AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Philosophical Movements in Ottoman Intellectual Life at the Beginning of the 20th Century and their Impact on Young Turks’ Thought

by Fatih Taştan

Institution: Middle East Technical University
Department: Philosophy
Degree: Doctorate Degree
Year: 2013
Keywords: Young Turks, Turkish Nationalism, Science and Religion
Posted: 01/05/2018
Record ID: 2150699
Full text PDF: http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/12616279/index.pdf


The aim of this study is to examine scientific and philosophical understanding of the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress (CUP in short), which takes an important place in Turkish history of politics, and the Young Turks who vitalized it. CUP is an organization remained in the power, during Ottoman Empire, between 1908 and 1918. The great majority of both national and international sources, subjecting the rulership period of CUP, identify this term with Young Turks’ power. This identification is right to a large extent. For, the mentality vitalized the Ottoman CUP directly refers to a modernist group which is called Young Turks. Our study does not have an aim of realizing a purely historical discussion. It rather scrutinizes the reasons of how and why a political organization, mentality of which is subjected, even today, to different discussions, needed scientific and philosophical arguments. Understanding the kind of shape it has given to its own political program by starting from those arguments is one of the purposes taken into consideration throughout the study. In terms of the goals of our study we first identified the scientific and philosophical approaches commonly adopted in Young Turks’ period, both in the West and in the Ottoman world of thought. We observed that these approaches consist of positivism, evolutionism and materialism and that they are defended by Young Turk figures very single-mindedly. This observation is deduced from the examination we carried out on the periodicals published by Young Turks individually and institutionally. One needs to point that these periodicals determined the limits of our study as well. We scrutinized the effect that is created by the positivist, evolutionist and materialist understandings of science and philosophy on the traditional philosophies of religion, ethics and aesthetics. At the end, we found the opportunity of observing how Young Turks reinforced their nationalist approach by means of a discourse which is decorated with modern scientific and philosophical concepts. This circumstance constitutes one of the conspicuous themes of our study since it refers to the reality that science and philosophy have been instrumentalized by Young Turks.