Sabancı Üniversitesi


Seminar: Resolving Belief Conflicts through Political Theory


Resolving Belief Conflicts through Political Theory: The Case of Two Ottoman Political Thinkers

Abstract: In this paper we analyze and compare the arguments offered by two leading Ottoman public intellectuals in the 19th century, Namık Kemal and Ziya Gökalp, on why Western institutions are compatible with those of their own society. We suggest that these arguments exemplify patterns of reasoning, identified by cognitive social psychologists, which purport to resolve inconsistencies that arise in individuals’ belief structures. We draw two conclusions from this analysis. Our first conclusion is that the ideas of Ottoman political thinkers, like those of their Western counterparts, constitute a domain of evidence for research in cognitive social psychology. We secondly conclude that political theories have resources to overcome ideological conflicts in a society without resorting to partisanship or utopianism.