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Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. A symbol of the importance of empiricism in Western culture since the Renaissance
Plato, along with Socrates and Aristotle, helped establish Western philosophy.

Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Western lifestyle or European civilization is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe, having both indigenous and foreign origin. The term has come to be applied by people of European ethnicity to countries whose history is strongly marked by European immigration, colonisation, and influence, such as the continents of the Americas and Australasia, whose current demographic majority is of European ethnicity, and is not restricted to the continent of Europe.

Western culture is characterized by a host of artistic, philosophic, literary, and legal themes and traditions; the heritage of Celtic, Germanic, West Slavic, Hellenic, Jewish,<ref>THE ROLE OF JUDAISM IN WESTERN CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION, "Judaism has played a significant role in the development of Western culture because of its unique relationship with Christianity, the dominant religious force in the West". Judaism at Encyclopedia Britannica</ref> Latin, and other ethnic and linguistic groups,<ref>Kim Ann Zimmermann, 2012, "What is Culture? Definition of Culture," LiveScience, July 9, 2012, see [1], accessed on 8 December 2014.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Better source |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[better source needed] }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Better source |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[better source needed] }}<ref>Anon. (Western Culture Global), 2009, "Western Culture Knowledge Center: What is Western Culture?," see [2], accessed on 8 December 2014.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Better source |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[better source needed] }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Better source |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[better source needed] }} as well as Christianity, including the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, which played an important part in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century.<ref>Roman Catholicism, "Roman Catholicism, Christian church that has been the decisive spiritual force in the history of Western civilization". Encyclopedia Britannica</ref><ref name="Caltron J.H Hayas">Caltron J.H Hayas, Christianity and Western Civilization (1953),Stanford University Press, p.2: That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization — the civilization of western Europe and of America— have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo – Graeco – Christianity, Catholic and Protestant.</ref><ref name="Orlandis">Jose Orlandis, 1993, "A Short History of the Catholic Church," 2nd edn. (Michael Adams, Trans.), Dublin:Four Courts Press, ISBN 1851821252, preface, see [3], accessed 8 December 2014.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }}<ref name="How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization">Thomas E. Woods and Antonio Canizares, 2012, "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization," Reprint edn., Washington, D.C.:Regnery History, ISBN 1596983280, PG. NOS., see [4], accessed 8 December 2014. p.1: "Western civilization owes far more to Catholic Church than most people - Catholic included - often realize. The Church in fact built Western civilization."</ref> Also contributing to Western thought, in ancient times and then in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance onwards, a tradition of rationalism in various spheres of life, developed by Hellenistic philosophy, Scholasticism, humanism, the Scientific revolution and the Enlightenment. Values of Western culture have, throughout history, been derived from political thought, widespread employment of rational argument favouring freethought, assimilation of human rights, the need for equality, and democracy.

Historical records of Western culture in Europe begin with Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Western culture continued to develop with Christianisation during the Middle Ages, the reform and modernization triggered by the Renaissance, and with globalization by successive European empires, that spread European ways of life and European educational methods around the world between the 16th and 20th centuries.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} European culture developed with a complex range of philosophy, medieval scholasticism and mysticism, and Christian and secular humanism.<ref>Sailen Debnath, 2010, "Secularism: Western and Indian," New Delhi, India:Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, ISBN 8126913665, PG. NOS.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }} Rational thinking developed through a long age of change and formation, with the experiments of the Enlightenment, and breakthroughs in the sciences. Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the existence of political pluralism, prominent subcultures or countercultures (such as New Age movements), and increasing cultural syncretism resulting from globalization and human migration.


Western culture sections
Intro  Terminology  History  Arts and humanities  Media  Religion  Sport  Scientific and technological inventions and discoveries  Themes and traditions  Widespread influence  Maps  See also  References  External links  

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