For tonight's topic, I would like to discuss the past, present, and future of civilization.
In particular, what factors account for the differences between the world's civilizations, and how should they be judged?
Some question on my mind:
- What accounts for the divergence between the evolution of Western society and Islamic society from a relatively similar Greek-influenced/religious-fundamentalist base?
- Why did China, one of the world's largest and oldest cultures, stagnate while the West leaped ahead?
- Was the Egyptian civilization successful? It lasted over 3,000 years, but it was a dictatorial society that experienced very little progress.
- As individuals, can/should we define ourselves as members of a particular civilization, or are we too complex and cosmopolitan for such a narrow perspective?
- What is "modernity"? Is it a new, global culture, something specific to the west, or nothing specific at all?
- Should other cultures strive to adopt Western values? Is there any value to preserving native culture? Why?
- What does it really mean to be "cosmopolitan?" Can we legitimately choose our culture, or choose NOT to belong to any one society?
- Various socialist and humanist movements tried to create a global egalitarian society, but failed, often dramatically. Can the connected world of the 21st century create a "citizen of the world?" Does that phrase mean anything?
- What is the future of civilization - a single, human culture, or more differentiation? Are we drifting apart geographically while connecting globally?
I've updated this event. For more details, see the full listing: http://philosophy.meetup.com/156/calendar/6050421/
When: Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 7:00 PM
Where: Half-Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Hwy.
If the changes affect your plans to attend, please take a moment to update your RSVP. (You can RSVP 'No' or 'Maybe' as well as 'Yes'.)
You can always get in touch with me through the 'Contact Organizer' feature on the Meetup.com website: http://philosophy.meetup.com/156/suggestion/