World Politics Question #12

In class today we covered quite a bit of ground relating to the ambiguity of the forces driving Columbus, but one thing that we all agreed on was that Columbus' way of knowing was somewhat different from ours. (Of course, Todorov presents the situation this way, so that's not a surprising conclusion for us to come to.) Hence, this question for us to wrestle with: is our way of knowing better than Columbus' way of knowing?

Note that I'm italicizing the word "better" to call attention to it. We tossed around a lot of stuff in the last fifteen minutes of class about how we now "knew more" or had "made progress" since Columbus' time; there's an implied value-judgment there, and I want to bring it to the forefront of our online deliberations.

Note also that I am not defining what "better" means. That's up to us to grapple with. [Also: this is something that Todorov grapples with throughout the book.]

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