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Encyclopedia > Exceptionalism

Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is "exceptional" (ie. unusual or extraordinary) in some way, and thus does not conform to normal rules, general principles, or the like. Used in this sense, such a perception reflects a belief formed by lived experience, ideology, perceptual frames, or perspectives influenced by knowledge (or lack thereof) of historical or comparative circumstances.

Countries of all kinds, including the modern United States, Great Britain at the height of the British Empire, Imperial Japan, Iran, Venezuela, Israel, the USSR and Nazi Germany have claimed manifest exceptionality, as have many historic empires such as Ancient Rome and China, and a wide range of minor kingdoms and tribes in history. In each case a basis has been presented as to why the country is exceptional compared to all other countries, drawing upon circumstance, cultural background and mythos, and self-perceived national aims. This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The ensign of Imperial Japanese Navy was a prominent symbol of Imperial Japan. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Area under Roman control  Roman Republic  Roman Empire  Western Empire  Eastern Empire Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a city-state founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Look up muthos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Study of or debate over degree of separateness

[1] The term is often used to describe surprising developments in economic progression, such as the economic growth of post-World War II Western Europe [2] or the ability of Sweden to generate small-business growth while yet maintaining high levels of taxation. [3] Exceptionalism can represent an error analogous to historicism in assuming that only peculiarities are relevant to analysis while overlooking meaningful comparisons. "[W]hat is seemingly exceptional in one country may be found in other countries." [4] As indigenous peoples explore their respective cultural heritages, their seeking to be separately classified or newly-understood may be a form of exceptionalism. [5] Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... A common understanding of Western Europe in modern times. ... Historicism is a term which applies to a number of theories of culture or historical development which place the greatest weight on two factors: that there is an organic succession of developments, that local conditions and peculiarities influence the results in a decisive way It can be contrasted with reductionist...

In ideologically-driven debates, a group may assert exceptionalism, with or without the term, in order to exaggerate the appearance of difference, perhaps to create an atmosphere permissive of a wider latitude of action, and to avoid recognition of similarities that would reduce perceived justifications. If unwarranted this is an example of special pleading, a form of spurious argumentation that ignores relevant bases for meaningful comparison. Groups, likewise, may be accused of exceptionalism, perhaps for avoiding normal terms of analysis. [6] The term may be a marker for an implication that a point of view is widely misunderstood, such as the notion that Islamic jihad is misunderstood. [7] The term "AIDS exceptionalism" is used to imply that AIDS is a contagious disease treated differently from other contagions [8] or resulting in benefits not available to those suffering from other contagions. [9] The term can imply a criticism of a tendency to remain separate from others. For example, the reluctance of the United States government to join various international treaties is sometimes called 'exceptionalist', [10] as is an assertion that a person or group is refusing to acknowledge, and perhaps communally participate in, a widely-accepted principle or practice. [11] In editorial language, the term may be a marker for 'the extent to which a region or group is justifiably or factually distinct'. [12] Special pleading is a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations themselves. ... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... Jihad, sometimes spelled Jahad, Jehad, Jihaad, Jiaad, Djihad, or Cihad, (Arabic: ‎ ) as an Islamic term, literally means struggle in the way of God or striving hard in Gods cause and is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam, although it occupies no official status as such in... This article is about the syndrome. ...


    See also

      Results from FactBites:
    2.3 Built-in Exceptions (1800 words)
    The string value of all built-in exceptions is their name, but this is not a requirement for user-defined exceptions or exceptions defined by library modules.
    This can be used to test an exception handler or to report an error condition ``just like'' the situation in which the interpreter raises the same exception; but beware that there is nothing to prevent user code from raising an inappropriate error.
    All built-in, non-system-exiting exceptions are derived from this class.
    Java theory and practice: The exceptions debate (2503 words)
    Exception chaining can be used to throw a more appropriate exception without throwing away the details (such as the stack trace) of the underlying failure, allowing abstract layers to insulate the layers above them from the details of the layers below them while preserving information that might be useful for debugging.
    Exceptions were supposed to make code smaller by centralizing error handling, but a method with three lines of code and six catch blocks (each of which either just logs the exception or wraps and rethrows it) seems kind of bloated and can obfuscate otherwise simple code.
    Having used exceptions in C++, where all exceptions are unchecked, I have found that one of the biggest risks of unchecked exceptions is that they are not self-documenting in the way checked exceptions are.
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