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The history of the world is therecordedmemory of the experience, around the world, ofHomo sapiens.Ancienthumanhistorybegins with the invention, independently at several sites on Earth, ofwriting, which created the infrastructure for lasting, accurately transmitted memories and thus for the diffusion and growth ofknowledge.Nevertheless, an appreciation of the roots ofcivilizationrequires at least cursory consideration to humanity'sprehistory. Human history is marked both by a gradualaccretion of discoveriesandinventions, as well as byquantum leaps-paradigm shifts,revolutions-that compriseepochsin the material andspiritual evolutionof humankind.
One such epoch was the advent of theAgricultural Revolution.Between 8,500 and 7,000 BCE, in theFertile Crescent(a region in theNear East, incorporating theLevantandMesopotamia), humans began the systematic husbandry of plants and animals-agriculture.It spread to neighboring regions, and also developed independently elsewhere, until mostHomo sapienslived sedentary lives as farmers in permanent settlementscentered about life-sustaining bodies ofwater. These communities coalesced over time into increasingly larger units, in parallel with the evolution of ever more efficient means oftransport.
The relative security and increased productivity provided by farming allowed these communities to expand. Surplus food made possible an increasingdivision of labor, the rise of a leisuredupper class, and the development ofcitiesand thus ofcivilization. The growing complexity of human societies necessitated systems ofaccounting; and from this evolved, beginning in theBronze Age,writing.The independent invention of writing at several sites onEarthallows a number of regions to claim to becradles of civilization.
Civilizations developed perforce on the banks ofrivers. By 3,000 BCE they had arisen in theMiddle East'sMesopotamia(the "land between the Rivers"EuphratesandTigris),on the banks ofEgypt'sRiver Nile,inIndia'sIndus River valley,and along the great rivers ofChina. The history of theOld Worldis commonly divided intoAntiquity(in theancient Near East,theMediterraneanbasin ofclassical antiquity,ancient China,andancient India, up to about the 6th century); theMiddle Ages,from the 6th through the 15th centuries; theEarly Modern period,including the EuropeanRenaissance, from the 16th century to about 1750; and theModern period, from theAge of Enlightenmentand theIndustrial Revolution, beginning about 1750, to the present.
InEurope, the fall of theWestern Roman Empire(476 CE) is commonly taken as signaling the end ofantiquityand the beginning of theMiddle Ages. A thousand years later, in the mid-15th century,Johannes Gutenberg's invention of modernprinting,employingmovable type, revolutionizedcommunication, helping end theMiddle Agesand usher in modern times, theEuropean Renaissanceand theScientific Revolution.
By the 18th century, the accumulation ofknowledgeandtechnology, especially in Europe, had reached acritical massthat sparked into existence theIndustrial Revolution.Over the quarter-millenniumsince, the growth ofknowledge,technology,commerce, and of the potential destructiveness ofwarhas accelerated, creating theopportunitiesand perils that now confront the human communities that together inhabit theplanet.
The world population is the total number of livinghumansonEarthat a given time. As of 11 January 2010, the Earth'spopulationis estimated by theUnited States Census Bureauto be 6,795,600,000.The world population has been growing continuously since the end of theBlack Deatharound 1400.The fastest rates ofworld population growth(above 1.8%) were seen briefly during the 1950s then for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s (seegraph). According to population projections, world population will continue togrowuntil at least 2050. The 2008 rate of growth has almost halved since its peak of 2.2% per year, which was reached in 1963. World births have levelled off at about 134 million per year, since their peak at 163 million in the late 1990s, and are expected to remain constant. However, deaths are only around 57 million per year, and are expected to increase to 90 million by the year 2050. Because births outnumber deaths, the world's population isexpected to reach9 billion in 2040.Economy
n philosophy, the World is everything that makes upreality. While clarifying theconceptof world has arguably always been among the basic tasks ofWestern philosophy, this theme appears to have been raised explicitly only at the start of the twentieth centuryand has been the subject of continuous debate. The question of what the world is has by no means been settled.Parmenides
The traditional interpretation of Parmenides' work is that he argued that the every-day perception of reality of the physical world (as described in doxa) is mistaken, and that the reality of the world is 'One Being' (as described in aletheia): an unchanging, ungenerated, indestructible whole.Plato
In hisAllegory of the Cave, Plato distingues between forms and ideas and imagines two distinct worlds: the sensible world and the intelligible world.Schopenhauer
The World as Will and Representationis the central work of Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer saw the human will as our one window to the world behind the representation; the Kantian thing-in-itself. He believed, therefore, that we could gain knowledge about the thing-in-itself, something Kant said was impossible, since the rest of the relationship between representation and thing-in-itself could be understood by analogy to the relationship between human will and human body.Hegel
In Hegel'sphilosophy of history, the expressionWeltgeschichte ist Weltgericht(World History is a tribunal that judges the World) is used to assert the view that History is what judges men, their actions and their opinions. Science is born from the desire to transform the World in relation to Man; its final end is technical application.Wittgenstein
Two definitions that were both put forward in the 1920s, however, suggest the range of available opinion. "The world is everything that is the case," wroteLudwig Wittgensteinin his influentialTractatus Logico-Philosophicus, first published in 1922. This definition would serve as the basis oflogical positivism, with its assumption that there is exactly one world, consisting of the totality of facts, regardless of the interpretations that individual people may make of them.Heidegger
Martin Heidegger, meanwhile, argued that "the surrounding world is different for each of us, and notwithstanding that we move about in a common world". The world, for Heidegger, was that into which we are "thrown" willy-nilly and with which we, as beings-in-the-world, must come to terms. His conception of "the world-hood of the world" was most notably elaborated in his 1927 workBeing and Time.Other
Some philosophers, often inspired byDavid Lewis, argue that metaphysical concepts such as possibility, probability and necessity are best analyzed by comparingtheworld to a range ofpossible worlds; a view commonly known asmodal realism.War
Main article:World war
A world war is awaraffecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span severalcontinents, and last for multiple years. The term has usually been applied to two conflicts of unprecedented scale that occurred during the 20th century:World War I(1914-1918),World War II(1939-1945), although in retrospect a number of earlier conflicts may be regarded as "world wars". The other most common usage of the term[by whom?]is in the context ofWorld War III, a phrase usually used to describe any hypothetical future global conflict.Usage
'World' distinguishes the entireplanetorpopulationfrom any particularcountryorregion:world affairsare those which pertain not just to one place but to the whole world, andworld historyis a field ofhistorywhich examines events from a global (rather than a national or a regional) perspective.Earth, on the other hand, refers to the planet as a physical entity, and distinguishes it from other planets and physical objects.
'World' can also be used attributively, as anadjective, to mean 'global', 'relating to the whole world', forming usages such asWorld community. SeeWorld (adjective). Or the body of humanity, as in the original meaning.
By extension, a 'world' may refer to any planet orheavenly body, especially when it is thought of as inhabited.
'World', in its original sense, when qualified, can also refer to a particular domain ofhumanexperience.
- Theworld of workdescribes paid work and the pursuit of acareer, in all its social aspects, to distinguish it from home life andacademicstudy.
- Thefashion worlddescribes the environment of the designers,fashion housesandconsumersthat make up thefashion industry.
- TheNew Worldis a part of the world discovered or colonized byEuropeanslater than other parts; it usually refers to theAmericancontinents or toAustralia.Native AmericansandNative Australianstend to dislike this usage because itimpliesthat their pre-Columbian ancestors were not valid parts of the world. TheOld Worldrefers, by contrast, to the continents ofEurope,Asiaand northAfrica.
- "World of hurt."