On the Roads to Modernity: Conscience, Science, and Civilizations: Selected Writings by Benjamin Nelson, with a New Introduction

Overview

This book contains highly original essays on the sweep of Western civilization from the middle ages to the present, including such topics as conscience and usury, "probabilism" in science and theology, systems of spiritual direction, Max Weber and economic development. The author and editor explore issues in the comparative history of science and the riveting question of why modern science arose only in the West and not in China or the Muslim world. It is a continuation of the challenging civilizational agenda ...

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Overview

This book contains highly original essays on the sweep of Western civilization from the middle ages to the present, including such topics as conscience and usury, "probabilism" in science and theology, systems of spiritual direction, Max Weber and economic development. The author and editor explore issues in the comparative history of science and the riveting question of why modern science arose only in the West and not in China or the Muslim world. It is a continuation of the challenging civilizational agenda set out by Max Weber's writings on the world religions, including the fate and vicissitudes of the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Nelson had much to say about processes of universalization, now studied as globalization.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739172940
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 12/8/2011
  • Pages: 366
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Nelson was a wide ranging New York intellectual, trained at Columbia in medieval history, who wrote a classic study, The Idea of Usury. He became a sociologist and continued to explore large issues in philosophy, psychoanalysis and the construction of systems of spiritual direction. He taught at the University of Chicago, at Minnesota, and at the New School for Social Research. He also served as editor of many books in the famous Harper & Row paperback series of classic authors.

Toby E. Huff is a research associate at Harvard University and Chancellor Professor Emeritus at UMass Dartmouth. He is the author of Max Weber and the Methodology of the Social Sciences (1984), The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West (2nd ed. Cambridge 2003); Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution. A Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2010) as well as co-editor with Wolfgang Schluchter of Max Weber and Islam (1999). He has lectured in Europe, Asia and across the Muslim world.

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Table of Contents

Preface
On Life's Way: A Biographical Sketch
On The Road to Modernity
Acknowledgments
Introduction to the Reprinted Edition
Part I. Introduction
Chapter 1: On the Origins of Modernity: The Author's Point of View
Part II. Conscience Cultural Systems, and Directive Structures
Chapter 2: Cultural Cues and Directive Systems
Chapter 3: Self Images and Systems of Spiritual Direction
Chapter 4: Conscience and the Makings of Early Modern Cultures: Beyond Max Weber
Chapter 5: Civilizational Complexes and Intercivilizational Encounters
Part III. Comparative Studies of Science in Historical and Civilizational Perspectives
Chapter 6: On the Shoulders of Giants: The Comparative Historical Sociology of "Science"
Chapter 7: Sources of "Probabilism" and "Anti-Probabilism" in 16th and 17th Century Science
Chapter 8: The Early Modern Revolution in Science and Philosophy
Chapter 9: Certitude and the Books of Scripture, Nature and Conscience
Chapter 10: Sciences and Civilizations, "East" and "West": Joseph Needham and Max Weber
Part IV. Civilizational Analysis and the Study of Existences, Experiences and Expressions
Chapter 11: On the Structures of Consciousness and the Omnipresence of the Grotesque
Chapter 12: Eros, Nomos, Polis: Shifting Balances of the Structures of Existence
Chapter 13: Sociology and Civilizational Analysis: A Reply to Friends and Critics
Epilogue: Priests, Prophets, Machines, Futures: 1202, 1848, 1984, 2001
Appendix— Our Ecological Crisis

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