The Commercialization of the Islamic, Liberal, and Neo Marxist Modes of Explanation

Kenneth Bauzon


The three paradigms of explanation under consideration - the Islamic, the Liberal, and the Neo-Marxist - may all be said to be embodiments of definite assumptions about the world. Arising as we know from various cultural settings and intellectual traditions, each of these paradigms defines a problem and suggests its own solution. It follows that each also has its own group of practitioners who, through their textbooks and pronouncements, assert the validity of their paradigm's solution over that of others. In the process, each claims universality of its explanation and seeks to convince others that it is so. Numerous problems have preoccupied these paradigms, but one problem, in particular, has been of intense concern to all three. This concerns what appears to them as the definition, description, and attainment of that group, organization, or community where human beings become attached or identified with. in Islam, this has been called Ummah (or islamic community); among scholars of the liberal tradition, the term "nation" or "ethnicity" easily comes to mind; and in neo-Marxist literature, the term "class" is prevalent. This essay attempts to examine the way each of these paradigms elaborate on their definition of this particular phenomenon and the manner in which it (i.e., this phenomenon) evolves. The paper then tackles the matter of commensurability - the agreement of paradigms in the definition of and solution to a problem, assuming that the categories they use are the same or comparable. On the other hand, the term incommensurability will be used to refer to the opposite condition, i.e., the absence of the same or comparable categories used by the paradigms.

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