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Is the world civilized? Yes or no answer. Please provide information to support your...

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lshenkman | Student | Honors

Posted October 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM via web

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Is the world civilized? Yes or no answer. Please provide information to support your response. Thank you!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM (Answer #1)

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There are at least two ways to answer this question.

On the one hand, we can say that the world is undoubtedly civilized.  We can say this if we use “civilization” as something of a technical term.  Social scientists have defined civilization in many different ways, but the basic idea is that civilizations are complex societies with cities, hierarchies, and governments.  By this definition, we can hardly argue that the world is not civilized.  We can say that there are still a very few populations (Indians in the Amazon, for example) that are not civilized.  However, the vast majority of the world is civilized.

On the other hand, we can say that the world is clearly (or at least arguably) not civilized. In this case, we would define a civilization as a society in which people act in good ways.  In such a society, they do not abuse one another.  They do not act in ways that harm other people for their own personal gain.  In other words, we would equate civilization with morality and a lack of “savagery.”  If we define civilization in this way, we can certainly argue that our wars, the poverty of some of our citizens, our religious bigotry, and many other things make the world an uncivilized place.

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