This article is a call to re-examine current Arab epistemology in behavioural sciences in order to develop an Arab grown set of tools and concepts that will contribute to the civilization renewal as promoted by the Arab Renaissance Project. In particular, some thoughts relating to debates about ‘freedom’, ‘state’, and ‘democracy’ are provided.


When the Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) launched the Arab Renaissance Project (ARP) in February 2010 (CAUS 2010b; Hafez 2011) in commemoration of the 52nd anniversary of the unity between Egypt and Syria, little did it know that an intellectual time bomb was set to explode. Indeed, among the various components of the ARP, civilization renewal would be the umbrella of an intellectual debate about contemporary Arab epistemology in behavioural and/or social sciences.

This writer has written extensively about the subject in the publications issued by CAUS where he called, and still does, for a new Arab epistemology, especially in behavioural sciences. Those employed in the Arab world are mostly translations of Western concepts and tools of analysis. The argument was and still is that a reexamination of such concepts is a prerequisite for the establishment of a new Arab epistemology, where concepts and tools of analysis developed in the West are being indiscriminately used by Arab scholars, thinkers, activists, and politicians with little relevance to Arab issues and problems. The purpose of this paper is an attempt at re-examining some of such concepts in order to test their relevance to Arab reality.

Most of these concepts and programmes in the Arab world are based upon those established in the West and imported through direct and indirect European colonialism and American hegemony. Most Arab elites’ minds are in fact ‘occupied’ by such concepts, an indication of the political, economic, social and cultural extent of Western hegemony. There has been an abandonment of Arab knowledge developed in the golden age of Arab intellectualism, with significant consequences. That is the central issue at the core of any debate concerning the cultural and civilization renewal of the Arab world.

Read full text here Some Western concepts through Arab eyes- toward a new Arab epistemology


Arab Renaissance Project





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The Epistemology of Human Sciences in the Arab Thought and the Contemporary Western Thought

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