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The Way and the Word

The Way and the Word: Science and Medicine in Early China and Greece

Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    The Way and the Word
    Book Description:

    The rich civilizations of ancient China and Greece built sciences of comparable sophistication-each based on different foundations of concept, method, and organization. In this engrossing book, two world-renowned scholars compare the cosmology, science, and medicine of China and Greece between 400 B.C. and A.D. 200, casting new light not only on the two civilizations but also on the evolving character of science.Sir Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin investigate the differences between the thinkers in the two civilizations: what motivated them, how they understood the cosmos and the human body, how they were educated, how they made a living, and whom they argued with and why. The authors' new method integrally compares social, political, and intellectual patterns and connections, demonstrating how all affected and were affected by ideas about cosmology and the physical world. They relate conceptual differences in China and Greece to the diverse ways that intellectuals in the two civilizations earned their living, interacted with fellow inquirers, and were involved with structures of authority.By A.D. 200 the distinctive scientific strengths of both China and Greece showed equal potential for theory and practice. Lloyd and Sivin argue that modern science evolved not out of the Greek tradition alone but from the strengths of China, Greece, India, Islam, and other civilizations, which converged first in the Muslim world and then in Renaissance Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12916-8
    Subjects: History of Science & Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xx)

    This book is about the beginnings of science and medicine in early China and Greece. It aims to explore comparison, to find a way of gaining from the joint study of two cultures understandings about each that would be unattainable if they were studied alone. We will explain our working aims and methods in Chapter 1, but a few remarks are in order here about our general goals and some assumptions that underlie them.

    As our study proceeded, we found that we were investigating what we have come to call, for want of an established term, a cultural manifold. Rather...

  4. 1 Aims and Methods
    (pp. 1-15)

    China and Greece were two of the ancient civilizations where people began to raise fundamental questions about a wide range of phenomena and to answer them on the basis of systematic investigations. Among the subjects that interested them were the movements of the heavenly bodies, the workings of the human body in health and in illness, the different kinds of animals and their behavior, the varieties of plants and their properties, the relations between harmonious sounds and what distinguishes them from discordant ones, and the nature of the changes that physical objects undergo. People today tend to think of those...

  5. 2 The Social and Institutional Framework of the Chinese Sciences
    (pp. 16-81)

    What did it take to become a philosopher, scientist, or physician in ancient China and Greece? Did it depend on what stratum of society one came from? How did those who took up these endeavors make a living? Did that affect the inquiries they pursued and the way they pursued them? What part did their technical work play in their careers? Do the answers to all those questions vary according to the period or the discipline? And how do they differ in Greece and China?

    The most fundamental difference in early Chinese society was between those who were eligible for...

  6. 3 The Social and Institutional Framework of Greek Science
    (pp. 82-139)

    The problems we face in analyzing the social and institutional framework of Greek science are the same as those we identified at the start of Chapter 2. Our chief questions are these: What strata of society did philosophers and scientists come from? How did they earn a living? Did their work as philosophers or scientists help them to do so? How far did they depend on patronage? Did that affect the way they defined and pursued their inquiries in different fields and different periods? To interpret the concrete evidence for particular Greek philosophers and scientists or groups of them requires...

  7. 4 The Fundamental Issues of Greek Science
    (pp. 140-187)

    The central issue that this chapter addresses is the way in which certain questions came to be seen as fundamental for much Greek philosophy and science. Why did Greek philosophers and scientists focus so often on the constituent elements of material objects, on their natures, on the imperceptible reality that underlies the appearances? Why was there so much concern for the causes of phenomena and for the representation of the cosmos as an ordered whole? At first sight it might seem absurd to pose that problem. For are not these among the most obvious and unavoidable questions that any philosophy...

  8. 5 The Fundamental Issues of the Chinese Sciences
    (pp. 188-238)

    What questions came to be fundamental in China for exploring the physical world? In other words, how did Chinese identify and map what lay outside experience of social relations and of the self? The borders between these domains of perception were artifacts, shifting as the social consensus changed. An important question is what made the borders, kept them, and changed them. The Chinese who began to think abstractly about heaven and earth were not just so many isolated individuals. What assumptions did they share? What directions did they take? What led them to settle on a few fundamental concepts, such...

  9. 6 Chinese and Greek Sciences Compared
    (pp. 239-252)

    The strategic questions set at the outset were ambitious ones: Why did China and Greece produce the science they did? What can a study of these two societies tell us about the ways science developed in antiquity? Our investigations have confirmed that the sciences in the two cultures were indeed very different in the six hundred years from around A.D.200. In many cases, the central preoccupations of the inquirers, the way they construed the issues to be investigated, differed. So did the fundamental concepts they used to articulate much of their work. Having now outlined some salient features of...

    (pp. 253-272)
  11. Chronology of Historical Events
    (pp. 273-278)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 279-298)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 299-328)
  14. Index and Glossary
    (pp. 329-348)