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School of Government Peking University  
Chinese
 
The Five Roots of Western Civilization

Title:The Five Roots of Western Civilization
Speaker:Prof. Philippe Nemo (ESCP-EAP)
Host:Prof. Qiang Li (School of Government, Peking University)
Time: November 24th, 2011 (Thursday) 10:00
Place: Room 126, Leo KoGuan Building (School of Government)


Speakers:

Philoppe Nemo, renowned contemporary French philosopher, specialist in history of Political thought. Received doctor degree in literature and humanities from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud, he taught at Université Fran?ois Rabelais, ?cole Pratique des Hautes ?tudes (EPHE), and now is a professor in Europe Business School and also the Director of Research Center for Economic Philosophy of HEC Paris. His early researches are mainly focused on Austrian philosopher Hayek.

Seminar Introduction:

By what series of historical encounters did Western civilization become the combination of the rule of law, democracy, intellectual liberties, critical rationality, science, and economic freedom founded on private property? The story begins with the Greeks, who invented scientific speculation and the ideal of the city, in which individual lives are no longer submerged in a vast sea of humanity. . . . Each person now has individuality and character.  To this the Romans added their invention of private law, whereby they invented the individual human person. The next stage is Christianity or, rather, the impact of biblical religion and spirituality. It brought a new morals and, as a consequence, a new sense of historical responsibility. Fourth root: the synthesis of the biblical ethics with Greek science and Roman law, made at the time of the "papal revolution" of 11th-13th centuries. Lastly, the democratic changes made in Modern times by Dutch, English, American and French Revolutions. All this created what we call the West. Have some of the values and institutions thus invented by Westerners an interest for other cultures? Conversely, what the West can and should learn from other civilizations?