Talk:Western culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Europe (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Europe, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Europe on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Culture (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Culture, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of culture on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

Contents

The Novel is not just Western[edit]

In the article it is stated that:

"While epic literary works in verse such as the Mahabarata and Homer's Iliad are ancient and occurred worldwide, the novel as a distinct form of story telling only arose in the West (with the possible exception, though isolated, of the Japanese Tale of Genji, five greats epics of Tamil and Persian Shahnama) in the period 1200 to 1750."

The editor should not forget the four great classics of Chinese literature: Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, Water Margin and Dreams of the Red Chamber.

To say that "the novel as a distinct form of story telling only arose in the West" is an Eurocentric statement. In the Chinese language for instance, the word for "novel" - "xiaoshuo", was also the word used to describe the ancient classics written many centuries ago. "Xiaoshuo" is not something that is intrinsically transmitted to China from the West.

Jasnine (talk) 16:53, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Traits of Western Culture[edit]

Western culture has developed many themes and traditions, the most significant of which are:

"Different currents of utopian and scientific socialist ideas, that has developed and evolved into all a world tradition of activism and critic theories against current model of unjust, class-divided, unequalitary societies. Being an expression of it revolutionary ideologies of high repercussion in modern times such as Republicanism, Utopian Socialism, Unionism, Anarchism, Marxism, Guevarism and New Left, among others."

Seriously, who wrote this? Besides being entirely subjective, some are outright fabrications. It does not even seem to have been written by a native English speaker, e.g. "Aesthetical" or "Heritaged"

I recommend deletion, the entire article should really be competently re-done by an expert. Celareon (talk) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Celareon (talkcontribs) 07:34, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Mexico have SOME Western influence like Philippines, but most of its people are of Amerindian heritage, not European, is not a Western country — Preceding unsigned comment added by 189.248.215.197 (talk) 15:14, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Archiving[edit]

Moved all but next section to second archive page, it was the only one I saw that was current (besides the last two which were edited by me). If you have something current there move it here. Lycurgus (talk) 13:05, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Western Culture is Collectivistic??[edit]

I have deleted the bit below that suggests that Western Culture is collectivistic.

Most of Western societies have traditionally been, and often keep being, to some degree, socially collective, giving a major importance to social majoritary traditions or tendencies (such as customs, protocols, beliefs or fashion), that often tend to be prescripted over minority or individual ones, especially when hardly divergent, which can at times cause intolerance, prejudices and social exclusion. In general, western cultures tend to emphasise consensus over any kind of minority or individual solution. However, liberal, romantic, socialist and democratic ideas, that have had an important, growing impact in late modern society, have caused an increasing degree of respect and tolerance toward individual differences (most noticeable on racial issue), liberties and opinions, as well as an important support or expectance of originality, that manifests in artistic criteria. Thus, such differences are usually understood as a matter of diversity, rather than as a source of threat or conflict. This sometimes even becomes respect for other cultures and interest for them to be studied and learn from, driving to new Scholastic currents, as well as subcultural and countercultural ones. Much of this respect for difference and individual liberties remain, however, still theoretical, in many ways, among mainstream society, when the individual factor encounters a strong opposition from social costums and consensus, and thus resists to be accepted or understood. This situation, anyways, has tended to change among most progressive sectors of society, as a consequence of the many social and counter-cultural movements that the last decades have come to see, what, to some extent, has influenced mainstream, who is more predisposed to live along with differences.

The reason why I have deleted this is because I learned in college that Western culture is individualistic and here is a link that gives evidence for that: http://www.westerncultureglobal.org/knowledge-individualism.html

--Knowledge-is-power 15:46, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you. It is this Individualism that has helped the Western societies develop at a rapid pace. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.108.179.229 (talk) 19:09, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

A little late, but I just realized that the above assertion that Western culture is collectivistic is based on the broader, ambiquous use of "Western" in a Greco-Roman context (West of Persia, not Western Europe.) Western Civilization from 400AD onward was a history based on the rejection of the Roman social system, which was indeed collectivistic, the opposite of egalitarian (and ultimately individualist) principles practiced more by the Celts, Hebrews, or Phoenicians ... all bitter enemies of the Romans. Jcchat66 (talk) 16:58, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

This concept is historical and therefore needs more historical context to understand it[edit]

1. I noticed that in this article feudalism + Christianity is taken as more strongly definitive of makes something western than the two more orthodox roots: Athens and Jerusalem, Greek philosophy + Biblical monotheism, both of which were special in the way they applied specialized thinking towards politics and law. I think the traditional definition is best, because it covers more of the things which people call western. Do you have to be feudal or feudal influenced to be Western? 2. I think there is a very helpful extension from the above which could be included in the article: the political philosopher Leo Strauss was fascinated with the Athen + Jerusalem theme and he pointed out that it implied the existence of a "Greater West" including all civilization which had developed from the interplay. Specifically, what he meant to include were the Jewish and Moslem philosophers of the Middle Ages, but of course by extension he is saying that the rest of the world is also becoming more westernized by such things as Marxism or Capitalism. And indeed the Middle Ages was something peculiar to the whole Greater West - which is why the curent article's emphasis on feudalism etc is not entirely wrong, just in the wrong order. Comments?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:52, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

A proposal draft[edit]

I would like to propose the following as the new introductory section. I do not see it as good enough yet, in the sense that the introduction should not be this long. Sections can be broken out...

Western culture or Western civilization are terms which are used to refer to cultures of European origin, in contrast to "Eastern" or "Oriental" cultures. It originated as a way of describing what was different about the Graeco-Roman cultures in contrast to the older civilizations of Western Asia.
These terms are used very broadly to refer to heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies. Specifically, the term most often implies...
The East–West contrast is sometimes criticized as relativistic and arbitrary.[1][2][3] Indeed, by definition, the contrast between Western and non-Western things must change as the peoples being contrasted change throughout their history.
The East-West contrast is also criticized for being too poorly defined to be useful. With the advent of increasing globalism, it has recently become more difficult to determine which individuals fit into which category. In some contexts the term "western" is now avoided, where it was once commonplace, or it has been transformed or clarified to fit more precise uses.
However, though it is directly descendent from academic Orientalism and Occidentalism, and other now questioned traditions, the "East–West" distinction arguably remains a changing but useful means of identifying important cultural similarities and differences — both within an increasingly larger concept of local region, as well as with regard to increasingly familiar "alien" cultures.

...I believe the following should be broken off into other sections, if it is not already being covered. Indeed the article deserves historical sections, to show how the term has changed over time. I would also contend that it is wrong to say that the West-East contrast during the Cold War has nothing to do with what many people mean by "Western Culture". It is often said in Russia and outside Russia that Russian communism owed a lot to what the people were used to, what they supposedly needed, under the Tsar...

During the Cold War, the West–East contrast became synonymous with the competing governments of the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies, respectively, although the nature of that contrast is not in any way based on the distinction between Eastern and Western cultures. Nonetheless "westernization" was a persistent theme of the Russian Empire and through its influence and that of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states these regions have been incorporated into "the west" albeit as a periphery or marchland. Since it also includes virtually all of the western hemisphere not in Africa as well as the Anzac countries, it is the geographically most extensive culture on the planet. As the bearer of science and the accompanying revolutions of technology, thought, and values over the last 500 years it is the dominant human culture at this time of global cultural integration and thus has established itself as a basal element of human civilization with which it is sometimes chauvinistically confused.
The concept of Western culture is generally linked to the classical definition of Western world. In this definition, Western culture is the set of literary, scientific, artistic and philosophical principles which set it apart from other civilizations. It applies to countries whose history is strongly marked by Western European immigration or settlement, and is not restricted to Western Europe. Much of this set of traditions and knowledge is collected in the Western canon.[4] Various uses of the concept of Western culture have included, rightly or wrongly, critiques of American culture, materialism, industrialism, capitalism, commercialism, hedonism, imperialism, communism, Nazism, fascism, racism or modernism.
  1. ^ Yin Cheong Cheng, New Paradigm for Re-engineering Education. Page 369
  2. ^ Ainslee Thomas Embree, Carol Gluck, Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching. Page xvi
  3. ^ Kwang-Sae Lee, East and West: Fusion of Horizons
  4. ^ Duran 1995, p.81
Other tendencies that define modern Western societies are the existence of political pluralism, prominent subcultures or countercultures (such as New Age movements), increasing cultural syncretism resulting from globalization and human migration.

Comments please.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:58, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

In the ¶ above starting with "During the cold war .." I authored the text beginning with "Nonetheless .." to the end of that ¶ It's true that the start sentence doesn't quite match the scope of the sequel. The first sentence might be modified reflect the particular usage of 'east-west' ... Actually no, that's wrong. The entire paragraph is fine as is. It's placement in the overall page can of course change if someone wants to put effort into a improved structure of the page. Perhaps a much shorter lede with it going into a "semantics" § or whatever. 74.78.162.229 (talk) 02:05, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I think that many such comments can be better fitted if we put in some sections on the different historically relative ways the term is used. The problem is that even though the terminology has evolved over many centuries, ALL of those uses are still known and used when referring to particular periods. There is an Origins section, but it seems like a collection of notes so far. I think the main periods are as follows...
1. The East-West concept has its origins in the contrast between the Graeco-Roman world and Asia. Even within classical times however, the Greek speaking world was being seen as increasingly part of the Eastern world world which it had effectively ruled since Alexander.
2. In late Roman times there was an official split between the Eastern and Western empires - the East being substantially outside of Europe although ruled from Greece. Hence Byzantine Greeks like their Asian subjects in the lands which eventually took up Islam, contrasted themselves collectively with the Frankish and Catholic West, which was, not unlike in Classical times, seen as a less civilized, more barbarous area, run by smaller scale individualists rather than a great empire.
3. With the increasing importance of Islam in Asia in the Middle Ages, the Greek, Slavic and Orthodox sphere of influence starts to be seen as either Western or Eastern, depending upon the context.
4. In the 20th century a large part of the Orthodox world became the Soviet world. Once again old patterns were often seen to be prevailing: a more centralized and imperial East, contrasted to the capitalistic and decadent West.
5. In the aftermath of the cold war, it looked like the East-West distinction might disappear as the world became increasingly homogeneous, but signs are that East-West distinctions are making a comeback. This is firstly because the Russian government has taken the decision to emphasize their distinction from the West, represented by NATO and the EU, and the historical roots of this difference, as something to be encouraged. Secondly, September the 11th, Al Qaeda, and the War against Terror, led to new contrasts being made between the West, with its emphasis on freedom, and the Islamic East on the one hand; and between what some saw as Western imperialism versus traditional cultures on the other hand.


"The 'narrow' usage of 'western'"[edit]

When used in a narrow manner, Eastern Europe, Orthodox Christianity and the ancient Greek speaking world, are sometimes contrasted with what is western, even if they are also sometimes contrasted with what is more truly "eastern".

Someone up there^ sourced those who believe this definition is somewhat arbitrary(btw didnt see that in the article when I skimmed it--not saying that its not there...but if it isnt, it should be): "The East–West contrast is sometimes criticized as relativistic and arbitrary.[1][2][3] Indeed, by definition, the contrast between Western and non-Western things must change as the peoples being contrasted change throughout their history."

So... "the narrow usage of 'western' is somewhat arbitrary in a sense it is differentiates a nations culture based on religion at an arbitrary point in time is how I see it (Catholic vs. Orthodox schism. In an even more narrow definition, one might exclude some of the Catholic countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia...) as being culturally 'eastern' as well.

Is this sentence supposed to infer that Greek culture is more Near Eastern than Western? Or more Eastern European because of their Orthodox faith? Why are the Greeks isolated as 'eastern' while other Orthodox nations not considered 'eastern' under this definition? Is it due to the Ottomans? If so, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, and Bulgaria, etc should also be included...but they arent the 'Greek speaking world'. By reading this sentence, I get the notion that their culture is 'eastern' for more reasons than just their religion, because the contributor isolated the 'Greek speaking world.' Why is this? Is it due to cultural diffusion from the Ottomans? If this is the case, should/would Italy and Spain(Catholic nation, but possible Moorish cultural diffusion and/or borrowings) be considered 'eastern' too?

This sentence needs to be elaborated on and be supported with sources, else it should be srapped in my opinion-its giving confusing me. 66.82.9.80 (talk) 06:42, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Changed it bc what was there just amounted to including Greece, or the (vague and broad) "Greek speaking world" twice. Who exactly is included in the Greek speaking world anyway? Its vague. Many spoke Greek, it was like Latin during the Roman era. Greek because was the lingua franca during the hellenistic era and the language of educated people in the known world. Do we include the Griko speakers in Italy? They are in Italy now, a Catholic nation..also other areas of Italy that were once Greek are different culturally now. Same goes for the Greeks on the coast of Anatolia (those still living there after the population exchanges are mostly Muslim and obviously identify more with Turkish culture now)...for these reasons, its best to omit that part of the segment. 69.19.14.23 (talk) 02:08, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I am wondering if this direction of editing will not make the article artificially simple. The article itself made the point that there is some messiness in the way people use the terms Eastern and Western. But if you want to reject this, does that mean that you think that people use the word western in a clear way? Do they really? Eastern Christians, and not just outsiders, really do sometimes contrast themselves with the West. They really do connect themselves to their Eastern heritage which includes Constantinople - a heritage they know they share with muslim culture for example. They really are sometimes in fact proud to be in this balanced position - descendants of Rome, but not of the Franks so to speak. This is not just a small point, but quite central to how Eastern Christians see themselves and the West. Russia has a Roman double headed eagle as a national symbol and claims to be the new Rome. The two heads represent the facing east and west of the old empire.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:49, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus for move. I think much more significant than number of hits one expression returns over the other in searches is the manner the expressions are being used when you look at the sources found. A Google Book search, for example, finds tons of books with "Western culture" in the titles, but the rub is that the topic of those books is not limited to Europe; they are about Western culture as that expression has long been used to mean far more than the words alone imply. By contrast, the books that have European culture in their title are limited for the most part to the culture of Europe.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

I suggest to move Western culture to European culture because what is described in this article is common for all European countries, not only Western. Assuming that classical antiquity for example belongs to Western culture is offensive to other Europeans who do not live in countries known as "Western". This looks very much like a Cold War propaganda.

This place (Westrn culture) however could exist if it covered truly Western values such as individualism, Protestantism, Coca-Cola, Holywood, bubble gum, rock and roll etc.--Dojarca (talk) 13:06, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose move. These are not the same things. Badagnani (talk) 05:15, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
    Yes. That's why I propose the move. This article confuses European culture with Western culture. For example, Belarus belongs to European culture, but does not belong to Western culture. Japan the opposite, belongs to Western culture, but does not belong to European culture. This article describes European culture, but confusingly calls it "Western culture". I also should note that there should be no place for propaganda in Wikipedia. --Dojarca (talk) 08:38, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose and recommend close per WP:SNOW. Western culture does not equal Western Europe, that's ridiculous. +Hexagon1 (t) 00:14, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    Nobody says Western culture equals to Western Europe. For example, Japan and S.Korea belong to the Western World as well as Australia and so on. But this article depicts European culture, which is not shared by some Western countries such as Japan. On the other side, Balarus for example (and Russia and Moldova etc) do not belong to Western World, and Western culture, but they belong to European culture which is in fact described in this article. Claiming that only Western countries share European culture and Classical heritage, excludes countries such as Russia and Belarus and in fact is pure Cold War-like (or even Nazi-like) POV propagana.--Dojarca (talk) 10:02, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The USA, Canada, and other non-European European ex-colonies are also Western, but not in Europe; Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, not to mention other eastern European countries, are definitely European while usually contrasted with "Western" (though sometimes included of course).Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:33, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    Well USA and Canada are not European, but inherit European culture. You're right that Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are not usually considered "western" (in fact usually contrasted with it). So this article's topic excludes them. We have no article about common European culture other than this. Article Culture of Europe focuses mostly on modern varieties of cultures of European countries, but does not describe what is commonly perceived as European culture (classical antiquity, Christianity, classical philisophy etc). So the abovementioned countries are excluded as if they did not inherit common European values.--Dojarca (talk) 18:22, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Western culture" is the term most commonly used in the English-speaking world to refer to this subject. Wikipedia is not a mechanism for campaigning for changes in usage. Robert A.West (Talk) 16:45, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    Wikipedia should reflect worldwide point of view, not local.--Dojarca (talk) 18:23, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    There is no such thing as a single "worldwide point of view," so Wikipedia can hardly reflect it. Whatever name is chosen for any article will reflect some point of view. That is inherent in the nature of language and thought. Wikipedia's practice is to use the name that is most common in English and to point out alternative usages or objections in the text of the article. Robert A.West (Talk) 18:32, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    Also consider these links [1][2][3][4][5] that use the term "European culture" or claim that some countries (in America, Australia, Africa "inherited European culture"). How can you prove your claim that "Western culture" is used more widely than "European culture"?--Dojarca (talk) 18:42, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    Actually, since you want to change the status quo, the burden logically falls on you to make your case. A handful of links (or even a few hundred) are not enough to overrule long-established usage. It is also noteworthy that the typical course on the subject begins with Sumer and/or Egypt, neither of which are in Europe. Robert A.West (Talk) 19:09, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
    Well probably Americans prefere to use word "Western" rather than "European" because they are not Europeans. But Wikipedia should represent worldwide view. Aside this, my search in Google gives me 2 750 000 entries for "Western culture" and 3 190 000 for "European culture" which shows than even in English-speaking world the second term is more widely used.--Dojarca (talk) 18:05, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
    Strange, I get a million more GHits for "Western culture" than you do, but it really doesn't matter, since Google is not useful for quantities at that level anyway. It is also fallacious to think that the term "Western" excludes Eastern Europe in any way: the terminology is far older than the Cold War. Robert A.West (Talk) 18:32, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

People! The Ural-border Europe idea is very young probably it is not older than 200 years. In Medieval Age, the orthodox countries were considered as part of west-Asia (Except Byzantine Empire). --Celebration1981 (talk) 10:21, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Even Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria?--Dojarca (talk) 18:06, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

You are wrong. Orthodox countries are non western countries. Because a lot of major important things lacked in orthodox societies: WESTERN CULTURE AND SOCIETY:

Medieval appearance of parliaments (the dietal-system), self-government like status of big royal/imperial cities, medieval appearance of banking systems and social effects and status of urban bourgeoisie, medieval appearance of universities, Philosophy: Scholasticism and humanist philosophy,the knight-culture and the effects of crusades in the Holy Land, medieval usage of Latin alphabet and medieval spread of movable type printing, The medieval western theatre: Mystery or cycle plays and morality passion plays, The architecture and fine-arts: Romanesque Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Amen. --Celebration1981 (talk) 19:09, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Did you ever heared about Novgorod republic, Pskov Republic? But they did not use Latin alphabet, you're right. In such sence Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia also not Western, I agree.--Dojarca (talk) 19:41, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, Novgorod Republic was about as Western as the Old Norse (or proto-Viking) culture that spawned it. In a literal sense, European, but significantly different from the mainstream of cultural development. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 20:58, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
If Old Norse culture not considered Western, then I do not know what 'Western' is. Probably, related to Vatican? (by the way, it's not proto-viking, it's simply viking).--Dojarca (talk) 21:31, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. If you are talking about Western Civilization, then Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia etc. should not be included in the article. However, if we are talking here about Western Culture, as the title of this article implies, then the eastern countries such as the Byzantine empire, Romanian empire, modern-day Romania, Dacia, Bulgaria, Serbia etc. should be mentioned and discussed. So, I think the article is missing its point.

Gug01 (talk) 18:51, 25 September 2014 (UTC) Gug01 Gug01 (talk) 18:51, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

let's review: article still messy[edit]

I propose that the structure of the article still needs consideration. In some detail...

The first section after the intro is called "Terminology" implying that it is about the definition, but why would it be more more about the definition than the rest of the article. I take the original intention, as shown by the section link to the Western World article, to be an attempt to speak separately about which specific peoples and places are western. But even then, can this be made into a section without being very redundant. Proposal: much of what is contained in this section is about the most recent phase of this very historically flexible west/east terminology, and could be moved to a section on that.

The second section is concerning the history of the west/east terminology. I think this is the core of the article. As I have explained before, I tend to think that this article is meaningless if we ignore all the historical changes in meaning, and the different flavours of meaning. I think the first two sections are fine: first classical, and then medieval, but then things get messy. Then finally it comes back to recent times, and the cold war. In that middle section I think we need some order. I think that this is precisely where we could put at least some of what is now in the terminology section.

Thirdly, we then have some random topics which seem to group together, which I suppose all come under the category of defining details of what the state of play is now in Western Culture...

  • Influence of Western culture
  • Music, art, story-telling and architecture
  • Western Scientific and Technological Inventions and Discoveries

Should these be united then, under some such heading as "Aspects of Contemporary Western Culture"? And can they be improved once united by a theme like that? By the way, it seems to me that there should be more, for example especially politics?

Fourth, there is "Contemporary Western culture". The title implies that this section should either be the last part of the second section, or else a unifying comment for the third section. The title looks like it would fit for the third section very well in fact. However, the content is not necessarily suited to such a task right now. Actually, some of it would fit in as a political sub-section for what I describe as the third part. Perhaps this title and content just ended up at the end of the article together by accident, as happens all-too-often.

I feel fairly confident that most of the above is no-one's intention but just the result of edits over a long time. And that basically a bit of moving around might fix a lot of things. Comments please.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:29, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

I have tried a big re-structuring. Please note that for the most part I have left materials in there, but just re-ordered them. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:04, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

There is another problem. Some things listed as western achievements are not western at all. The theremin is Russian and the first human in space was Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. These things need to be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Avro Bellow (talkcontribs) 01:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Russia, like Turkey, is one of those "maybe-Western" countries that make classifying things so difficult. --Carnildo (talk) 04:48, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Western culture is Christian, not Judeo-Christian[edit]

Judaism is an Eastern culture more similar to Islam, both of them semitic civilizations (Shalom/Salam) with a much different alphabet. Both of them have their center in the Mideast while Christianism established its center in the West. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.35.183.222 (talk) 02:22, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

First of all, Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism, even to the point of retaining much of its theology and all of its scripture. Yes, they have grown separately for nearly two thousand years, but the roots are too deep to deny.
Second, "Western culture" begins long before the birth of Christ, or Abraham for that matter. The typical overview course on the subject begins in ancient Sumer, discusses Assyria and Egypt, spends a lot of time on Classical Greece, the conquests of Alexander and the subsequent Hellenization period before shifting focus to Rome, first as a republic, then as an Empire. The course has covered nearly two thousand years of history before Constantine the Great changes the official religion of the Empire. For the next thousand years, "Western culture" and "Christendom" are roughly the same, but it would be an error not to note how much Christianity was influenced by and absorbed classical philosophy and many pagan practices of the Germanic tribes. One need only look at the timing of Christmas and Easter, not to mention the name of Easter itself to see how the culture (as distinct from the theology) was affected. I could go on about how the Roman Empire itself became more orientalized, with the vestiges of republican restraint being replaced by an oriental despotism, but I refer you to Durant, Weber, inter alia. Robert A.West (Talk) 11:23, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Western culture is neither Christian nor Judeo-Christian. Atheism, communism also belong to Westrn culture.--Dojarca (talk) 11:51, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Of course. You put it so simply and went right to the heart of the matter. Robert A.West (Talk) 04:12, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

From the views of eastern world (Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans ...), Semitic culture (West Asia, Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is not an east one, although from Europe, it may be. Even from the views of Indians, Semitic culture is not of east, I think. Unlike Semitic one-god religious society, there is a tradition of religious freedom and religious inosculating in Eastern world and that has last for long. -Daohuo (talk) 14:18, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd say many Jews today, and particularly Ashkenazi Jews, are Westerners. Jews in the classical period often used Latin and Greek as well as Hebrew and Aramaic. "Ashkenaz" means GERMANY; it refers to people whose ancestors lived smack dab in the middle of Europe, and moved there from Italy and France, ancient Roman territory. Furthermore, much of Diaspora Jewish history - and even Levantine Jewish history - is closely connected and influenced by Western history. In the middle ages, Jews had to interact with kings and popes, barons and princes; when they moved, it was often due to Christian prejudices, and Jews sometimes stayed long enough to establish ancient monuments and cemeteries. The places Judaism spread in the Diaspora often coincided with the Roman empire at first, and the Enlightenment, or Haskalah, increased Jewish participation in Western cultural life. So... are we still an Eastern people simply because our ancient and holy tongue is Mideastern? The Levant can be thought of as the "Eastern West", rather than the "Near East", given the heavy amount of Western interaction that it has gotten and the Ashkenazi Jewish culture that now dominates a small chunk of that land. — Rickyrab. Yada yada yada 08:19, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

In Tang Dynasty, after Buddhism was introduced from India into China, Buddhism had been integrated into Chinese religion. It's often called Three Religions Combine into One Religion (三教合一). Three Religions means Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. However, actually there were many other Chinese regional religions besides Daoism, and there still are, but these religions are today often classfied as part of Daoism. No-god is one idea of Confucianism. An earlier Confucian Ji Liang (in Spring and Autumn Period) said, People is the master (origin) of god (夫民,神之主也) (Gods are created by people. Different people creates different gods), and Shi Yin (in Spring and Autumn Period) also said:I heard that, if a state will flourish, it listens to people; if a state will perish, it listens to god (吾聞之:國將興,聽於民;將亡,聽於神). Although most Confucians think there are no any gods and no any supernatural forces, they do not oppose people worshipping gods. On contrary, Confucians support people worshipping their ancestors (the ghosts and gods which are their died ancestors). The resean is well stated by Zeng Zi: To be prudent in mourning, and to remember those who have passed away before, is to enhance the virtue of the people.(慎終追遠,民德歸厚矣). So for a typical Chinese, he or she worships ghosts and gods which are their died ancestors, and at the same time, he or she worships the gods of Doism, Buddhism and Confucian religion (such as Guan Di), and gods in other religions such as local religion or industrial religion (such as Lu Ban) -Daohuo (talk) 15:48, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Go slow with Judeo-Christian term. It's a very young term. --Celebration1981 (talk) 13:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


The article is contradicting itself, by describing Western Culture as being Biblical/Christian, yet claiming it arose in Europe. Christianity originated in Asia. It's always been present in Asia. Orthodox, Nestorian, etc. Western culture quite clearly has been inherited, and embellished by Europe, but not founded by Europe. Agriculture was Asian. Codified laws Asian. Writing Asian. Monotheism Asian. and so on and so forth. --TheThankful (talk) 04:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

No, Asian type of culture didn't exist. Asia is just a continent, not a cultural unity. There are more very different civilizations. Therefore your reasoning is wrong. --Celebration1981 (talk) 17:06, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Jews are a Western people as well as a Mideastern one. Let's face it, you don't spend a thousand years or two heavily interacting with a culture and living on its lands and living within its artistic and social movements without becoming a part of that culture. Judaism was once popular in the Roman Empire, and Jewish traders were to be found in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and on into the modern period. So... yeah, Judaism is part of Western culture as well as Christianity. 68.37.254.48 (talk) 07:51, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

I disagree. I think that Western culture is Christian, while Western civilization is Judeo-Christian. Also, what is known as "Western Civilization" is not even Western, it comes from the middle east. So frankly, whoever is writing the article better decide whether they are talking about what is known as "Western Civilization" or "Western Culture".

Gug01 (talk) 18:42, 25 September 2014 (UTC) Gug01 Gug01 (talk) 18:42, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Criticisms[edit]

Unlike many wikipedia articles, this article is overly positive aparently with little or no criticism allowed. There should be, at the very least, a section of internal links that direct the readers to articles that are reasonable critical. As we all know, Western culture has many faults that should have be represented in this locked article. 172.164.136.83 (talk) 22:58, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

America was discovered by Cristobal Colon. Who is Christopher Columbus? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.10.10.142 (talk) 21:47, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The common English name used for the person discovering America. Arnoutf (talk) 08:28, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Criticisms, continued[edit]

I suppose someone has gone ahead and executed this suggestion now. Is there anyone else that has a major problem with this paragraph?

"In general, the various criticisms of Western Culture tend to come within the categories of decadence, extremism, and barbarism. Various uses of the concept of Western culture have included, rightly or wrongly, critiques of American culture, materialism, industrialism, capitalism, individualism, commercialism, hedonism, imperialism, communism, Nazism, fascism, racism, modernism, nihilism, nationalism, fundamentalism and post-modernism."

This is lumped on the end of an introduction with absolutely NO 'overly positive' nature to it whatsoever. These 'various criticisms' should not be in the introduction. Since there is nothing positive in this section, the way it reads now implies that the article is in agreement with this fundamentalist and narrow-minded 'criticism' of Western Culture. The phrase 'rightly or wrongly' not only sounds amateurish and unscholarly to me, but does little to mitigate the intention of this paragraph, which seems to be to inextricably link 'Western culture' with all these nasty -isms. Does the author of this paragraph really believe that 'Western culture' is solely responsible for, the epitome of, or exclusively related to barbarism, hedonism, racism and fundamentalism? Seems to me that in contemporary society, Western culture has moved significantly beyond the stage where rape victims can be stoned to death and young girls circumsized. Funny how there's no link to barbarism and fundamentalism in 'Western culture's supposed 'equivalent regarding the East'.

I'm going to go ahead and delete this paragraph for now. If anyone feels this is wrong, there's the full text I'm deleting here. However, I strongly suggest that many of these 'criticisms of Western culture' are absurd and biased. Some of them, such as individualism and consummerism are quite fair, and if someone would like to write a section further down the article relating to these negative aspects, I would think it would be a good idea. Just don't rant on in the introduction. Oh, and at the same time, feel free to flesh out the equivalent article regarding the East as well. I'll stop now before I write something I'll regret. Storleone (talk) 21:34, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Western civilization and culture[edit]

"Western culture" is not a term, it is a phrase. Western civilization is not the same thing as Western culture. 1. There is a real difference between Western values such as freedom and democracy, as opposed to the mere technique and know-how associated with culture. 2. The standard dictionary definitions of civilization and culture are not universally synonymous. 3. Certain schools of 20th century political debate, especially left-wing and marxist, deny the reality of civilization in the traditional sense of true democratic and humanitarian values: Those commentators prefer the term "culture." There exists a long and unbroken etymological and lexicographical tradition which supports the idea of Western civilization as oppossed to mere culture. Christopher Richard Wade Dettling —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.24.197.191 (talk) 11:52, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Breaking wheel[edit]

With regard to "Since when did torture become a Western only practice? I find it hard to believe someone would make such an absurd claim and seemingly so anti-Western."

Just to clarify here as well:

The breaking wheel picture was placed not to suggest that torture per se is Western, but the breaking wheel was most prevalent in the West/Europe and originated in Ancient Greece (like several other aspects of Western culture featured on this page). There are a number of other creative Western torture practices that could be featured here as well. The breaking wheel is uniquely Western unlike some other practices, which are said to have possibly originated outside of Europe, or to have gained widespread use outside of Europe.

As for the notion that there may be something anti-Western about this, there is any criterion stating that pictures or text included in the article cannot be "anti-Western." Besides, what is anti-Western or not can be easily contested. Take some of the pictures in this article right now (mostly added by you?):

  • Newton? He advanced physics, allowing more destructive weapons to be developed.
  • Alexander the Great? Brutal conqueror, known for his skill at directing other men to chop other men up with big knives and sharp objects in order to extract revenue from the defeated. How does he describe "Western culture" anyway?
  • The Colosseum? A despicable center of violent entertainment using slaves.
  • Charlemagne? Another brutal conqueror, who also attacked people (the Saxons) to force them into his own religion.
  • The Crusades? Bloody wars motivated by religious hatred and greed.
  • The "discovery" of the New World? This discovery led to the killing of entire peoples, destruction of their cultures, and the seizure of their land.
  • The Industrial Revolution? The exploitation of the proletariat on unprecedented scales, along with great environmental pollution and the destruction of native markets in India and elsewhere.
  • Western Empires? The ruthless subjugation of other peoples in order to exploit their wealth - on a world-wide scale.
  • Atom bomb? Incredibly destructive.
  • Hollywood? Corruption of the youth.
  • Elvis Presley? Assigns a "hick" image to Western culture.
  • Aircraft? A way to fly over walls in order to kill other people.
  • Automobiles? Massive overconsumption of fossil fuels, spewing much pollution into the air. Also creates a lot of roadkill.
  • Telecommunications? Allows children to cheat on tests.

Obviously some of these are only semi-serious, but I hope you can see my point that many things originating from or characteristic of Western culture can be seen in a negative light (even while having positive or admirable characteristics). Torturous execution, such as the breaking wheel, can even be seen in a positive light in that it gives the condemned the pain and suffering they deserve for their crimes.

Regardless, good or bad is aside from the point. The point is to describe Western culture/civilization and to highlight those things that make it unique, not to extol or condemn or censor. Chedorlaomer (talk) 03:30, 20 November 2008 (UTC)


Having a picture of a breaking wheel as one of the lead images to the article is completely ridiculous. It states the breaking wheel is a central factor of Western civilisation and that Western civilisation is built upon torture. If you hadn't noticed already the images in this article are only of the most important factors in Western civilisation, and the breaking wheel is not one of them, let alone the most important of them as you would have had it depicted as in the introduction to the article. It belongs nowhere in this article because it is an image of something so immensely minor and irrelevent that if included in the article then you might as well add such images as one of the teletubbies and claim they're somehow central to Western civilization. I can't help but feel your edits are being purposefully non-constructive to the article and are driven by a desire to portray Western civilisation as barbaric and built upon torture or else why add a picture of torture as a lead image? Yes as you pointed out earlier many of the images in the article highlight negative aspects of Western Civilization, but every image is neutral and display neutrally. An image of a breaking wheel or other forms of torture in this article could never be considered neutral and wouldn't comply with WP:NPOV. Usergreatpower (talk) 09:38, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
There is a clear double standard here. There was nothing non-neutral about the presentation of the breaking wheel, and it can only "never be considered neutral" if you have something against painful capital punishment for crimes and read into the presence of the picture too much. That would be you not being neutral, not the picture violating any rule. Remember, we do not censor based on like or dislike, but it seems you want to remove the breaking wheel based upon your personal sentiment out of a concern for making Western civilization look good. This agenda is completely inappropriate for an encyclopedia article. As for the idea that only a "central factor" should be pictured, this again appears to be an entirely subjective ruling based upon what User:Usergreatpower thinks is central. Many of the items could be contested in this same line of thinking, but I have yet to see any justification for this claimed criterion.
As of this time you haven't provided any reason against the breaking wheel that is suitable by Wikipedia standards, but rather your own sentiments. I'm putting the breaking wheel back, but under Plato since the practice was invented in ancient Greece and there is a rough chronological outline to the placement of images (though Newton and da Vinci seem to violate this). By the way, I like the Teletubbies idea, as it would really highlight another unique part of Western culture, though it may be better to feature a more famous children's show (such as Sesame Street). Chedorlaomer (talk) 18:20, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
To claim that a breaking wheel is emblematic or representative of Western culture is, in my view, more than a little absurd. I do not dispute that it's an item used primarily in the West, but I don't think it's broadly representative or important enough to justify a place right at the top of the article. Why, in your view, is it so important to display this image above, say, the Mona Lisa or Shakespeare? Lankiveil (speak to me) 11:14, 21 November 2008 (UTC).
The goal was to show something unique to Western culture, not to make some terribly opinionated statement about something so subjective as "emblematic." So far arguments against the breaking wheel are (a) it makes the West look bad, and (b) it is not "representative." Neither of those were my goals (as they would be far too subjective) in placing the picture, but I assert again that many of the pictures Usergreatpower placed in the article based upon his own fancy could be challenged along those same grounds. Truly, there is an active double standard here. A cursory glance through the history shows that Usergreatpower has been deleting and adding images based entirely on his personal feeling about what is emblematic or important to the West.
Are we supposed to use the order of pictures to express our opinion about what matters in Western culture as well? We should adopt a consistent approach, perhaps chronological. I originally threw it in near the top without thinking so much about how people would read into this. Upon Usergreatpower's emotional objections, I decided to compromise by placing it with the Greek guy since the practice was invented in Ancient Greece. It might be better to put it in the medieval section instead since that particular picture dates from that period. Chedorlaomer (talk) 18:40, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
But why the breaking wheel? Why not the downtown of Enderlin, North Dakota? Or Roseanne Barr? Or a television, or a hotdog? I'll give it to you that this article is significantly overillustrated, but you haven't really explained why a breaking wheel should be displayed on the page, seeing as it's a very minor part of Western culture, at best. This isn't about just wanting to make the West look good either - because there are other 'negative' images here (like the Crusades one), that ought to remain, as they document important events in the evolution of Western culture. Lankiveil (speak to me) 00:59, 22 November 2008 (UTC).
I suggest that you picture those other ones as well, unless we are going to make a serious attempt to reduce the pictures as proposed in the section below. Chedorlaomer (talk) 01:44, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Most people in Western culture probably won't have ever heard of the breaking wheel - it is fairly obscure.86.186.228.157 (talk) 11:19, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
The only reasonable approach is for the images to correspond to the text of the article. The number of images has been excessive, so paring them down is a good idea. The images that are kept can be positive or negative, and can be widely emblematic of Western culture or not, as long as they match and reinforce the content of the article. For example, the Vitruvian Man and Plato represent the Renaissance and Classical influence, which are prominently at the head of the first bullet point in the intro. But Newton is out of place because his image doesn't go with anything in the nearby text. The breaking wheel could be appropriate if there's a section that prominently mentions torture. It doesn't go with the current intro, though, since there's nothing similar in the text. --Amble (talk) 08:40, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes sense. I'll keep it in mind. Chedorlaomer (talk) 09:33, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
This would bring the use of the images in line with our Manual of Style -- each image should have a caption relating it to the article -- see WP:MOS:IMAGES and this link[6] on layout. dougweller (talk) 18:41, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Too many images[edit]

On my monitor, the images on the right side of the article form a solid column running the whole height of the article, and spill over past the end of the article for another screen and a half, while the images on the left and in the middle make the article look messy. I'd recommend dropping about half of them:

Additionally, a number of images aren't very good at showing what they're supposed to show:

--Carnildo (talk) 06:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

As is clear from the dispute above this section, a desire to make the West look good (or something approximate to that) has featured as an editing principle, so it is likely that the image selection is something of a trophy case of what certain users think is great about Western culture. Chedorlaomer (talk) 18:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I concur with all of the above suggestions, except for removing Image:First Folio.jpg. Shakespeare is an important part of Western literature, and the image nicely doubles as a picture of one of the more important written works produced in the West, and as a depiction of what Shakespeare is commonly believed to have looked like. Lankiveil (speak to me) 01:01, 22 November 2008 (UTC).
Is Shakespeare universally popular in the Western world, or just in those parts that speak English? Is he popular outside of the Western world? Generally there is some problem working with this topic because it assumes that Western countries do indeed have a common culture in some significant way. Chedorlaomer (talk) 01:42, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
In short, yes. For some quick anecdotal evidence, zh:威廉·莎士比亚 is a featured article, and it's also featured on the Afrikaans, Bosnian, Spanish, French, Croatian, Hebrew, Polish, Swedish, and Thai Wikipedias. If he weren't important, I don't think that those non-English projects would have gone to such lengths to write about him. Also, Image:Hw-shakespeare.png might be a better Shakespeare image if we don't like the Folio one. Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:30, 22 November 2008 (UTC).
So he is universally popular in the world, rather than just Western culture? I'm not sure if Wikipedia featured articles accurately measure this since heavy work on articles can result from the obsession of a minority (it seems that video game stuff is featured often, at least on English Wikipedia), or if any of these were translated from each other, but it is still an interesting observation. In any case I wouldn't oppose Shakespeare's image, assuming that it is not entirely fictionalized. Chedorlaomer (talk) 02:52, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Point taken. Unless there is any objection in the next day or so, I might start removing some of the images listed above from the article, in order to make it not so image-heavy. Lankiveil (speak to me) 04:12, 22 November 2008 (UTC).
Please go ahead. dougweller (talk) 06:09, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Please do, it seems like a fair solution to the currently quite subjective lineup. We've yet to hear from Usergreatpower though, he might care. Chedorlaomer (talk) 07:04, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, go ahead and remove them. There are just too many.DonSiano (talk)
I've gone ahead and removed a whole bunch of the images listed above, and I think the article looks better for it. If there are any particular removals that anyone objects to, we can always see about re-adding. Lankiveil (speak to me) 02:47, 23 November 2008 (UTC).
The very nice image "Huntington's map of major civilization" should have a better caption. Showing what civilization each color represents with a link to an appropriate article would be nice. Or, Perhaps a link to a brief article on Major Civilizations as depicted would be good.172.168.59.211 (talk) 21:33, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't agree many of Mr. Huntington's opinions. I don't think the difference between Vietnamese culture and Japanese culture is bigger than that between French culture and Italian culture. And the difference between Chinese culture and Japanese culture is even smaller than the difference between Vietnamese culture and Japanese culture. And basically due to the economic globalization, the whole world tends to share more and more similar characters. In the past 150 to 200 years, westerners have influenced the world a lot, from science, technology, to economy, politics.... -Daohuo (talk) 16:25, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Modern and ancient times[edit]

I reverted Wingedsubmariners edits because they made it look like Western countries in ancient times had "Natural law, human rights, constitutionalism, parliamentarism (or presidentialism) and formal liberal democracy" which of course they did not. I suspect Wingedsubmariner was referring to the various Greek democracies, but even though it is true that democracy as a concept is ancient, all the other elements mentioned in the sentence is not. I am not particually happy with the old version of the sentence though. Natural law, human rights and constitutionalism was already developed and functioning in some societies in the 18th century, and the move towards democratic rule began in Europe in 19th century (and of course in the US in the 18th century). --Saddhiyama (talk) 12:52, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

"Western" vs. "Orthodox"[edit]

it is ridiculous to exclude "Orthodox" culture, i.e. Greek culture and the Greek-derived Christian Slavic cultures from "Western culture". Greek culture has been the very template of "Western culture" (as opposed to "Asian despotism", at the time epitomized by the Persian Empire) since the Age of Pericles. I cannot make out whether the article is trying to separate the two. The article body is ambiguous, but the Huntington map seems to consider "Orthodox" as non-"Western". --dab (𒁳) 16:30, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Such matters are always going to be controversial with no absolute consensus ever reached. Someone like Toynbee, for example, might argue that "Hellenistic (roughly "Greco-Roman") civilization" gave way and, partly, rise to "Orthodoxy" and "Western cilivisation". Another might argue for this or that. Ultimately, the very concept of a "West" is controversial. A discussion of all possible definitions of "The West", and that such a generic title represents plenty of complexity and variation within, and "Western culture" as well as the creation of the various Others through the process of the creation of *a* West would be nice. The problem with such topics (and why there needs to be a treatment of all opinions expressed, as summarised in the relevant literature) is that they attract plenty of exceptionalists, who usually generalise about the "virtues of the West" and on wrong premises to boot, nationalists who might argue for their country belonging or not to the West and so on. 85.72.185.204 (talk) 22:24, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
There is plently of evidence proposed by acadamia to create theories about civilizations and their identities, and have been for some time. The Evolution of Civilizations by Carroll Quigley makes a strong and convincing argument for the differences between Western Civilization and Eastern (or Orthodox) Civilizations, which obviously had very different evolutionary experiences over the centuries. Absolute consenses needs never be reached, but there is a consensus, and plenty of research on the matter that has become the status quo. Perhaps, when someone has time, they can transfer the vasy amounts of data on this subject to Wikipedia. Jcchat66 (talk) 16:02, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I would say, United States and Great Britain are certainly Western, all other is disputed and should prove that they deserve to be called 'Western' by their behavior (politically support western powers, ban communism, invent Latin alphabet etc).--Dojarca (talk) 13:31, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Huntington[edit]

I think Huntington's view shouldn't be in this article, as it is completely controversial. It may be so that in the English speaking world, especially because of US influence, Latin America isn't considered part of the West, but the same is not true in the Spanish, French, or Portuguese speaking world, where Latin America is considered indeed as being part of the West. As such Huntington's view is completely "anglo-centric" which by definition would make it POV and therefore not adequate to be included on Wikipedia --193.136.74.103 (talk) 17:31, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

The picture is fine, it does not claim Latin America is not part of western culture anyway, it's up for reader's interpretation. I believe Latin America is unique enough to justify it's own category. For example North America is "western" mostly because indigenous populations have been almost completely eliminated and do not play any significant role in land's culture. With Latin America fortunately this is not the case and so the culture is much more a mix of local and western cultures.Enemyunknown (talk) 13:24, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

EAST EUROPE?[edit]

We need to start with a proper definition of the term, since it dates from the Cold War, where it meant the "Second World". It does not appear that, after the dissolution of the Soviet-engineered and -controlled Warsaw Pact, this usage is sustainable: the Pact itself is gone, as is the Soviet Union and the concept of an Eastern Bloc and the "Second World", and most, if not all, of those countries are NATO members. What has been taking place is some return to the pre-1945 position, where decades of Kremlin-enforced ideology are gradually, if not entirely, discarded, and such countries are returning to their European roots. On this note, one must note that the notion of Eastern Europe must be reconsidered in terms of cultural factors. Countries which have historically formed part of the Germano-Austrian sphere of influence, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland (or at least the two thirds of it which were for a long time under Germano-Austrian control), and the western parts of the Ukraine and Romania fall roughly under that cultural umbrella and, at least culturally, are considerably closer, if not entirely under, the new conceptual term of Central Europe. The Germanic influences are present in many spheres: from aspects of education, to cuisine, to dress, and possibly to personal and work ethics. The former European parts of what was once the Ottoman Empire, such as Greece, Bulgaria, parts of Romania, Serbia, and the (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia have traditionally had great many similarities in terms of religion, lifestyle, governance, and being "little Byzantiums" before the Ottoman onslaught on them. This earns them the moniker "Southeastern Europe". What can thus legitimately be called today Eastern Europe are those parts of the former Soviet Union which do not culturally belong to Central Europe and what the Russians habitually refer to as the "Near Abroad", such as Belarus, most of the Ukraine, the European parts of Russia, and the enclave of Kaliningrad - these countries share a religion, their languages are mutually intelligible, their governance structure are based on the Russian model, as is their view of themselves as belonging to both worlds. The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia pose a bit of a classiification problem, as they have both Germanic and Scandinavian influences.

None of the former Warsaw Pact countries are worthy to be included with "Western civilization". 199.117.69.8 (talk) 18:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Sources, plz? Netrat (talk) 17:09, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Hahaha, From the very beginnings, Poland Hungary Bohemia and Croatia were always considered as parts of western culture and civilization. My illiterate friend these countries located in >>>Central Europe<<< --Celebration1981 (talk) 10:32, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Sources, plz? Always considered by whom? Netrat (talk) 17:09, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Hahaha Sources for a 600 years old fact (Central Europe)? What a laughable figure. Societies with Orthodox background = Eastern culture, Societies with Protestant & Catholic background = Western culture and civilization. --Celebration1981 (talk) 17:59, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic (Bohemia), and Croatia are clearly Western countries. The Baltic states are usually (perhaps the vast majority of the time?) considered Western as well. I think that some parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe are becoming part of the West as well (the increased unity of Europe is a major cause of this). Many of these countries are probably historically partly Western (in varying degrees). Wouldn't Romania be at least semi-Western for example? Parts of Ukraine and some areas in the Balkans (that are not already Western) might be merging with Western civilization also. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.23.115.144 (talk) 17:03, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

If you read the first line - Western Culture (sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization) refers to cultures of European origin. - you'll realise of course they are Western. Eastern culture refers to something completely different. Munci (talk) 19:45, 14 October 2009 (UTC)


No. It is not academic opinion. There are no Western scholars who consider the orthodox countries as parts of the western civilization. The Orthodox countries are often refered as transition civilizations between Europe and Asia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.44.3.16 (talk) 18:08, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, there are few scholars who do not consider the orthodox countries part of western civilization.--RLent (talk) 14:13, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

We then need to consider why Orthodox Christianity should be excluded from the definition of "Western", lest this appears entirely arbitrary. After the fall of Rome to the Goths, Western European civilisation went into the Dark Ages, whereas the Eastern Roman sphere suffered no such decline and the continuity with Antiquity there was unterrupted: Christianity was declared State religion by the Emperor in Constantinople; the Digest of Justinian was the continuous basis for the legal systems of the countries in the Byzantine sphere of influence (unlike in Western Europe, where Roman law was abandoned in favour of Germaninc and other tribal custom); Constantinople survived Rome for another millenium and maintained and continiously developed its traditions, albeit it often in a more formalistic manner. After Constantinople fell, the Byzantine (and that of the "little Byzantiums" under its cultural sphere of influence) aristocracy and intelligentsia emigrated to other Christian countries, such as what is today Italy, sparking an interest in Greco-Roman learning known as the European Renaissance, which brought back Roman law and art there and ended the Dark Ages. To thus discount those countries as Western is not historically accurate. The argument can work only if one solely concentrates on the "Second Dark Ages" (for want of a better term) that then happened in those countries once they were subjugated by a culture openly hostile to European values, virtues, and aesthetics; this is also, however, debatable, as most of those nations retained their European identity despite the conditions of being "dhimmi" and in the face of (sometimes forced) conversion. This leaves out Russia, of course, but its stance as being separate and unique is largely self-imposed. Russia can strongly be argued to not be Western for that reason alone and quite apart from the fact that culturally it inherited all the vices of Byzantium and the Golden Horde (in the Duchy of Moscow) with none of their virtues; had the Novgorod Republic prevailed in the battle of supremacy, Russia may well have ended up entirely in the Western sphere.

To just exclude Orthodox Christians from the definition of "Westerners" is formalistic and ignores the substance of these societies. If they are to be excluded from that definition, a better argument will need to be made. It might also be helpful to research the opinion of other scholars who are clearly non-Western (such as Islamic, African, or Far East) to ascertain where they would classify those countries, if the argument of their non-Westerners is to be sustained.


UP until 1204 and the sack of Constantinople, orthodox europe had always had very strong links with western Europe. During the Barbarian invasions, the Byzantine empire was heavily involved in the west (he supported the Franks and battled the Goths for example). Russian Kiev too had strong links with latin europe (a kievan princess even married the French king). During the crusades, the Byzantines and the crusaders, while often quarreling, fought on the same side against the muslims. latin and Greek orthodox areas were distinct parts of one single christian civilization, they both had a strong identity and a common legacy. The perception that orthodox countries are not western come from the fact that they were occupied by non-western powers for long (and Russia actually entered the realm of "western" european civilization in the 18th century). Arguably, this gap has been bridged and once again eastern and western Europe are both part of the same civilization (a word much more difficult to define now), though they both have a distinct flavor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.181.126.68 (talk) 18:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Indo-European ?[edit]

The term "Indo-European" in the European or western context is strictly a linguistic category - not a civilizational or cultural one - it merely refers to the fact that most modern European languages have their roots in a language presumed to have existed in central Asia a very long time ago. Max Muller exposed this sort of ignorant confusion of peoples,civilizations and languages a long time ago. Of course there were ideas - mainly religious - traded throughout the whole area spoken by these related languages, but also outside of them too. It is sickening to this shibboleth repear incorrectly used again and again in the wikipedia - for behind it lurks the old emotive nonsense of the "Aryan race".Provocateur (talk) 02:13, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

um, no, it is not racist to observe that the western cultures almost universally speak Indo-European languages. There are a precious few exceptions, Basque, Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian.

This doesn't mean that all IE speakers are also western. Not by a long shot. Most speakers of IE are clearly in the East, i.e. all speakers of Indo-Iranian, plus (less clearly) the Armenians.

There is no point in just godwining this by saying "Aryan race". The real point is that a good reference is needed which examines the "Indo-European" nature of the west, together with these restrictions and caveats. --dab (𒁳) 16:01, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Huntington's Map from the "Clash of Civilizations"[edit]

I have given reasons why these map does not belong in the Western culture article. Here are some of them:

1. The map is introduced without context as the first element in the article.
2. The map size is not appropriate, not of good quality to read.
3. Huntington is a controversial radical American political scientist, not an expert on world cultures.
4. The map is the product of the work of Huntington that is a highly controversial unproven thesis with many critics. It is a minority view that is presented out of proportion in the beggining of the article without any context.
5. The map is inconsistent with the general storyline of the article.
6. The map lists a mix of religion names, continent names, and national names. A cultural map may be included, but it should be authored by a recognized expert in world cultures, with a neutral worldview, from a peer reviewed reliable source.

I can go on but this is enough to start a discussion. --DTMGO (talk) 15:46, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

It seems pretty clear, reading this talk page, the article, and based on what I remember from my own crappy US Public High School History Classes, that there is no universally accepted (or even near-Universally accepted) definition of what countries and cultures are "Western" and which aren't. "Orthodox" culture, Latin America, each may or may not be, depending on who you talk to. Different answers also depend on if you're talking geo-political, cultural, or historical. In the absence of near-unanimity, it seems reasonable not to try to pick one over the other.
This map appears somewhat useful to me as one way of presenting one opinion. I would definitely include it somewhere. However, making it the lead figure gives too much prominence to this view as opposed to other competing views.
I suggest moving it to an appropriate section, giving it a caption explaining that this is one of many interpretations, and looking for other existing maps we can use to depict the other competing interpretations. Several maps which can be used to explain the differing opinions would actually be quite useful to our readers. But even if no other competing maps can be found, I recommend keeping this one, but below the fold, and with a caveat in the caption. --Floquenbeam (talk) 16:23, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

There are not exist such western scholars, who state that Orthodox culture is part of the western culture. --Celebration1981 (talk) 18:42, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

That might be true, I don't know, but are there Orthodox scholars, or any other scholars, who do say it? If so, then there's a dispute. I seem to recall there are some notable historians/philosophers who break the whole world down into "Western" and "Eastern" culture, in which case Orthodox cultures would fall in the western camp, am I wrong about that? Anyway, that's mostly for my curiosity, since that isn't really the crux of my argument. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:09, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Who have the right to decide what is western culture or not? Only the scholars of the west have the right. And it is the English Wikipedia.

"there is no universally accepted (or even near-Universally accepted) definition of what countries and cultures are "Western" and which aren't." It is the most laughable argument what I've ever heard. 1+1=2 3x3=9 that's are universally accepted. Only mathemathic is universally accepted. Roughly 95 percent of Physics and Chemistry are universally accepted (only quantum theory and particle and nuclear physics are disputed by scholars) The art subjects (the history the literature and the fine-arts political-science or sociology) are the most disputed themes amongst scholars. And therefore they are absolutly NON universally accepted. Moreover (!!!) If I folowed your train of thought , the writing of encyclopedias would be totally superfluous and mindless thing, because there are a lot of disputed things in this planet. (excluding the natural sciences).

Just a foretaste Differences between medieval west and orthodox east.


Medieval appearance of parliaments (the dietal-system), self-government like status of big royal/imperial cities, medieval appearance of banking systems and social effects and status of urban bourgeoisie, medieval appearance of universities and the medieval appearance of secular intellectuals, Philosophy: Scholasticism and humanist philosophy,the knight-culture and the effects of crusades in the Holy Land, medieval usage of Latin alphabet and medieval spread of movable type printing, The medieval western theatre: Mystery or cycle plays and morality passion plays, The architecture and fine-arts: Romanesque Gothic and Renaissance styles. --Celebration1981 (talk) 07:50, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

You don't see it as a tautology that the only people who should be allowed to define "Western culture" are people you call "Western scholars"? That's kind of begging the question. As I mentioned about, "medieval west vs. orthodox east" is not the only cultural division. You basically seem to be arguing that anything that does not match this definition is WP:FRINGE. I disagree, I think it is clear that other possible divisions are common enough that it isn't reasonable to discount them as obviously wrong. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:05, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Orthodox and Western christian civilization/model of development , it is an old well-known distribution for European continent, therefore it is NOT falls back on assertions. It was not only cultural difference, but strong technologic legal and administrative differences. --Celebration1981 (talk) 18:48, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

You don't appear to be addressing my comments, so I'll wait to see if anyone else has anything to say. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:01, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

The map is fine IMO, and some map is desperately needed so I am against removing it unless a better map from less controversial reputable source is supplied to replace it. I think it would be better to just signalize in the caption that the issue is controversial and that this is just one take on it. But this map is MUCH better then no map. To address your points: 1. The map is introduced without context as the first element in the article.

You are free to provide introduction or context, this is not an argument against the map itself.

2. The map size is not appropriate, not of good quality to read.

Size is fine IMO, although you may try to tune it somewhat if you think you can improve it.

3. Huntington is a controversial radical American political scientist, not an expert on world cultures.

It seems fitting that a member of western culture draws a map of it, no? But we are talking about the map not the author and the map seems fine to me. If you have any sourced criticisms of the map or the divisions it implies then supply them.

4. The map is the product of the work of Huntington that is a highly controversial unproven thesis with many critics. It is a minority view that is presented out of proportion in the beggining of the article without any context.

Once again, provide evidence to back your claims. I don't see why it should be so controversial, so far only a couple of people complained about it here.

5. The map is inconsistent with the general storyline of the article.

This can be solved by providing information in it's caption.

6. The map lists a mix of religion names, continent names, and national names. A cultural map may be included, but it should be authored by a recognized expert in world cultures, with a neutral worldview, from a peer reviewed reliable source.

Names are fine, they don't lead to confusion. There is no such thing as neutral worldview, you will find opposition to any idea you propose if you look hard enough.

So as I said the map may not be perfect but it is MUCH better then no map at all, any of it's shortcomings can be amended in the description and the article itself.Enemyunknown (talk) 05:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

The contribution of Arabs[edit]

The article is quite subjective, and fails to mention that it was the Arabs that translated and maintained the Greek scripts and writings into Arabic, Latin, Persian and other languages during the great translation movement . Some research on this issue will improve the neutrality of the article. --A Gooner (talk) 14:59, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Actually, at least in regard to Western culture, the importance of the Greek works in Arabic literature was not great. Sure, some works now only exists in Arabic translations, but over all the Byzantine Empire had a lot more influence regarding the survival of extant ancient Greek literature than the Arabic translations. --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:10, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I might add that some things which are at times mentioned in this context, such as the gift of "Arabic numerals", are in fact Hindu numericals which they stole. That the Europeans came in contact with the numberals from the Arabs first, because the Hindus were far away, is the reason we think of from 'from the Arabs' but that's actually a false view of history and it denies the Hindus their invention.
The overly eager wish of addiing Arab and Islamic influence in these discussions is mostly political and very contemporary, related to Huntington's works and the recent West/Islam tension. It's more often than not not entirely accurate or sometimes simply false.
Sure, there was Islamic presence in Europe but it was there by the sword, and unwanted. It wasn't invited because of intellectual admiration or curiosity. In fact, Aristotle was a greatly admired man in the Islamic world. I challenge anyone to come up with one Islamic philosopher which had a profound influence on Western(at that time European) thought.
I thought so. These disucssions are political in their nature and seek the alleviate contemporary fears and fashions. -- Anon (talk) 10:15, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

In fact, the influence of Averroes (Ibn Rushd)had a far more profound influence on European thought ( suffice it to mention his addressing the problem of reason and revelation)than Aristotle, and even the latter's legacy largely came to Europe in the former's interpretation. If you don't like political discussions, you'd better give up using the term "Western civilization" that is political par excellence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.191.241.225 (talk) 15:47, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree Averroes was very important in western culture's history. The Copernican revolution also appears to be based on islamic cosmology, and is of course also massively important. And Avicenna, a Persian, was one of the major sources on medicine for centuries. And so on. The idea that all this is something people made up to feel good is nonsense.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:23, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

The problem is not that this is seen as something made up to feel good. The problem is that the equally important source of knowledge that was Byzantium is totally downplayed. Also, while the Byzantine empire had a brilliant civilization, it is totally unknown (because it was christian, Greek and hence linked to Europe, if not totally european) today. The same for the conservation of ancient texts in western monasteries. And yes, this is entirely political. Even when we talk about the Renaissance, you'll always hear about Avicenna or Averroes, never of Gemistus Pletho for example, even though the latter actually lived within the western European society. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.181.126.68 (talk) 18:12, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

"stabilized" v. "unified"[edit]

This is easily one of the silliest editing disputes ever. On further reflection, neither statement is appropriate. The western world was far from stable during the dark ages, and given the various divisions, it's never been unified either. Besides the whole orthodox v. catholic v. protestant discussion, most definitions of the west include the middle east, where Islam (a western religion) has been dominant for centuries, the unification statement is clearly wrong. And I'm suspect the crusades had some unstabilizing effects.

The two edit summary comments of "a nucleus is already one" and "nuclei are by definition unified, though not always stable" strike me as nonsensical and possibly POV. Nucleus of what? Christianity? That's clearly not true for reasons given above.

There's some other POV material in the lede I'm going to clean up. Any legitimate comments/discussion is welcome, of course. TJ Black (talk) 07:06, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Evolution?[edit]

Evolution itself is a hotly debated issue in most schools and universities, i do not think it should be included as a main thesis as it would be choosing one side over another. Instead i think (if it is to remain) be redirected to Western scientific theorem contributions to give it's representation a more neutral view by insinuating it as a scientific theory, as opposed to scientific fact as it is currently represented as.

Evolution is not a highly debated theory. That's all there is to it, what would make you think it's debated? The fact that Glenn Beck doesn't believe it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ervin2 (talkcontribs) 07:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Empires[edit]

Why is the US represented to have/had a empire? Such accusations are extremely bias and normally associated with anti-American rhetoric. Personally i find what has been posted in the article as extremely inflammatory, not to mention against Wiki's stance on neutrality. All references to American "empires" should be taken down imminently. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.181.114.227 (talk) 02:12, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Western Culture - The culture of European peoples dah! White Culture[edit]

I know it may sound racist but... why not also acertain that Western culture is the culture produced by white peoples or European descended people? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.169.176.21 (talk) 13:16, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Because it isn't. Are Maoism and Jazz part of Western Culture? Was Averroism?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:19, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


If you understand White as European, then it's beyond silly to claim that Western culture wasn't created by Europeans. Yes, there was inspiration from other cultures but to claim that the primary development did not come from white Europeans is ignorance(or in some cases political indoctrination) at best. And if we deny this fact, and instead claim it's all a mix , then we are essentially denying there is a distinct Western culture created by Westerners, which in turn means there's no point even having a Wiki page on the subject if you're that culturually relativistic. Should we let objectivity rule or are we to politicise yet another aspect of the humanities? It's a tad pathetic to see how far some people are going in abject denial of objective reality.
Yet, I suspect the Andrew Lancaster's of the world would take great pains to claim the uniqueness of other civilizations(at least pre-Globalisation).
As for Maoism, it's just an offshoot of Marxism. And Jazz is music, which belongs to no civilization.--Anon (talk) 10:10, 1 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by A.Mayflower (talkcontribs)

Terminology -- cluttered sentence[edit]

Will whoever last edited the following sentence please take another whack at it -- and make it, you know, legible and meaningful ? Right now it's just a mess. Thank you.

Quote: In the Middle Ages, where Islam was contrasted to the West, it is of the Islamic Near East, having, since the time of Alexander the Great, been Hellenized, ruled by Rome and Constantinople and part of the Orthodox communion, was as much under the influence of Byzantine and Biblical-Christian history as "Christendom". (end quote) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.113.104.58 (talk) 17:43, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Politics: western bias?[edit]

"Despite the Western empires in the past, concepts of democracy and an emphasis on freedom has been seen as distinguishing Western peoples from non-western neighbors.[citation needed]"

what is "concepts of democracy"? and in which way western peoples has an emphasis on freedom? (would it be individualism?)

and, more importantly, who claims that those characteristics suffice for distinguishing westerners and non-westerners? this feels like a bold claim.

in which way the past empires opposes this notion? what about current western kingdoms? like, the king of sweden - would sweden be less democratic because it is a monarchy?

i feel this should be properly sourced, or removed.

"In the Middle Ages and early modern times, the concept of a separation of Church and state developed, allowing for the development of more distinctive political norms, such as the doctrine of the separation of powers, which make modern Western democracy distinct from democracy in general."

this feels like mental gymnastics. is it claiming that the invention of a secular government should be credited to western people? if yes i demand sources.

anyway, the example given is a bit odd. in the middle ages, some dissidents were, uh, burned alive. (some of them campaigned for a secular state, but it isn't exactly surprising. lots of theocracies has their own secular dissidents. and some countries regarded as being western, like the UK, has an official religion)

the whole section is poorly sourced. but worse than that, it depicts the united nations general assembly to illustrate this point. this is outrageous. i can't correlate it, and the text doesn't link UN to western culture at all. please clarify. --187.40.222.252 (talk) 21:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes some of these dots need better connecting. (That does not mean they are wrong.) Any concrete proposals? :) Just on the one bit where you express a clear doubt, concerning the separation of church and state as an idea for something to encourage, the point being made as I understand it is not that the Middle Ages were great, but rather that the problems of the Middle Ages caused by the interaction of church and state were unusual, and led to unusual results. For one thing no real unified empire was ever able to form. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:55, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Despite the Western empires in the past, concepts of democracy and an emphasis on freedom has been seen as distinguishing Western peoples from non-western neighbors.[citation needed]"

"what is "concepts of democracy"? and in which way western peoples has an emphasis on freedom? (would it be individualism?)

and, more importantly, who claims that those characteristics suffice for distinguishing westerners and non-westerners? this feels like a bold claim.

in which way the past empires opposes this notion? what about current western kingdoms? like, the king of sweden - would sweden be less democratic because it is a monarchy?

i feel this should be properly sourced, or removed."

I think it is quite clear. Nowadays, almost all European and north American countries (in fact all except some Russian-influenced ones) are liberal democracies, a regime that is not widespread elsewhere. This is clearly something that distinguish the west from the rest of the world. As for the separation of the church and the state, it took several forms over history. In the late middle ages, it was not secularism but a simple break from Rome : the states did not separate itself from religion, but it made religion one of its components, hence subordinating religion to political power. Complete separation only started later, but already in early modern europe, the idea of a theocracy was just ruled out (except for the papal states of course). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.181.126.68 (talk) 18:49, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Communism[edit]

I'm surprised that Communism is not a part of this article. Communism was(and is) after all a major part of Europe and the US if you count the Red Scare. A number of European countries were once under soviet rule, and many(even Canada) have communist parties. Not only that, but it's most significant figure, Karl Marx, was a German. It should at least get a mention somewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ervin2 (talkcontribs) 08:16, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Computer science[edit]

I have my doubts about keeping this section; more trimming is definitely in order. While the recent history of computing hardware, computer networking, and the study of algorithms had significant presence in the West, it also had roots elsewhere, starting with the abacus. Computer science now informs a global industry, with players worldwide, and cannot be said to be exclusively central to any notion of "Western culture." __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. I can see scope for including something. For example the internet has had a role something like pop music "gloablization". But the new section strays quite far from topic.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:50, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Also agree. I introduced a new talk section below without seeing your post here. Anyway, I think computer science deserves a good paragraph or two integrated into the Science and Technology section, but as it stands the section is unnecessarily detailed. Rjh602 (talk) 14:56, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Also agree. The computer section is far too detailed. And many of the topics are too recent. It is poorly written besides. I think we should scrap it.DonSiano (talk) 17:29, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I just removed the entire rambling (particle physics?) poorly sourced wall of text. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 17:46, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Basic premises and outline of the article[edit]

Okay, some thoughts. I'd like to ask for feedback.

There is a great deal of cultural relativism in the initial statements. The first claiming that it has it's roots in Mesopotamia. While it is true that Mesopotamia is the original source of civilization as most understand it, it's far too broad to be the root of any civilization in a distinct sense.

Let me draw a paralell: All of us are Africans in our heritage and I think it would be ignorant to claim otherwise. Yet, most of us(as I am assuming most of us are not of modern African heritage) wouldn't call ourselves Africans but Indians, Europeans, Americans, Latinos, and a whole host of other etiquettes.

My simple point is that the Western civilization/culture become distinct at some point and if it did not it would not exist. It's that simple. Mesopotamia was also the inspiration/root of many other civilizations, some very shortlived, but that's the same logical fallacy of explaining a newer phenomenon from a position where that phenomenon didn't exist and none of it's contemporaries.

Therefore, the roots began in Greece, and I think this is not exactly a controversial statement to make. This does not mean it sprung up in Greece in a vacuum, but there was something which seperated Greece and then developed into what we now call Western culture/civilization. It spread throughout Europe but was mainly confined there for thousands of years before the year 1500 AD(roughly speaking).

So my proposal is to start with this. That there were inspirations from Babylon and other civilizations does not mean more for the West(and other distinct civilizations which also had it's root in Mesopotamia) than the claim that 'we're all Africans'(which we are)despite the fact that there are clear cultural, ethnic and religious differences between a Taoist Chinese of Han ethnicity and a Berber Muslim in Algeria. The same is true to civilizations. Cultural relavtivism is a threat to accuarcy, but I'd like to maintain that I'm not totally opposed to the mention of Babylon and previous civilizations as they did indeed have an impact but to go as far as say 'the roots' casts a web far too wide in my opinion, but again, feedback on this would be welcome.

The second point is the overly insistance on contemporary matters. Especially the jittery talk of Arab/Islamic input. It's there but it's limited at best. Military expansion is not the same as shared cultural heritage. Simply because Muslim armies conquered parts of Europe does not mean that besides landmarks and muslim rulers, there was significant cultural fusion.

If there was, the contemporary tensions(which are very old in their roots) wouldn't be felt. And we would learn a far greater deal of Islamic philosophers than we are about Plato, Socrates and more modern Enlightenment types(Voltaire etc).

The third notion is the overly focus on, yet again, contemporary issues. This time the great migrations of our time and globalization. While I share the notion that this will either completely change what we now view as Western culture(or if we are to believe some, destroy it forever), it's too early to tell. And on the same note, a culture takes a long time to develop.

This is a process which will take hundreds of years, or more, if it happens at all. The article is concerned in the totality of the culture and that requires a total view of history, not the last 50 years. To bring up a very, very recent phenomenon as Globalization as a determining factor on a 2000+ year old civilzation strikes me as careless as best, and probably motivated by contemporary trends and politeness more than factual reality and historical records.

The culture has to be seen and writted about on the basis of it's long history, not it's contemporary, daily, political climate which is changing by the year.

(Please excuse any grammatical errors, I am running late. I hope my message is well-written enough).

P.S. As an example, I think this article is clear(er) on many of these points: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Western_civilization

Although it's solely focused on the past, some of the points I raised were related to the historical account of this article so it is, to a large degree, relevant to quite some points (though not all).

D.S.


Regards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 100 (talkcontribs) 14:47, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Can you keep talk page postings a little bit more compact? Let me try to answer in a compact way:
  • Concerning Mesopotamia, the only claim being made is the one you agree to, which is that western civilization can be traced back that far and no further.
  • Concerning Greece, you seem to commit the same logical error you said you were worried about concerning Mesopotamia. Why pick just Greece? Ancient Greece, like Mesoptamia, is NOT modern western culture anyway, just an ancestor of it. But do we need to pick one most important starting point? Our style on WP aims to be neutral, so I suggest we just list the influences out and be careful about judgements.
  • Concerning islamic influences, I would say you are taking a "relativist" stance. We speak for example of the Copernican revolution, but Copernicus' predecessors were not the Greeks, but more directly Middle Eastern astronomers. And renaissance philosophy was what it was more because of Averroes perhaps more than any other single influence. (Aristotle had been known in a specifically western way throughout the Middle Ages.) I am not going to exaggerate in the other direction, but to imply that we should treat all islamic contact as military, and that we should in fact avoid mention of the obvious cultural links between what were once different parts of the Roman empire, is clearly not something we'd do for any good objective reason I can think of.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:18, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Criticism 2[edit]

Can someone add a "Criticism" section? Seeing as how "western culture" has ceased to be only in the Western hemisphere ("modernization and westernization are linked I believe as said above) criticisms of modern societies value/structures seem appropriate. There's plenty of drawback to modernization; environmental, health, length of work day. These are arguable I suppose but we should have an article which mentions the many critical evaluations of Western culture, I don't think it's necessary to analyze their validity, but it makes sense to put a section for popular criticisms. This stub at the very least should be linked: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Western_culture

However I do not know how to link it appropriately.

155.247.134.211 (talk) 22:05, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Cyrillic[edit]

quote: "Generalized usage of some form of the Latin or Greek alphabet. The latter includes the standard cases of Greece and other derived forms, such as Cyrillic,..." Such a claim shows bias as it gives an impression of the Latin alphabet clearly not being derived from the western variant of the Greek alphabet (via Etruscan), whilst Cyrillic being a mere variant of the Greek alphabet.

Computer Science Section?[edit]

Hi Wikifriends,

I'm new here, so please don't bite me....

Does anyone else think that the Computer Science section is a little too in-depth? Frankly, I don't think computer science is deserving of its own section, but should be integrated into the science and technology section. Readers could click on the link for more. But right now the article delves into an overly detailed history of things such as the GNU project. What say ye? Rjh602 (talk) 14:44, 17 May 2011 (UTC)Rjh602

Dubious lede[edit]

"Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of Indo-European origin"

Aha, so India, Iran and any culture area that traces much of its heritage to the culture of some people speaking an Indo-European language fall squarely within Western Civilization? By that criterion, even Afghanistan would historically form a Western culture (though the Talibans wouldn't). Educated Persians are quite aware of that they are not Arabs and have a pre-islamic heritage. And is the Mahabharata (with its background in Vedic, Aryan mythology and possible parallels to a wider range of old proto-IE myths) a monument of Western literature?

Sorry, this is untenable. The limits of Western civilization - like those of the Near East - depend on cultural perceptions and history, not on who belonged to certain racial or linguistic groups, or who has descended from such a group.Strausszek (talk) 12:48, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Moreover, Finland and Hungary are not Western if we go by the definition in the intro. Nyttend (talk) 22:00, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

section "Scientific and technological inventions and discoveries" should be removed[edit]

That section is an incoherent collection of random tidbits.

Instead of a list, after the initial phrase, we might analyze how renaissance and enlightenment led to rise of rational thought and blah blah, and how scientific revolution took over. Tell about French revolution and how the bourgoisie got out of the yoke of hereditary (military) power of aristocrats.

Now the whole section just sounds like "yeah we invented like microwave oven and coca-cola, think about it, you'd starve to death if it wasn't for the West, bitches".

Just my fifty cents. --Sigmundur (talk) 15:20, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

English culture verses Western Culture[edit]

In many modern usages, the term 'Western Culture / systems' is used as a synonym for British or English culture/systems; especially in Asian nations. The finer difference between English culture and continental European culture, systems, and historical experiences has to be marked and discussed. For instance, most of the nations of the European continent does not have much to do with many of the items discussed as Western. Beyond that there is a considerable difference in the quality of culture, scientific achievements and social communications systems within the mentioned areas like Americas etc. Such nations as US, and Canada (English systems) are considerably different from the nations of the south Americans continent, where Continental European, and not British historical influence was there. --Ved from Victoria Institutions (talk) 03:36, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Bring sources for your claims or this will be closed per WP:FORUM. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 07:24, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion your retort, Seb az86556, is high-handed, especially as the article as a whole is so lacking in any notable citations. The concept, from the title of one of its two primary sources (on Westerncultureglobal.org!), that it is possible to differentiate between "Western" and "Non-Western" cultures in anything other than very general terms seems moot at best. In my opinion it is risible and the article should be dramtically reduced in size. It seems little more than an inflated definition that is open to debate. LookingGlass (talk) 10:05, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

2nd paragraph syntax[edit]

I am posting this from my phone so I apologize in advance. The second paragraph if the article has some syntactical problems which I think are the result if some rearranging efforts. I will post a copy here.

Western culture stems from two sources: the Classical Period of the Graeco-Roman era and the influence of Christianity Which been an important part of the shaping of Western civilization, at least since the 4th century. [1][2] . The artistic, philosophic, literary, and legal themes and traditions; the heritages of especially Latin, Celtic, Germanic, and Hellenic ethnic or linguistic groups; as well as a tradition of rationalism in various spheres of life, developed by Hellenistic philosophy, Scholasticism, Humanisms, the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment; and including, in political thought, widespread rational arguments in favour of freethought, human rights, equality and democracy.

The first sentence does not have a period after it, the second sentence has two periods, one before the citation and one after. The second sentence also begins with the word "which", but in such a way as it should not be a separate sentence perhaps. The third sentence, while very long and having many semicolons, does not actually contain a predicate verb at all. I would attempt to fix these errors myself, but just copying the text, and typing this, is already a tedious endeavor. So I hope that someone on a computer will see this and have a few minutes to fix that. Thank you. 66.87.72.232 (talk) 00:28, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Christianity started with Judaism![edit]

The idea that Christianity is heavily intertwined with Western culture is an interesting idea, with much basis in fact. However, many of the ideas that the early Christians proffered forth had been Jewish ideas, based on the culture of the monotheistic Levant, and the ethics of that culture. Also, mind if I point out that Jews have, throughout the history of the Western world, communicated and interacted with Europeans and other Mediterranean people, and thus Jews have left an impact on Western culture - one which includes Christianity. — Rickyrab. Yada yada yada 08:01, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Propose a split – "Western Civilization"[edit]

I would like to propose a split between Western culture and Western civilization.

Simple reason: the latter concept includes the politics of the West, including colonialism, the Cold War, Western economic dominance of the world through capitalism and free trade, the current war on terrorism and even US dominance of the internet and mass media. Let's discuss this, ladies and gentlemen! BigSteve (talk) 09:56, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

I would endorse the split and agree with your arguments. --Newchildrenofthealmighty (talk) 15:41, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Mexico is too different to be western[edit]

mexico has its own native architecture and clothes,plus the indigenous gene is dominant racially,i can't see a mexican city as the same culture or race as a german city — Preceding unsigned comment added by 187.192.41.57 (talk) 23:33, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

As Wikipedia editors we don't insert our own opinions into the articles. We need to provide sources for whatever we add or subtract. Jojalozzo 18:58, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
One criticism of the idea of Western culture is the fact that all countries and cultures are unique. Mexico and Germany are very different countries, but they both fall under the same category. Andrew327 22:49, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

I disagree, Mexico has the same western values and history as a country like Spain and Portugal. Although Mexico has a rich Pre-Hispanic history and culture, one could argue that Mexico was westernized the day it was colonized and became the viceroyalty of New Spain. One does not have to be of "pure" European ancestry to be considered part of Western Culture. — Preceding unsigned comment added by B575 (talkcontribs) 03:08, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Andrewman327 is right that we need to be careful to use sources. It is true that western culture does not mean the same thing in all contexts, but then we need to be careful to explain any such variant definitions in their proper contexts.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:49, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

By that logic, as the United States has a mixed-race president, most of its larger cities have white minorities, and its most widely disseminated music is rap, its no longer "Western" either. BTW, there is no "indigenous gene." 70.115.171.96 (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 14:30, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Suggest to protec Article from vandalism[edit]

I suggest to protect this article from vandalism by contributors with personal agendas with no regard for relevance or accuracy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by B575 (talkcontribs) 19:48, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Multiple Issues :- NPOV, OR, and Lacking in notable references and citations - reduce[edit]

The article as a whole lacks any notable citations for the primary statements in its introduction. Two references cited are: Westerncultureglobal.org - a website with the mission of "Promoting the ideas and values of Western culture worldwide", and Livescience.com - an online popular-science magazine. The concept of the article cited and published by Westerncultureglobal.org, suggests it is possible to definitively differentiate between "Western" and "Non-Western" cultures in anything other than very general terms. The article does nothing to change this idea being moot at best. As a whole the article does not present an NPOV and appears to be or reads as primarily OR. In my opinion the article should be dramatically reduced in size as currently it seems little more than the extreme inflation of a populist and ethno/culturo-centric conceptualisation. LookingGlass (talk) 10:55, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Religion section[edit]

The following paragraph is in the "Religion" section and deals with muslim influences in europe. It seems however to be mostly about war/interstate conflict, where granted one side may have been mostly muslim and the other mostly christian, but have less to do with islam as a religion in the west. It should not be in the "Religion" section, possibly not in this article at all, but rather in some article concerning arab/muslim influncences in europe. It is rather specific on certain events compared to the rest of the "Religion" section, which provides more of an overarching view of religious history in the west. it also has no references.

My suggestion is to remove it from the section.


"In the 8th century, Muslim forces pushed beyond Spain into Aquitaine, in southern France, but suffered a temporary setback when defeated by Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, at the Battle of Toulouse (721). In 725 Muslim forces captured Autun in France. The town would be the easternmost point of expansion of Umayyad forces into Europe; just seven years later in 732, the Umayyads would be forced to begin their withdrawal to al-Andalus after facing defeat at the Battle of Tours by Frankish King Charles Martel. From 719 to 759, Septimania was one of the five administrative areas of al-Andalus. The last Muslim forces were driven from France in 759, but maintained a presence, especially in Fraxinet all the way into Switzerland until the 10th century. At the same time, Muslim forces managed to capture Sicily and portions of southern Italy, and even sacked Rome in 846 and later sacked Pisa in 1004." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.251.234.190 (talk) 00:53, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

disagree, just to remove. Please add relevant text to make the muslim influences in europe more encompassing and add lacking souce notification. Grsd (talk) 12:53, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Differences between Western Christian (Catholic protestant) WESTERN civilization , and Orthodox semi-asian or Eurasian EASTERN civilization[edit]

It is not a secret in history, that countries civilizations are/were not in the same level of development. It is well-known that Western and Central Europe, ( the so-called Western civilization) was always more developed than Orthodox Slavic or Eastern European civilization. The cultural the societal-system and the economical civilizational (and technological) differences between Orthodox countries and Western Christian (Catholic-Protestant) countries were similar great, as the differences between Northern America (USA Canada) and Southern- (Latino) America.


MEMENTO: Western things which were not existed in orthodox world:


1. POLITICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL development: Medieval appearance of parliaments (a legislative body(!), DO NOT CONFUSE with the “councils of monarchs” which existed since the beginning of human history), the estates of the realm, the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners,


2. SELF GOVERNMENT status of big royal/imperial cities, (local government systems of cities), which are the direct ancestors of modern self/local governmental systems.


3. ECONOMY: The medieval appearance of banking systems and social effects and status of urban bourgeoisie, the absolute dominance of money-economy (when the vast majority of trade based on money and the taxes customs duties were collected in money) from the 12th -13th century, instead of the former primitive bartel-based commerce (barter dominated the economies orthodox world until the 17-18th centuries.)


4. HIGHER EDUCATION: The medieval appearance of universities and the medieval appearance of secular intellectuals,


5. CULTURE: Knights, the knight-culture, chivalric code, (and the technological effects of crusades from the Holy Land,) Music and literature: courtly love, troubadours, Gregorian chant, Ars nova, Organum, Motet, Madrigal, Canon and Ballata, Liturgical drama, Novellas, medieval western THEATER: Mystery or cycle plays, morality and passion plays, which developed into the renaissance theater, the direct ancestor of modern theaters. Philosophy: Scholasticism and humanist philosophy,

6. The medieval usage of Latin alphabet and medieval spread of movable type printing,

7. TECHNOLOGY: The guild system is an association of artisans or merchants, which organized the training education, and directed master's exam system for artisians. Due to the compulsory foreign studies of the artisian master's candidates, the guilds played key role in the fast spread of technologies and industrial knowledge in the medieval Western World.

8. The defence systems & fortifications: The spread of stone/brick castle defense -systems, the town-walls of western cities from the 11th century. (In the orthodox world, only the capital cities had such a walls . The countries of the Balkan region and the territory of Russian states fell under Ottoman/Mongolian rule very rapidly - with a single decesive open-field battle - due to the lack of the networks of stone/brick castles and fortresses in these countries. The only exception was the greek inhabited Byzantine territories which were well fortified.)

9. FINEARTS and ARCHITECTURE: western architecture, sculpture paintings and fine-arts: the Romanesque style, the Gothic style and the Renaissance style. The orthodox church buildings and „palaces(?)” were very little, they had primitive structure and poor decorations, their style were influenced by non-European arabic and persian influenced Byzantine ornamentics.


The renaissance & humanism , the reformation and the enlightenment did not influenced/affected the Orthodox (Eastern European) countries. Before 1870, the industrialization that had developed in Western and Central Europe and the United States did not extend in any significant way to the rest of the world. In Eastern Europe, industrialization lagged far behind, and started only in the 20th century.--Barculency (talk) 07:51, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Dealing with OR and referencing issues (tags)[edit]

I will begin to keep an eye on this article, and will look to improve or replace the bad references, so we can eventually remove the article tags. This is not a primary area of my expertise, so I strongly invite others, and in particular experts, to do the same.

Meanwhile, I will do some good-natured reverting, day to day, when people add material without citation. (The best time to add a citation is immediately; it is the only efficient, and fully honest and accurate source-assignment process, because anyone trying to reference another editor's material post hoc can only guess where the material might have come, and so spends further time to produce a less than accurate attribution.) Note, verifiable with no original research, is a formal criteria of good article status.

As well, in my experience, when one goes to sources to affirm presuppositions en route to editing, the source consultation can actually change that material that is introduced—because, apart from true subject matter experts immersed in the same material day after day, ones memory of the factual details on a subject clearly fade with distance from the immersion in the source of the facts. It cannot be our aim to make WP a collection of likely true generalisms—which is the path taken when material is added off top of head, without sources, by non-experts—rather, the aim is that this eventually be a good article, a contributor to this being an encyclopedia of useful, relevant, sourced, factual information.

So, look for reversions, and for further petitions here for particular sections to begin receiving attention, so this moves from being a repository for passing, unsourced editorial thoughts, however true and eventually desirable they are, to follow the long hard road of making this a good article.

Leprof 7272 (talk) 17:13, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Source review begun[edit]

I am beginning a review of the sources, for quality, dead links, bias, etc. Please be patient. This will take weeks to complete.

I would not already that while this is an area of innumerable texts and scholarly tomes, the sources cited for introductory material are web-based and decidedly not scholarly.

In addition, some of these sources are better used as way points to good material, than as sources themselves. See this early article source, and scroll down to better sources that it cites ([7]).

Finally, some of these sources are clearly biased, e.g., while it may have some usable material, the foregoing source clearly has pro-capataism and objectivist biases, and so should be replaced by a better source.

So, please be patient, but also expect some sources will be in-line labeled for what they are, either incomplete (if I cannot easily complete them), or far enough sub-par that note should be made.

Leprof 7272 (talk) 17:38, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

First five references are now as complete as they can be made. Two are not good sources, three are good sources, but lack page numbers. Leprof 7272 (talk) 18:14, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi Leprof, thank you for your note on changing the article but I don't see here the consensus you mention. It was thoughtful to contact those who have been interseted enough to comment here. It is no guarantee of any particular reaction to the changes that you are working on but as you're proposed edits would not substantively change the article I can't see any problem. Having said that, the references you cite as being "good", at the bottom of the web page you provide a link to, do not seem so to me as they appear to be campaigning political publications.
In my opinion the problem with the article is that is unclear from the outset what its subject is. At present it states that it is concerned with anything and everything that has: "some origin or association with Europe". This is hopelessly broad. The only way I can see to focus the article is to concern it with those things that differentiate it from socio-cultural systems of, for instance, the Orient, Middle-East, Africa, and South America. LookingGlass (talk) 11:40, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
To take your points in order, briefly: (1) The only consensus I refer to is that there is a sourcing issue, and an OR issue, and that these need to be addressed. This conclusion is based on a longstanding tag, and on perusal of recurring themes in the talk that regard the poor quality of sourcing. I am addressing no other matter with the article, though there are many issues, including overarching larger issues, as you have noted.
(2) We are called on to edit boldly, and while my changes will not be, editors should be encouraged to edit boldly, especially when facing a poorer quality article. Having said this, my edits are not bold edits, yet.
(3) What I am addressing in my first pass is to complete the references in place. In the recent editing of the five I make only superficial claim regarding these original references (two bad, three good), and none regarding quality on the whole—quite the contrary, earlier, I generally called the bulk of them poor quality, if you read my earlier Talk section. The only firm claim I now make (and then, only for refs. 1-5) is that what was unverifiable is now verifiable, and so now fully accessible (as much as possible, not lacking usual full citation content, and therefore less susceptible than bare URLs to becoming useless). So each of the first five sources can be easily reviewed for adequacy as a source, for whether the content derived from them is verifiable using the source, etc.
(4) Again, I have dealt only with citations 1-5. If these are "campaigning political publications", then they were before I arrived, and now can be clearly seen as such, and can be replaced with good citations. However, you may be referring to citations other than those already worked on.
(5) The only opinion I will state about your substantive final comment is that the way to move the article in the right direction is to begin with good sources. Find 3-4 graduate or upper division undergraduate sources or other good secondary works that define the title term, and use these to create a well sourced definition paragraph/section, and a new lede (introduction). After doing this, you have a basis to move the rest of the article toward the well sourced definition.
Bottom line, as long as the article subject is defined by sources that are second rate, not generally scholarly (e.g., most web sources), or not representative of the preponderance of academic thought on the subject—an issue I note in the Talk section above—the article will remain a hodgepodge, without the guidance of a new direction. Le Prof 64.134.172.255 (talk) 22:29, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────From the tone of your comments regarding my reply to you, I get the feeling you took exception, as there is nothing constructive or helpful I can find in what you wrote. I remind you, again, even though it is tautological, that I replied to you because you contacted me. That is all. You now have my comments on your proposals so that seems to be an end to it. The confusions you have with my comments I cannot follow but notwithstanding this I feel sure you will do whatever you feel right. LookingGlass (talk) 22:24, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Middle East and India[edit]

Currently the article states:

The term "Middle East", in the mid-19th century, included the territory east of the Ottoman Empire but West of China - i.e. Greater Persia and Greater India, but is now used synonymously with: "Near East" in most languages.

Where in British English of the mid-19th century was India described as bing in the Middle East? -- PBS (talk) 10:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

A Google book search of "Middle East" India does not seem to throw up much. Indeed although I have not looked in detail at all the books returned, middle east and near east seem to be used as descriptors of places from any given point eg "the mines near east of the settlement". However searches of Far east throws up for example

There are Other books in the search also use the use the term Far East to mean British territories in what is commonly referred to today as South East Asia.

So I think that some strong evidence needs to be presented to support the sentence in the article, that the current definition given above is accurate.


Indeed the whole paragraph of which the above is one sentence is very questionable.

As Europe discovered the wider world, old concepts adapted..

What do the Wikipedia editors of the paragraph think that the Dutch the British and others were doing in the Indies before 1900? An edition of The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo published in 1858 and edited by Hugh Murray, has a footnote on page 285

We have had occasion to observe the wide extension given to the name of India. Here are clearly distinguished three regions so named: the Greater, including Hindostan and Southern Persia; the Lesser, or the country beyond the Ganges; the Middle, meaning Abyssinia. Mr. Marsden has found, in the early travellers, Conti and Barbosa, nearly the same limits and divisions applied to this celebrated name. Indeed, in the popular language of Europe, the term East Indies is still applied to all the southern coasts of Asia, exclusive of China; East being evidently added to distinguish it from the region since discovered and named the West Indies. The islands here mentioned are supposed by Mr. Marsden to be the very sub groups of the Maldives and Laccadives. He is doubtless so far correct; but considering the extension of the north eastward, it seems probable that the Oriental Archipelago is also included, especially when we find the mention of kingdoms in these islands. In Ramusio, Zinaba is Zampa (Tsiompa), the first kingdom reached after leaving China, while Montifi is Murphili, the name given in that edition to Masulipatam.

The footnote covers this passage:

XXXVII.—The Islands in the Indian Sea. You must know I have described only its noblest kingdoms and isles ; those that make the flower of the region, and to which the rest are mostly subject. No man could enumerate all the islands; they are estimated at 12,700, inhabited and uninhabited, according to the writings of the most skilful mariners. In the Greater India, which extends from Maabar to Kesmacoran, are thirteen very great kingdoms, of which I have described ten. The Lesser India, stretching from Zinaba to Montifi, contains eight, and this is exclusive of numerous others that are in the islands.

So it seems that even in the time of Marco Polo, Europeans differentiated between China and the Indies.

-- PBS (talk) 10:26, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

I propose merging Criticism of Western Culture with Western Culture. Criticism of Western culture is a tiny 123 words, having it have its own article is not needed. Bryce Carmony (talk) 23:50, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

I agree with this, as long as it isn't given its own separate section (WP:CSECTION, WP:UNDUE). I would also note that the article was originally created by a long-term problematic editor who was later indefinitely topic-banned from "all controversial articles and discussions," so the content may need checking. Sunrise (talk) 00:45, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Oppose. From Criticism of Western Culture (and this is about a quarter of the article): "Criticism of Western culture is any and all criticism directed toward the modern Western thought and lifestyle. It can be seen as a part of the larger clash of civilizations,[1] as that revealed by Joseph Conrad in his novel, Heart of Darkness." This is absolutely nonsense. There is definitely something to be made of an article by that name, but the current one is pure nonsense with dubious sources (for example citation 1 and 2 of the quote I provided). I don't think this short but terrible mess needs to be included in this article. The Western Culture article is far from perfect, to put it mildly, but I don't think it will be particularly constructive to merge it with another mess. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:51, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I just came back from going through that article and I could find no salvageable content, so I've redirected it. There are a few sources that I think might be useful so I'm adding them here:
  • The Clash of Civilizations?, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993
  • Kosmin, Barry A. "Contemporary Secularity and Secularism." Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives. Ed. Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. Hartford, CT: Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), 2007.
  • The Secularization Debate Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, Sacred and Secular. Religion and Politics Worldwide, Cambridge University Press, 2004. Chapter 1.
--Sunrise (talk) 01:15, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree with with your decision. As I stated the subject of the article is definitely of high interest, and upon further inspection the citations you have salvaged does indeed seem very apt and applicable for an Criticism of Western Culture Article. There should be tonnes of reliable sources for such a subject, and I must admit I am genuinely surprised at the state of the article previously so named considering the source situation. --Saddhiyama (talk) 01:27, 14 March 2015 (UTC)