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How Protestantism influenced the making of modern science | Aeon Essays

There is a stubbornly persistent version of the history of science, much beloved of more than a few popular writers, that has science first emerging with the ancient Greeks, sliding into a moribund stagnation in the Christian Middle Ages, and bursting forth again in the 17th century with scientific heroes such as Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. In this cartoon version of history, the long medieval hiatus of science and reason is often attributed to the influence of religion. The scientific revolution of the 17th century and the triumphant march of science ever since are said to be a consequence of the fact that science managed to extricate itself from the clutches of a censorial and stultifying religious establishment.

there really was something quite distinctive and revolutionary about the new sciences of the 17th century: new experimental methods, new combinations of mathematics and physics, the idea of science as a collective enterprise, revised understandings of nature and its meanings, and, crucially, the alignment of science with a set of values that would sustain it, and eventually propel it right into the centre of Western culture.

given the importance of religion to early modern European intellectual life, it would be remarkable if the tumultuous upheavals of the 16th century, and the subsequent schism between Catholics and Protestants, did not leave an indelible mark on an emerging modern science. The real question is how.

Aristotelian science was accordingly based on commonsense observations of nature, conducted without instruments or experiments. This approach gave rise to a number of familiar, but erroneous, Aristotelian doctrines: a heavy object (the stone) will always fall more quickly than the light one (the feather); terrestrial objects move in straight lines and will eventually come to rest; celestial objects move perpetually in circular paths.

Kepler, Boyle and others saw their scientific work as part of a religious mission to uncover the divine order of the natural world. Again, then, values derived from Protestant ideas of vocation motivated at least some of the most influential scientists of the period, and provided a religious rationale for pursuing the study of nature.

Allegory, in short, was a practice that brought together the reading of the book of nature and the book of scripture. In consequence, a change to the status of allegorical interpretation would necessarily have implications for how nature was conceptualised.

Protestant reformers campaigned against the excesses of allegorical interpretation.

The advocates of experimental science found themselves needing to devote considerable effort to establishing the utility of their fledgling enterprise, and aligning it with existing values. In these efforts, the partnership of natural philosophy and natural theology proved vital. It established the new science with religious credentials and much-needed social legitimation. The authority of natural theology helped to make natural science a mainstream activity in the modern West. This alliance also helps to explain how early modern Europe managed to break out of the boom-bust cycle that characterised the scientific cultures of other places and historical periods.

The Protestant Reformation unleashed in vexing and potentially chaotic ways the problem of religious pluralism. The advocates of each religion insist that only one religion – their own – is true. The discordance raised the spectre of atheism: what if, after all, competing religions cancelled each other out? In such an environment, the alliance of natural science and natural theology offered protection against impiety and unbelief, and support for the truth of religion in general. Indeed, the new alliance between natural theology and natural philosophy produced potent evidence for the wisdom and power of God, support more solid, it was claimed, than the more philosophical and speculative arguments of the medieval era, which were light on empirical evidence.

Almost from the first, Protestants sought to associate a particular version of history with Protestantism, reason and progress. They likewise insisted that Catholicism was part and parcel of superstition, censorial attitudes and scientific backwardness. This Protestant historical consciousness lent itself to a progressivist Enlightenment narrative that promoted a similar view of history. It is this contentious historiography, deeply imbued with residual anti-Catholic sentiment, that informs the simplistic picture of the history of science with which this piece began.
religion  science  history  protestant  historiography  west  scientist  christianity 
7 weeks ago by aries1988

西方哲学从柏拉图到海德格尔,都从“存在”出发来理解生命(生活),所以会有对生活与生命的这种理解,美好生活被当成一种高于纯粹生命的存在,这就是一切问题的所在。我坚持认为,存在不是中国哲学的第一概念,性命(生命)才是。哈姆雷特的名言“to be or not to be”,其实问的就是“活还是不活”,可一定把它表达为“to be”才有力量,但中文不能译为“存在还是不存在”,这就是哲学思考方式的区别所在。


chinese  comparison  west  Philosophy  life  survive  concept  interview  scifi  today  classic  material  spirit  religion 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
japanese  book  mentality  tradition  modernity  west 
9 weeks ago by aries1988

东方主义是“基于对‘东方’和 ‘⻄方’(大多数时候用的 ‘the Occident’)在本体论和认识论层面进行区分的一种思想方式”。

东方主义的问题并不在于它在一些粗略的经验意义上是错误的,而是在于它是“权力—知识”(power- knowledge)的话语系统的一部分——这是萨义德从福柯借来的概念。东 方主义作为一种表征系统的目的——有时是明确的,更经常是隐含的—— 是为了制造出一个“他者”,从而更好地确保⻄方自我的稳定和至高无上。


至于ISIS,它甚至比基地组织更加热情地拥抱塞缪尔· 亨廷顿关于文明冲突不可避免的论点,认为穆斯林世界(umma)与异教 徒不共戴天。长期以来,东方主义一直是“联合制作产品”,尽管并非所有制作者都拥有同等的权力。
concept  evolution  intelligentsia  leader  west  middle-east  orientalisme  oriental  crisis  refugee  liberalism 
12 weeks ago by aries1988
黄蓓 | Costco里的上海优选伴手礼蝴蝶酥


法国圣米歇尔山的Saint Aubert蝴蝶酥有100层以上的酥皮,香港曲奇童话蝴蝶酥有256层酥皮,上海国际饭店的蝴蝶酥也有256层酥皮,美国Sugar Bowl Bakery蝴蝶酥有300层以上的酥皮,法国知名饼店Pierre Hermé蝴蝶酥有超过2000层酥皮,而上海的幻品Louie Ye蝴蝶酥则有2187层酥皮。

biscuit  china  france  vietnam  usa  supermarket  shanghai  numbers  hongkong  west  story  snack  viennoiserie 
november 2019 by aries1988

萨氏所分析的东方学史,是现代世界体系(the modern world system)形成的内在部分。在《现代世界体系》(1973)一书中,瓦勒斯坦已经探讨了西方资本主义体系如何在十四世纪之后形成以及在十六世纪以后逐步成为世界经济地理空间的内核(core),如何使非西方社会变成“边际”(periphery)。瓦氏的理论主要是建立在世界市场的形成和扩散的研究基础之上,对于与世界市场形成同步发生并难以分割的西方霸权产生的东渐,瓦氏并没有加以分析。实际上,十四世纪以后的世界史不只是一部经济政治的变迁史,还是一部文化变迁史。用沃尔夫的话说,它是西方文化史排挤东方历史的过程,是欧洲变非西方社会为“无历史”的民族的过程。《东方学》的描述与分析,反映的正是瓦氏忽视的一种历史取代另一种历史并使后者成为“无历史”的历史。不过,它的意义远远超过补充《现代世界体系》的解说,而更重要的是为从事文化批评的学者指出社会、历史、与文本(textuality)的密切关系以及学术、意识形态、与权力的关系,为一般的读者指出文化自我和他人的观念在人们生活中的重要角色,为第三世界指出西方文化的潜在力量以及东方世界如何透视这一力量。
orientalisme  asia  west  book  theory  culture  anthropology  history  origin  question 
october 2019 by aries1988
F**k Jared Diamond

Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize because he made this ridiculous, racist argumentsound like common sense. His books do not merely sanitize a history of colonialviolence; they are its disinfectant. They offer compelling and seemingly intuitivearguments that serve as the “ideology of an imperial capitalism,” as geographer DickPeet called it.B

Cold northern climates produce hardy and thrifty people who thus flourish. Meanwhile, the unrelenting heat along the equator produces lazy people condemned to forever languish in patterns of poverty as predictable as the trade winds.
paper  opinion  determinism  geography  racism  polemic  history  west  colonialism  inequality  human  continent  anthropology 
august 2019 by aries1988
west  2018  survey  news 
august 2019 by aries1988




尽管这个概念本身极少被当代法国学者接受和使用(包括勒高夫)。如今,“早期现代”与“古代晚期”(Late Antiquity)一同构成了英美欧洲史学界最热门的两大领域。
history  historiography  middle-age  europe  early-modern  français  concept  debate  Renaissance  west  book  buy 
august 2019 by aries1988
Four Flavors of Doom: A Taxonomy of Contemporary Pessimism - Quillette

According to Mahbubani, this enormous improvement in the human condition is a result of Western ideas and practices—modern science, liberal democracy, free markets—spreading to other societies.

Looking beyond their specific concerns, it is possible to identify four prototypical kinds of pessimism. Each has a different take on the course of human history, but all share a general skepticism about the idea of progress.

Right-wing declinists romanticize a time when people (especially the young) were still obedient towards authority and tradition, while their left-wing counterparts imagine a time in which solidarity and mutual trust were still widely cherished values.

Bad people can do bad things, but an apocalyptic mindset can encourage even good people to do bad things.

The French sociologist Bruno Latour, a former postmodern critic of science who has found a second calling in climate alarmism, sounds this note of despair in his book Down to Earth: The war is over, and we have probably lost it.

concept of progress—of the continual betterment of the human condition through the application of science and the spread of freedom
the methods of science, free markets, and liberal democracy provide our best hope of succeeding
progress  debate  enlightenment  pessimism  analysis  today  west  future  crisis  disaster 
july 2019 by aries1988
构建中国式全球史观何以可能 文 | 张景平
historiography  china  world  west 
june 2019 by aries1988
asia  europe  historiography  west 
may 2019 by aries1988
Fire of Notre-Dame: An elegy of Western decline - CGTN
if the collapse of the Twin Towers of New York City in 911 represented a deep wound of American capitalism, the fall of Notre-Dame spire is at least a sign of decay of Christendom in France and perhaps even a deny of the state's political order.
opinion  2019  chinese  intelligentsia  west  civ  christianity  france  crisis 
april 2019 by aries1988
When Asia Ruled the World
Nonfiction The Pudong skyline, Shanghai. Credit Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times Amazon Local Booksellers Barnes and Noble When you purchase an independently…
contrarian  west  empire  conflict  world  war  success  europe  fail  qing  ottoman  book  opinion  history  prediction  theory 
april 2019 by aries1988
cuisine  history  asia  west 
march 2019 by aries1988
Aditi Shrivastava's answer to What's the difference between Gothic and Romanesque architectures? - Quora
Aditi Shrivastava , pursued B.E. (Hons.) Civil Engineering from BITS Pilani Updated Oct 10, 2015 1. Gothic architecture had pointed arches in roof while…
architecture  europe  church  west  primer 
march 2019 by aries1988




在中国,皇帝就是政治权力、神圣象征和文化真理三合一的,以前史华兹(Benjamin Schwartz)就说中国是“普遍王权”(Universal Kingship),皇权或者国家的权力太大,始终是“普天之下莫非王土”。

qing  talk  opinion  comparison  west  question  king  politics  government  19C  china  book 
february 2019 by aries1988







美國大學招生同樣以「擇優錄取」為主要原則,反映了美國的「優績制」(meritocracy)的價值取向,但其公平原則也包含對弱勢群體的「補償正義」觀念,突出體現於「平權法案」(Affirmative Action,又譯作「肯定性措施」)。此外,還會兼顧「文化多樣性」的目標,可能會考慮校園的「族裔平衡」(racial balancing)。擇優錄取、補償正義和文化多樣性,這三重維度之間存在張力,每個大學有自己側重與應對策略。
summary  read  2018  west  intelligentsia  journalism  liberalism  opinion  race  usa  debate  polemic  university  elite  policy  scientist 
february 2019 by aries1988



from:rss  china  west  comparison  debate  book  historian 
january 2019 by aries1988



colonialism  intelligentsia  education  west  asia  history 
january 2019 by aries1988

west  war  state  history  origin  comparison  question  book  review 
january 2019 by aries1988
The Seductive Enthusiasm of Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”
it raised an important question in his mind: how to fuse his erudite tastes in art and culture with the reach and power of broadcast television? In some respects, that remains a quixotic project. And yet Clark managed to pull it off, in ways that still seem surprising and even a little mysterious.

Clark is outrageously committed to the “great man” approach to history and to the concept of genius. “Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible,” he says.

lets the camera have a leisurely look at whatever he’s been talking about. This is the use of television as a contemplative tool, something rarely attempted and, when done well, still remarkable.

He broke down with emotion on many other occasions during the filming of the series. This predilection for weeping comes through in the final product, in a good way: Clark’s just-under-the-surface emotion, his obvious feeling that the great art we’re being shown matters, gives the series a rare and subtle power.
bio  history  tv  art  civ  west  1960s  classic 
december 2018 by aries1988


opinion  qing  uk  war  west  narrative 
october 2018 by aries1988
Professor Michael Puett in Conversation Julia Lovell - YouTube
33:52 censorship
37:30 Cambridge University Press
48:16 Utopia of getting rid of the Chinese Department. Hegel The most important question
Lovell: no soft power
china  history  historian  translation  world  university  west  today  softpower 
october 2018 by aries1988
政见访谈|刘擎:如何观察西方知识界 | 政见


我持续关注的第三个方面,是身份或认同问题。我认为这对中国的公共讨论也有参考价值,包括社群和族裔的认同问题。在文化上和政治上,我是谁?我属于谁?我要成为什么样的人?我对哪个共同体是忠实的?以及多重身份引起的分裂和自我矛盾。在宽泛意义上,这涉及 “身份政治” 和 “政治文化”,这也是一个持续出现的焦点。
intelligentsia  west  china  humanities  leader 
october 2018 by aries1988








西方的思想界是开放的,种种不同的史观都出现过,其中还有反“进步”的史观大行其道的,如斯宾格勒(Oswald Spengler 1880-1936)的《西方的没落》(The Decline of the West)和汤因比(Arnold J Toynbee 1889-1975)的《历史研究》(A Study of History)

confucianism  chinese  tradition  culture  crisis  evolution  west  book  leader  intelligentsia  taiwan  dissident  instapaper_favs 
october 2018 by aries1988
The Western Elite from a Chinese Perspective - American Affairs Journal
T he Evangelical Christians I have met in the United States often talk about how reading the Bible changed their lives. They talk about being born again. I am…
west  education  money  success  business  chinese 
august 2018 by aries1988
comparison  metier  research  politologue  china  west 
august 2018 by aries1988
The End of ‘Civilisation’
The new program is best understood as a kind of delayed rebuttal, sometimes quite explicit, to Clark and his view of history.

An example of his method was a book the gallery published called 100 Details from Pictures in the National Gallery. Clark wanted to draw the attention of untutored viewers to specific elements in each work and place them alongside similar details from other works, with the aim of building up knowledge and interest piece by piece, element by element.

There was no stinting on travel either. By the time they were through Clark and crew had visited 118 museums and 117 other locations in 11 countries.

It was television of an intensified kind, meant to seduce a mass audience.

An act or piece of art that is life-enhancing—that allows us to have life, and to have it more abundantly—is civilized; one that isn’t isn’t.

The Greco-Roman ideal, he says, was “without doubt the most extraordinary creation in the whole of history.” It was nearly lost with the sacking of Rome—by barbarians, did he mention?—in the 5th century and then barely survived the advance of Islam in the 8th. It lay dormant, tended by monks, until the millennium, when it began to manifest itself in a variety of ways in Europe.
civ  art  politics  debate  west  documentary  2018  1969  bbc  uk 
august 2018 by aries1988







book  china  20C  qing  intelligentsia  west  confucianism  society  politics  debate  buy 
august 2018 by aries1988
Evolution of the English Alphabet (Matt Baker @usefulcharts)
RT : Ok, for those who would prefer the title to read "Latin Alphabet", here you go...
alphabet  history  infographics  comparison  west  writing  system 
april 2018 by aries1988
The Myth of a Kinder, Gentler Xi Jinping - The Atlantic
In 2004, the day before the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, Kristof wrote that Chinese leaders “knew that after the Chinese could watch Eddie Murphy, wear tight pink dresses and struggle over what to order at Starbucks, the revolution was finished. No middle class is content with more choices of coffees than of candidates on a ballot.” Mann called this idea the “Starbucks Fallacy.” Indeed, in December, Starbucks opened its largest store in the world in Shanghai – a 29,000 feet emporium with 400 staff. The company’s CEO said he expects China to be the company’s biggest market. Chinese political polling data is terrible, and it’s impossible to say if China’s middle class is “content” with their choice of coffee over candidates. But for Xi, it’s certainly working.   
thinking  west  china  future  democracy 
march 2018 by aries1988
Thinking about Chinese student experience
At the outset of my classes I explain and exemplify how there are usually two sides to any story,
anecdote  chinese  student  young  behavior  conflict  university  teaching  west 
january 2018 by aries1988

当年亚历山大东征在中亚,娶了一个大夏(????)——就是今天阿富汗北部一个小王国的一个公主,就叫roshanna, 这个人的名字现在也进入英语了,你看有些美国人或者伊朗人就会叫Roshanna, 她们其实就是安禄山的阴性形式。所以安禄山在现在还有一些表亲。



刚才的例子大家都耳熟能详,可能有些例子大家没有想到,这个是印度字母,印度字母的排列非常符合语音规则的,非常规则按照发音位置和发音方式来排列的。这种排列方式其实启发了藏语,大家都知道藏族文字是从印度文字来的,但日文实际上也是按照梵文字母的排列方式,受它启发,创制出了五十音图,五十音图字母的形状有可能来自汉字的草书,但字母排列的方式,这个想法是按照发音规律排列的想法是来自梵文,(a,i,u,e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko),不像abcd它是完全没有规律的。



xinjiang  west  trade  archaeology  culture  history  presentation  podcast 
january 2018 by aries1988
There is no such thing as western civilisation | Kwame Anthony Appiah | World news | The Guardian
culture was the “pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world”.

Often, in recent years, “the west” means the north Atlantic: Europe and her former colonies in North America.

here’s the important point: it would not have occurred to Herodotus to think that these three names corresponded to three kinds of people: Europeans, Asians, and Africans. He was born at Halicarnasus – Bodrum in modern Turkey. Yet being born in Asia Minor didn’t make him an Asian; it left him a Greek. And the Celts, in the far west of Europe, were much stranger to him than the Persians or the Egyptians, about whom he knew rather a lot. Herodotus only uses the word “European” as an adjective, never as a noun. For a millennium after his day, no one else spoke of Europeans as a people, either.

The natural contrast was not between Islam and the west, but between Christendom and Dar al‑Islam, each of which regarded the other as infidels, defined by their unbelief.

Only in 1529, with the defeat of Suleiman the Magnificent’s army at Vienna, did the reconquest of eastern Europe begin. It was a slow process. It wasn’t until 1699 that the Ottomans finally lost their Hungarian possessions; Greece became independent only in the early 19th century, Bulgaria even later.

modern concept of western culture largely took its present shape during the cold war. In the chill of battle, we forged a grand narrative about Athenian democracy, the Magna Carta, Copernican revolution, and so on. Plato to Nato. Western culture was, at its core, individualistic and democratic and liberty-minded and tolerant and progressive and rational and scientific.

So how have we bridged the chasm here? How have we managed to tell ourselves that we are rightful inheritors of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant, when the stuff of our existence is more Beyoncé and Burger King?

No Muslim essence stops the inhabitants of Dar al-Islam from taking up anything from western civilisation, including Christianity or democracy. No western essence is there to stop a New Yorker of any ancestry taking up Islam.
culture  history  thinking  west  concept  islam 
september 2017 by aries1988
How castles became monuments to myth and whimsy

Here’s the romance: this church was dedicated to St Mary, then a patroness of militant types because her womb was deemed impregnable, except to God. Shown in medieval paintings and tapestries in a paradise garden, her symbolic hortus conclusus is very conclusive indeed, bound and defended by locked gates and crenellations. So whole castles like Santa Maria da Feira in Portugal took her name, along with chapels serving castles from Prague to Dover.

The psychologist Bruno Bettelheim suggests we all hold a psychological disposition toward castles, and as children conjure them to process our understanding of the world. He wrote: “ ‘Once in an old castle in the midst of a large and dense forest’ — such beginnings suggest that what follows does not pertain to the here and now that we know . . . The old castles, dark caves, locked rooms one is forbidden to enter . . . all suggest that something normally hidden will be revealed.”

Ryman went on to design the Cinderella Castle in Orlando, completed in 1971 at 183ft. This concrete and fibreglass construction looks more French, specifically the 15th-century Château de Saumur. There are now six Disney centrepiece castles, designed as variants of a theme, the latest in Shanghai completed in 2016, which Disney describes as “seven towers, two of which embody the guiding creative principle of Shanghai Disneyland”. And yes, it also has a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
romantic  caste  children  architecture  design  disney  disneyland  west  tale  history 
august 2017 by aries1988
His Kampf

Was Hitchens’s critique of Christianity, he said, not as wan and naive as Christianity itself? Christianity had bound together the civilizations of Europe, and now Hitchens wanted to replace it with—well, what exactly? American neoliberal internationalism? Why should anyone care if Christianity was irrational and illiberal, when rationality and liberalism had never been its purpose? Hitchens had missed the point.

In his view, the Bush administration had manipulated the country into war. “Spreading democracy” and “freedom” are, Spencer said, false ideals, distracting Americans from what really matters—namely, a consciousness of their identity as whites with a shared Christian heritage.

In December, the hipster-Marxist magazine Jacobin published an online essay, “The Elite Roots of Richard Spencer’s Racism,” that sought to understand his white supremacy. “He represents a common and longstanding (if overlooked) phenomenon: the well-educated and financially comfortable bigot,” the author, Michael Phillips, wrote. “His blend of racism and elitism represents only an extreme version of a worldview that has long prevailed among the affluent in Spencer’s hometown.”

Among the German ideas he adopted was a concept of race different from the one he and I had been taught in our multicultural workshops in the ’90s. In the modern era, American discussion of race has limited itself, by convention, to a few canonical categories: black, white, Asian, American Indian, Hispanic. “Race isn’t just color,” Spencer told an audience in December. “Color is, in a way, a minor aspect of race.”

For Spencer, race is more akin to the German Volksgeist, literally “the spirit of a people.” Volksgeist is associated, historically, with Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803), and Germans became enchanted with it during the 19th century. Some would say the Second World War was the culmination of German devotion to their own Volksgeist. Herder’s followers proposed that each people has an essence that distinguishes it from others.

As one who knew Spencer when we were both hapless, overprivileged adolescents, sharing a desire to transcend our origins, what interests me the most about him is his self-reinvention, the intellectual costume changes (foppish actor, grad-school blowhard, opera-director manqué, and now architect of a white utopian dream of world-historical consequence) spanning three decades. After all, it is said that one of the great advantages of America is that its daughters and sons can escape the strictures of the world in which they were raised, be unlike their forefathers. Spencer has certainly done that.
portrait  altright  leader  university  idea  opinion  religion  usa  west  african  racism  Philosophy  intelligentsia  nazi 
june 2017 by aries1988

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