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The Political Identity of the West

Platonism in the Dialogue of Cultures

Marcel van Ackeren and Orrin Finn Summerell

To assert that a ‘clash of civilizations’ follows inexorably from the different religious convictions at the foundations of Western Judeo-Christian and Arabic-Islamic cultures means to deny that a common political rationality can articulate genuinely universal, albeit culturally situated values. The eleven contributions to the present volume take up this controversy by challenging its premise that the heritage of classical Greek thought is exclusively part of Western political identity. By exploring the tradition of Platonism informing both Arabic-Islamic and Western political thought and intellectual history in key stations in their history, the contributors show how Platonic political theory can still bear fruit in the present day, especially in the context of dialogue between cultures.
Contents: Marcel van Ackeren/Orrin F. Summerell: Die politische Identität des Westens: Der Platonismus im Dialog der Kulturen - Eine Hinführung – Gerhard Endress: The Way to Happiness. Platonism and Demonstrative Science in Arabic Islamic Philosophy – Charles E. Butterworth: Alfarabi’s Plato: A Tale of Two Cities – John R. Wallach: Platonic Laws, ‘Kadi-Justice’ and the Rule of Law – Raif Georges Khoury: Das mittelalterliche islamische Bildungssystem und seine Bedeutung für die moderne arabische Welt – Edward C. Halper: The Idea of the Political and the Challenge of Particularity: Plato, Modernity and Post-Modern Political Identification – John Marenbon: Peter Abelard and Platonic Politics – Ada Neschke-Hentschke: Macht und Vernunft - die Macht der Vernunft. Platos Kritik der Politik und die politische Theorie des Abendlandes – Madhu Singh: Cultural Dialogue Amidst Shadow and Light: UNESCO and Education in the Mirror of Platonism – Wolfgang Leidhold: Rationality - What Else? – Wolfgang Vollmann: Values and Civilizations: Platonism in International Politics - Review and Prospects.