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AtatürkAn Intellectual Biography$
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M. Sükrü Hanioglu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175829

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175829.001.0001

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The Scientism of the Young Turks

The Scientism of the Young Turks

(p.48) 3 The Scientism of the Young Turks

M. Şükrü Hanioğlu

Princeton University Press

This chapter details how Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's attitudes and policies were to be shaped to an extraordinary degree by the ideas he encountered and the experiences he underwent as an activist in the Young Turk movement. The core group that led the movement was made up of cadets, students, and graduates of the major royal colleges. An overwhelming number of these young men were disciples of a peculiar mid-nineteenth-century German philosophy known as Vulgärmaterialismus. This was a vulgarized version of the doctrine of materialism, fusing popular notions of materialism, scientism, and Darwinism into a simplistic creed that upheld the role of science in society. The Late Ottoman version of this materialism was a further simplification of the German original and a medley of highly disparate ideas, the common denominator of which was the rejection of religion.

Keywords:   Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Young Turk movement, Vulgärmaterialismus, materialism, scientism, Darwinism

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