A diffusionist view on the genesis of civilizations

Dr. Horst Friedrich

It is shown that, from the viewpoint of the history and philosophy of the sciences, the paradigm of isolationism seems rather suspect. The probably, in the majority of cases, multiple origins of advanced civilizations are discussed. Sophisticated ethno-linguistic superstrata arrive mostly by sea. An isolationist, autochthonous genesis of advanced civilizations is rejected as a rather improbable scenario. The evidence for a diffusionist origin even of the extraordinarily unique civilization of ancient Egypt is discussed. A diffusionist genesis of civilizations is proposed as a general pattern. The factors levels and comprehensiveness of knowledge, and the interdisciplinary factor, are discussed with respect to their possible relevance in the isolationism-diffusionism controversy. The multiple and very special evidence for cultural diffusion between Southeast Asia and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas is discussed. New epigraphic evidence is presented that ancient India may once have been worldwide active.