Beyond 'Science as a Vocation': Civilisational Epistemology in Weber and Ibn Khaldun

Ardic N.

ASIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, vol.36, pp.434-464, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/156853108x327038
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.434-464
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


Both Ibn Khaldun and Weber discuss science as a vocation, but their epistemologies go beyond it by incorporating the civilisational dimension. Commonly used as a unit of analysis by classical theorists, the term 'civilisation' has recently been rediscovered in social sciences. It has been argued that the 'epistemological paradigms of civilisations' produced by the mainstream intellectual traditions are fundamental factors shaping the minds of key intellectuals. This article tests this argument by analysing to what extent Ibn Khaldun and Weber's views of knowledge and science are influenced by Islamic and Western epistemological paradigms, respectively. Based on a close and critical reading of their relevant work, it argues that there are some resemblances, but also significant differences, between Ibn Khaldun and Weber, which can indeed be explained with reference to civilisational epistemological paradigms.