词义辨析:civilization 与 culture

civilization 与 culture 这俩词还真不太好区别,因为既然要区别就要首先确定对比的范围,但这两个词各自又有很多的意思,甚至可以理解为一张纸的两面,无法分割。不过,我觉得一个公式可以给出一个大致的概念,即:文明=文化+n(n=科学、技术、政治、军事等等)。从某个角度来看,二者的区别是:与 civilization(文明)相对的是人类的野蛮、未开化的时期或者其他生物的情况,重点为“是否野蛮”(当然,具体哪些为“野蛮”行为,不同时代、不同地方的人有不同的看法),而 culture(文化)则是让人类内部各个群体之间有所差别的一种特征,包括成就、思想、习惯。

其实二者之间的密切联系远多于二者之间的区别。现在一般认为,culture 的高级形式即为 civilization。文明始于人类开始使用文字。但要是一个民族开始使用文字从而有了“文明”,那它一定就有“文化”了,虽然“文明”不仅仅包含“文化”。

这两个词的实际使用情况其实更为复杂。下面是《韦氏大词典》对这两个词的部分解释(很长,需要好好研读一下,尤其需要注意加粗体的那些词,因为每谈到文明与文化,那些词几乎是必用的):

Civilization

a : an ideal state of human culture characterized by complete absence of barbarism and nonrational behavior, optimum utilization of physical, cultural, spiritual, and human resources, and perfect adjustment of the individual within the social framework <true civilization is an ideal to be striven for>

b : a particular state or stage of human advance toward civilization: as (1) : the culture characteristic of a particular time or place <medieval civilization> <the impact of European civilization on primitive peoples>;  sometimes   : a widely diffused long-lived culture often with subcultures <the Aegean civilization was a confluence of many Bronze Age cultures>

(2) : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained;  also   : the stage marked by urbanization, advanced techniques (as of agriculture and industry), expanded population, and complex social organization <modern civilization with its helpless dependence on technology>

Culture

2 : the act of developing by education, discipline, social experience : the training or refining of the moral and intellectual faculties

4 a : the state of being cultivated;  especially   : the enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training : the intellectual and artistic content of civilization : refinement in manners, taste, thought

b : acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational, technical, or professional skill or knowledge

5 a : the total pattern of human behavior and its products embodied in thought, speech, action, and artifacts and dependent upon man’s capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations through the use of tools, language, and systems of abstract thought

b : the body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits constituting a distinct complex of tradition of a racial, religious, or social group <a nation with many cultures> <Plains Indian culture> <but to many men today the most interesting thing about society is its culture …. that complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, morals, law, customs, opinions, religion, superstition, and art — Preserved Smith>

c : a complex of typical behavior or standardized social characteristics peculiar to a specific group, occupation or profession, sex, age grade, or social class <youth culture> <middle class culture>

d : a recurring assemblage (as of artifacts, house types, methods of burial, and other evidences of a way of life) that differentiates a group of archaeological sites

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *