Sustainable History

 

Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan

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SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN is a new philosophy of history. This volume outlines how sustainable history is propelled by good governance, which balances the tension between the attributes of human nature – emotionality, amorality and egoisms – and human dignity needs, such as reason, security, human rights, accountability, transparency, justice, opportunity, innovation and inclusiveness. The author proposes minimum criteria for good governance that are sensitive to local cultures and histories but meet certain common global values to ensure maximum and sustainable moral and political cooperation. Using an ocean model of a single collective human civilisation, the author argues that we should think in terms of a common human story that is comprised of multiple geo-cultural domains and sub-cultures with a history of mutual borrowing and synergies. The author argues that, today, all geo-cultural domains must succeed if humanity as a whole is to triumph. This collective triumph will also depend on reason and a recognition that a great deal of knowledge is indeterminate and may be temporally, spatially and perhaps culturally constrained, as is outlined in the author’s new theory of knowledge: “Neuro-rational Physicalism”.

Table of Contents


1 Introduction

1. A Sustainable Approach to History
2. The Ocean Model of One Human Civilisation
3. The Purpose and Structure of the Book

PART 1: The Foundations of Life

2 Where Are We?
Cosmology and the Big Universal Picture

1. The Universe
2. Life on Earth
3. Conclusion

3 Who Are We?
Neurochemical Man and Emotional Amoral Egoism

1. Approaches to Human Nature
2. Emotional Amoral Egoism
3. Conclusion

4 Why Are We Here?
A Proposed Theory of the Meaning of Existence: “Sustainable Neurochemical
Gratification” (SNG)

1. Approaches to the Meaning of Life
2. The Meaningfulness of the Question
3. A Proposed Theory of the Meaning of Existence: “Sustainable Neurochemical Gratification”
4. Conclusion

5 What Do We Know for Certain?
A Proposed Theory of Knowledge: “Neuro-rational Physicalism” (NRP)

1. The Nature of Knowledge
2. Sources of Knowledge
3. A Proposed Theory of Knowledge: “Neuro-rational Physicalism”
4. Conclusion

PART 2: Civilisational Triumph and Sustainable History

6 How Can We Collectively Succeed?
Triumphs of Individual Geo-cultural Domains

1. Triumphs of Individual Geo-cultural Domains: The Example of the Arab-Islamic World
2. Cultural Borrowing
3. Innovation 4. More Reason, Less Dogma
5. Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Diversity
6. Commonalities in the Rise, Decline and Fall of Geo-cultural Domains
7. The Challenges
8. The Way Forward
9. Conclusion

7 How Can Dignity Be Attained?
Minimum Criteria of Human Needs and Dignity

1. The Concept of Human Dignity
2. Minimum Criteria of Human Dignity at the National Level
3. Minimum Criteria of Human Dignity at the Global Level
4. The Challenges
5. The Way Forward
6. Conclusion

8 How Can We Achieve Justice?
Minimum Criteria of Global Justice

1. Civilisational Triumph
2. Global Justice
3. Global Security
4. The Challenges
5. The Way Forward
6. Conclusion

9 What Is Needed for Good National Governance?
Minimum Criteria of Inclusive, Effective and Good
National Governance

1. The Concept of Good Governance
2. Universal Standards of Good Governance?
3. Minimum Criteria of Good Governance
4. The Challenges
5. The Way Forward
6. Conclusion

10 What Is Needed for Good Global Governance?
Minimum Criteria of Inclusive, Effective and Good Global Governance

1. The Existing Global Governance Framework
2. Problems of Global Governance
3. Adapting to New Circumstances
4. Conclusion

11 How Can We Achieve Sustainable Security?
The Multi-sum Security Principle and Sustainable Security

1. The Multidimensional Nature of Security
2. The Interrelated Nature of Security Threats
3. The Challenges
4. The Way Forward
5. Conclusion

12 How Should We Approach International Relations?
Symbiotic Realism

1. The Problems of Realism
2. Symbiotic Realism
3. The Dynamics of the Global System
4. Foreign Policy Challenges
5. The Way Forward
6. Conclusion

13 How Should Statecraft Be Conducted?
Neo-statecraft and Meta-geopolitics

1. Traditional Concepts of Statecraft and Geopolitics
2. Meta-geopolitics
3. Sustainable National Security
4. Just Power
5. Reconciliation Statecraft
6. The Future of Geopolitics in a Transnational World
7. Conclusion

14 How Should Cultures Interrelate?
Transcultural Synergy and Universal Axiology

1. Culture and Geo-cultural Domains
2. Essentialism and Hegemony
3. The West and the East: Never the Twain Shall Meet?
4. Asian and Islamic Values
5. Transcultural Synergy
6. Universal Axiology and Values
7. Conclusion

PART 3: History and the Future of Human and Trans-human Civilisation

15 Where Are We Going?
The Future of Human Civilisation and History

1. The Future of Human Civilisation
2. A Post-human Destiny?
3. Ethical Issues
4. Conclusion

16 Conclusion: Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man

EndorsementS

“This book is an exceptionally wide-ranging examination of past and present approaches to the securing of a qualitatively adequate social life on the planet. The need for intercultural dialogue is pressing and stated as a matter of urgency in the text. That argument is well-presented and it is helpfully accompanied by a large amount of empirical evidence. The book is also a strong and ethically attractive humanist statement about the value of human interaction that incorporates a vision of mutual respect based on a mixture of scientific arguments and normative aspirations. Those features are very impressive.”

Professor Michael Freeden, Professor of Politics, Director of the Centre for Political Ideologies, Professorial Fellow, Mansfield College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

"Dr. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan challenges us to grapple with the meaning of history and how it could lead to the improvement of the human condition. This book presents his views on how a sustainable history based on human dignity could be achieved. In his opinion, this requires good governance, based on “reason, security, human rights, accountability, transparency, justice, opportunity, innovation and inclusiveness.” I agree, and I hope that the path laid out in this book attracts many followers."

President Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States.

“No-one seeking to understand the modern condition can afford to ignore Dr Al-Rodhan's inspiring book, a profound analysis of the core values around which effective global governance can be built and sustained.”

Lord Anthony Giddens, House of Lords, Former President of LSE, UK.

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