Muqaddimah Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)(1377)
• Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)
Aristocrat, political actor, religious judge
1375– took refuge for 3 years in North Africa and started his books
• "All records, by their very nature, are liable to error...
1. ...Partisanship towards a creed or opinion...
2. ...Over-confidence in one's sources... (Blind acceptance of past
3. ...The failure to understand what is intended...
4. ...A mistaken belief in the truth...
5. ...The inability to place an event in its real context
6. ...The common desire to gain favor of those of high ranks, by praising
them, by spreading their fame...
7...The most important is the ignorance of the laws governing the
transformation of human society."
• Khaldun criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical
data." SO introduced the scientific method to the social sciences.
• Culture is the central theme.
Primitive culture (nomadic) –noble savage
Advanced culture (sedentary) –the one he values most
Maximizing, developing potential of culture
Humans achieve their greatest point in the context of advanced
• Humans NEED to live together (cf texte for reasons) but once this
happens they need a central authority. They need this because evil is
present within human nature (always a potential). Restraints make humans
act well, behave.
Realism stems from the notion of evil being inherent in human nature.
• Restraints: unchallengeable authority, religion
IK argues that there have been prosperous civilizations without a central
Evolutions of political groups:
-Starts with a blood connection in the wild (desert) held together by
necessity (fear, need…)
-These groups compete over resources and swallow each other up,
expanding (human nature to expand and conquer –war is the norm
according to realists) -Groups turn into clans, into cities, civilizations
• What is better? Primitive Bedouin? Advanced civilization?
-Primitive: courage, fortitude, Asabiyyah ▯ need these to fight and grow
-Advanced: flourishing of human culture coming from wars and expansion