The Crisis of Reason and Arab Intellectual Underdevelopment from the Perspective of Fuad Zackaria

mohammad khalid shiyab


According to Fuad Zackaria, the crisis of Arab Reason and its intellectual underdevelopment lies in the Arabs' ahistoricist view of the past. This view manifests itself in many forms, foremost amongst which are the prevalence of the religious mentality and the absence of the critical rationalist attitude, both of which are intimately tied to absolutism in the Arab world, as well as to the wide cultural gap separating us from our past. The ahistoricist attitude, which has utilized reason's self-critique to dismantle the independence of Arab Reason, has prevented Arab Reason from crossing over to modernist rationalism, which is based on the thinking cogito and on creativity and intellectual independence from doctrinal commands, be they religious, political or ideological. On this basis, Arab reason must, if it is to transcend its crisis, seriously engage itself in modernism-- its humanism, secularism and rationalism, which are the grounds of real democracy.


intellectual underdevelopment, crisis.


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