Needham's Contribution To The Scientific Revolution In The 17th Century

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The Needham Question that ponders on why China had been overtaken by the West in terms of science and technology concerning natural phenomena despite its earlier predominance, is widely studied. Philosophical reflection in the west had ultimately led to the scientific revolution in the 17th Century, however, Joseph Needham and many others who attempted to answer this question had agreed that scientific revolution never occurred in traditional China. This question leads us to trace back to the intrinsic differences between the Chinese and the Western philosophical systems in the pursuit of knowledge, such as social and economic patterns, feudal order, development in rational and irrefutable methodology like mathematics for quantification and relating it to occurrences in nature.…show more content…
The Western approach seems to have its basis in the curiosity of mechanical workings of the cosmos, hence incurring theoretical knowledge; while the Chinese’s was founded in search of practical wisdom in handling human affairs, and was focused on applicative knowledge towards the promotion of immediate goodness in human. And in answering Needham’s question, Confucianism is usually the scapegoat in having been the major determinant of divergence from the philosophical reflection that leads to the modern scientific methodology. As a Chinese and a science student, Needham’s question is of utmost essentiality, which therefore drew my attention particularly to the question, “ Did Confucianism Hinder the Development of Modern Science in China?” posed by Ho Peng Yoke in this book, and whom also argued against the notion concerning traditional

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