© 2011

Islam, Modernity, and the Human Sciences

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Social Theory and Dialogical Understanding

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ali Zaidi
      Pages 3-22
  3. Muslim Debates on Social Knowledge

  4. Western Debates on Social Knowledge

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-101
    2. Ali Zaidi
      Pages 103-123
    3. Ali Zaidi
      Pages 145-161
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 163-217

About this book


Ali Zaidi discloses a largely unnoticed dialogue between Muslim and Western social thought on the search for meaning and transcendence in the human sciences. This disclosure is accomplished by a comparative reading of Muslim debates on secular knowledge on the one hand and of Western debates on the putative death of metaphysics in the human sciences on the other hand. The analysis is grounded in dialogical hermeneutics; that is, a hermeneutic approach to texts and cultural traditions that draws upon the work of Hans-Georg  Gadamer and upon the insights of inter-religious dialogue.


hermeneutics Islam social theory

About the authors

Ali Zaidi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University inWaterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic information


"Zaidi's book is an important contribution to the global Islam-Modernity debate." - Ernest Wolf-Gazo, Professor of Philosophy, the American University in Cairo

"Islam, Modernity, and the Human Sciences is a complex and demanding exposition of the epistemological problems that confront any dialogue between civilizations, especially between Islam and the West, but it is also wholly rewarding and captivating. Can a dialogue between civilizations ultimately replace the destructive clash of civilizations that has raged since 9/11? Ali Zaidi offers a masterly analysis of various attempts, from Max Weber to Jurgen Habermas, to understand other cultures[...] How can we understand the truth claims of Islam and at the same time dismiss the Other s notion of the sacred? Faced with the bleak prospect of an endless conflict of civilizations, dialogue may be all that we have to hope for. As a result, Ali Zaidi s book is an urgent prerequisite for more productive conversations." - Bryan S. Turner, Presidential Professor of Sociology, the Graduate Center, City University of New York