Re: [xmca] question

From: Eirik Knutsson (
Date: Sat Dec 23 2006 - 13:23:36 PST


I think you've got me right. In the Russian Orthodox tradition of the
third Rome (incl. Soviet-Marxist Russia), though, there was traditionally
a binary East/West distinction.

I believe Max Weber looked into the Western axiological value judgments.
Here's what Alan Macfarlane says:

"The world of evil was first abandoned in a part of north-western Europe,
the same area where the rise of Protestant, capitalist, rationalistic
societies emerged. This was part of Max Weber’s ‘disenchantment of the
world’. The turning point was in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.
There was then a revolutionary movement, from the mystical, magical
universe of medieval Catholicism to the clockwork, mechanical cosmology of
eighteenth-century rationalism. There was an expulsion of the concept of
evil, first among the elite and then, increasingly, among the hitherto
‘superstitious’ folk. The process paralleled and was linked to other
attacks on ‘irrationality’, the irrationality of despotic government,
peasant ownership, familistic sentiments."

("The Culture of Capitalism", Oxford: Blackwell, 1987, 101-2)


> Anna,
> I think Eirik was talking specifically of an axiological binary, i.e. of
> binary value judgments: good/bad; sacred/evil, and the like. I didn't hear
> him applying a good/bad evaluation to his West/East binary distinction.
> That's not to deny that in the West we've had more than our share in
> recent
> years of simplistic, so-called Manichean (but cf
> good/evil evaluations.
> Martin
> On 12/23/06 1:32 PM, "Stetsenko, Anna" <> wrote:
>> Eirik,
>> there is a nice (black humor type) illustration for your account of
>> binary
>> versus tertiary modes of thought (btw, this itself appears to be a
>> binary
>> opossition, no?). In today's debates about the war in Iraq, the last
>> authoritative position stated by high ranking official is that America
>> is 'not
>> winning the war. It is not loosing it either.' One commentator yesterday
>> said:
>> "if the country is neither winning nor loosing the war, what then IS it
>> doing?
>> Apparently, it is some third option, perhaps something like 'woosing'."
>> Speaking about 'neutral intermeditiate evaluations,' they sometimes do
>> look
>> like 'woosing', don't they? :-)
>> ________________________________

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