S1713 The Method of Science in Transcultural Perspective

Perilli Lorenzo

The course will present students with an in-depth analysis of the origin and features of science and its method as a mirror reflecting the features peculiar to each society. One of the commonest modes of science which offers itself to a comparative analysis is argument. There is considerable cross-cultural variety in how heaven and earth and humans and everything else are imagined as forming some kind of more or less ordered whole, and students will be investigating what has been called a ‘cultural manifold’. Rather than comparing concepts or factors one at a time, the starting point will be the commonplace observation that scientific ideas or medical insights do not occur in a vacuum. They grow in the minds of people with a certain kind of education and a certain kind of livelihood and are inseparable from the rest of their experience. Students will study how the rational paradigm has developed in Western science, and whether anything comparable can be found in distant cultures, for instance in China.