Ibn Khaldun: A dialectical philosopher for the 21st century

After situating Ibn Khaldun in his historical context, I critically examine his views on topics relevant to contemporary discussions of identity. He was a dialectical thinker for whom spirit was a material force, a staunch advocate of justice (which indicated to him the need for a strong state), and a partisan in the struggle to ennoble the human species. I seek to illuminate his contributions to the forging of an understanding that is both spiritual and material. While universalizing themes of importance in his cultural tradition, I pay particular attention to the role of the individual and the place of the group. Ibn Khaldun's attention to group identity is one reason why his understanding of human beings is vital to a creative synthesis of tradition and (post)modernity.