Monday, November 12, 2007

Personal identity (20)

What does it mean that civilizations clash? Does it mean that ideas clash and that the bearers of these ideas are watching what is happening? Isn’t it so that only people can clash, so that we must mean with the clash of civilizations the clash of people? But how can this be right if a member of one civilization (say civilization A) is befriended with a person of an "opposite" civilization (say civilization B) while another member of A is clashing (fighting?) with a member of B? How can civilizations clash and not clash at the same time?

How can we say that a person belongs to civilization A and another person to civilization B, if they are alike on most traits with the exception of those traits that make the person a representative of civilization A or of civilization B?

Does all this mean that civilizations do not exist? Does the fact that each man is unique undermines the idea that civilizations exist?

Vide Samuel Huntington, The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order and Amartya Sen, Identity and violence, who attacks the idea that civilizations clash.

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