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The ‘Rise’ Of Western Reason And Freedom

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Chapter Summary

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The rise of the West is the Queen subject of world history. The author's investigation in this chapter is closely structured around some key texts, starting in the main with Andre Gunder Frank's Re-Orient: Global Economy in the Asian Age. This book was the first effort to replace the Eurocentric model with an entirely new vision in which Asia would come to play center stage in world history until the nineteenth century. The chapter also evaluates Bin Wong's important work, China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience (1997) and its claim that Europe and China were both facing similar Malthusian limits to growth as late as the eighteenth century. And finally, the chapter considers James Lee and Wang Feng's statistical representation of modern China as a land of low fertility and moderate mortality, as argued in their book One Quarter of Humanity (1999).

Keywords:Andre Gunder Frank; Asians; Eurocentric camp; Re-Orient; sinocentrism

,

This chapter presents the intellectual and artistic originality of the West. The author shows that Europe was in fact the most creative culture of the world. The Ancient Near East was the cradle of human civilization, the location of multiple discoveries, the plough, metallurgy, sailing ships, writing, calendars, legal codes, and arithmetic.Human Accomplishment is a statistical assessment, not an attempt to explain the history of individualism and less so the uniqueness of the West in terms of its economic, institutional, and cultural history. The author argues the basic truth contained in Hegel's Phenomenology that the West is the only civilization in which its most cherished ideals about the self, freedom, and reason have progressed over the course of history. The beginning of Europe's ascendancy has been dated from many points: the Industrial Revolution, the modern world capitalist system, the Renaissance.

Keywords:cultural history; Hegelian's phenomenology; western spirit

]

10.1163/ej.9789004192485.i-527.59
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