-fold.
It might seem then that civilization is chugging along quite nicely, just as so many have imagined it; we live longer than our predecessors, we are better educated than ever before, and we have access to far more stuff than most of us will ever need. But at what cost have this civilization and progress come to us and our planet? It is difficult to believe that the human condition is really that perilous, that the thin ice of civilization is melting away so quickly and so dramatically that its future is at risk.
Are we really lurching toward some sort of post-apocalyptic world like that depicted in Mad Max or The Road? While climate change skeptics might beg to differ, at the very least, all is not well in the world of civilization. I suggest that a good part of the problem may well be the very way in which we conceive of civilization and progress, which for so long now has been predominantly all about the social, political, and material dimensions of civilization at the expense of its ethical and other-regarding dimensions.
The question of moral progress appears to be at the heart of the major challenges to civilization outlined above.
In respect to both the relationship between civilization and war and that between civilization and the environment, we can see two potentially self-destructive processes in which civilization brings about its own demise as it cannibalizes itself in a kind of suicidal life cycle. The relationship between civilization and war is seemingly one in which war making gives rise to civilization, the organizational and technological advances of which in turn promote yet more bloody and efficient war making, which in turn eventually brings about the demise of civilization either through overstretch or internal collapse.
Similarly, up to this point in human history, the march of civilization has largely been at the expense of the environment and the natural world more generally. And now, in turn, the environment is threatening the future of civilization through the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Xing Yu, Language and State: An Inquiry Into the Progress of Civilization - PhilPapers
In both cases this represents a sort of vicious circle in which civilization is ultimately its own worst enemy. On top of this are the less than savory things done in the name of civilization; for centuries civilization has proven to be hell bent on expunging that which is not civilized, or that which is deemed a threat to civilization. The consequences range from European conquest and colonization to the global war on terror.
The Nobel Peace Laureate of , Albert Schweitzer , offers a different take on civilization that owes more to moral and ethical considerations than to sociopolitical and material concerns. Alexander, J. The Dark Side of Modernity. Find this resource:. Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law.
Bagby, P. Berkeley: University of California Press.