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Science, the West and the Rest. 1.origins connection in Enlightenment 2.modern vs. pre-modern 3.Western vs. non-Western 4.how is science universal? 5.science.

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Presentation on theme: "Science, the West and the Rest. 1.origins connection in Enlightenment 2.modern vs. pre-modern 3.Western vs. non-Western 4.how is science universal? 5.science."— Presentation transcript:

1 Science, the West and the Rest

2 1.origins connection in Enlightenment 2.modern vs. pre-modern 3.Western vs. non-Western 4.how is science universal? 5.science as a cultural phenomenon

3 Science, the West and the Rest Henry KissingerBarack Obama

4 Henry Kissinger (1966) “[The West] is deeply committed to the notion that the real world is external to the observer, that knowledge consists of recording and classifying data – the more accurately the better.” “Cultures which escaped the early impact of Newtonian thinking have retained the essentially pre-Newtonian view that the real world is almost completely internal to the observer. (…) [E]mpirical reality has a much different significance for many of the new countries than for the West because in a certain sense they never went through the process of discovering it.”

5 Barack Obama (2009)

6 1. Science and Enlightenment  adoration of Newton  power of science and human reason  science of man and society, improvement of society

7 Francesco Algarotti, Il Newtonianismo per le Dame ovvero Dialoghi sopra la Luce e i Colori (1737)

8 Tom Telescope, The Newtonian System, of Philosophy, Adapted to the Capacities of Young Gentlemen and Ladies (1761)

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11 1. Science and Enlightenment  adoration of Newton  power of science and human reason  science of man and society, improvement of society

12 2. modern vs. pre-modern  belief in progress  Jean le Rond d’Alembert  Enlightenment vs. ‘dark’ Middle Ages

13 3. Europe vs. the rest  superiority  before: Europeans in awe of oriental courts, great empires of the East

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17 François I ( ) Suleiman the Magnificent ( )

18 Suleiman the Magnificent to François I: “I, Sultan of Sultans, Leader of the Lords, Crown of the Sovereigns of the Earth, the Shadow of God in the Two Worlds, Shah of Baghdad, Sultan and Padishah of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, Rumelia, Anatolia, Armenia, Karaman, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Mecca, Medina, and all the Arab lands, and you, Francis, King of the Province of France.” (ca. 1530)

19 3. Europe vs. the rest  From 18 th century: Europa as more/most advanced civilization  Tension: science as universal vs. science as European  Different conceptions of universality

20 4. history of universalism  Christianity: universal pretensions, regionally bound  after 16 th century wars of religion: Europe redefined by civilization, modernity, science  universality & regionality

21 4. history of universalism  17 th -18 th century: ideal of “Republic of Letters”: men of learning disregard differences of birth, nation and religion, and form a cosmopolitan community, open to everybody  reality Republic of Letters  European?

22 4. history of universalism  19 th century: nationalism in science science as product ofnational culture scientists as Kulturträger  combined with international organization and exchange cf. Olympic Games cf. World Expos

23 1. history of universalism

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25 4. history of universalism 20 th century socialists: global science  H.G. Wells  Einstein, Manifesto to the Europeans  J.D. Bernal: science as part of any society  Joseph Needham: local streams into one universal “river of truth”

26 4. history of universalism mid-20 th century anti-communists: science is of “the West”  Butterfield  Gillispie (1960)  Floris Cohen (2008)

27 4A. Emphasis on the West/Europe: Herbert Butterfield “The scientific revolution we must regard (…) as a creative product of the West – depending on a complicated set of conditions which existed only in western Europe.” The Origins of Modern Science (1949)

28 4A. Emphasis on the West/Europe: Geoffrey Barraclough “ [A]ll the things which made Europe the focal point of historical events (…) – its science, its technology, its industrial strength – sprang in the end from the Scientific Revolution.” Turning Points in World History (1963)

29 4A. Emphasis on the West/Europe: Charles Gillispie “The hard trial will begin when the instruments of power created by the West come fully into the hands of men not of the West, formed in cultures and religions which leave them quite devoid of the Western sense of some ultimate responsibility. (…) [W]hat will the day hold when China wields the bomb? And Egypt? Will Aurora light a rosy-fingered dawn out of the East? Or will Nemesis?” The Edge of Objectivity (1960)

30 4A. Emphasis on the West/Europe: Henry Kissinger “they never went through the process of discovering”

31 4B. Emphasis on the universal: George Sarton “Science is mankind’s most precious patrimony.” “There is no German or French science; there is only one human science. Of course, there are French, German, English laboratories…, but their accomplishments are the results of innumerable efforts by scientists of all nationalities, and the discoveries made there are immediately added to the international patrimony of human thought.” Sarton (1913)

32 Barack Obama (2009) “Islam... paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.”

33 4B. Emphasis on the universal:  George Sarton  J.D. Bernal  Joseph Needham  Barack Obama  still one single standard: ours

34 5. Europe vs. de rest?  the Needham question: why did modern science emerge in Europe only?  also asked by non-Westerners  asking it for other areas  science as culture


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