Time, Science, and Society in China and the West

Front Cover
Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1986 - Science - 262 pages
For the first fifteen centuries of Western civilization, the Chinese were far ahead of Europe in applying their knowledge of nature to useful purposes. Why, then, did modern mathematized science, with all its implications for advanced technology, rise meteorically in Renaissance Europe rather than in China? Prompted by this observation, Joseph Needham explored the paradox three decades ago in what he termed "The Scientific Revolution Problem."

This collection of original papers continues the exploration. Focusing on the idea and experience of time, twenty-four scholars from China and the West speak of the different aspects of cultural life and tradition that favored the creation of mathematized science in Europe and discouraged such development in China.

An understanding of this cultural history is of interest to modern China, which labors to join the advanced scientific and technological communities of the world. It is also of interest to those concerned with the position of science and technology in the West, since a comparative interpretation of the origins of Western advances helps identify the many problems those very advances have created.
 

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Contents

The Origins of Time
23
Scientific Explanation and the Evolution of Time
39
J T Frasers Levels of Temporality as Cognitive Representations
51
The NonChinese World
67
A Study in the Origins of Western Thought
69
Time Technology Religion and Productivity Values in Early Modern Europe
79
The Fate of an Idea
93
With Comments on SoCalled Cyclic Time
104
The Evolution of Chinese Science and Technology
170
Cultural and Intellectual Attitudes That Prevented the Spontaneous Emergence of Modern Science in China
181
Progressive and Regressive Time Cycles in Taoist Ritual
185
A Brief Analysis
206
Temporal Order and Synchronous Events
211
Zi Wu Flow Theory and Time
219
China and the West
225
Space and Time in Chinese Verse
241

The Shape of Time in African Music
113
Temporal Linearity and Nonlinearity in Music
126
Humanities and the Experiences of Time
141
China
149
On the Limits of Empirical Knowledge in the Traditional Chinese Sciences
151
Envoi
253
Biographical Notes on the Contributors
255
Constitution and ByLaws of the International Society for the Study of Time
259
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Page 29 - The single man for himself possesses the essence of man neither in himself as a moral being nor in himself as a thinking being. The essence of man is contained only in the community and unity of man with man; it is a unity, however, which rests only on the reality of the distinction between I and thou.

About the author (1986)

Founder of the International Society for the Study of Time, J.T. Fraser is author of Of Time, Passion, and Knowledge (1975), Time as Conflict (1978), and The Genesis and Evolution of Time (1982). The 1975 and 1982 books were Library of Science selections. The Voices of Time: A Cooperative Survey of Man's View of Time as Expressed by the Sciences and by the Humanities (2nd ed., 1981), which was commended by Science as deserving "the highest praise for bringing together in a single volume such a cluster of distinguished scholarship." He is the senior editor of The Study of Time Series (1972-) of which Time, Science, and Society in China and the West is the fifth volume.

The late N. Lawrence was Massachusetts Professor of Philosophy at Williams College and chair of the department. He held degrees in biology, divinity, and philosophy and taught at UCLA, Yale, Harvard, and from 1956 until his death in 1986, at Williams College. His works include books on Whitehead, on existential phenomenology, and on the philosophical themes in modern education; he coedited The Study of Time II-V.

F.C. Haber is professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition to other publications, he has articles in The Study of Time I and II.

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