Premium Essay

Towards a Non-Western Perspective on Scientific Knowledge

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mendax
Words 4795
Pages 20
This article from PPST Bulletin is made available on-line by Samanvaya ( All the rights of the article rest with the authors and any enquiries and clarifications may be directed to them. These are made available in an as-is basis, please report any mistakes to

TOWARDS A NON-WESTERN PERSPECTIVE ON SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE I The available studies on the phenomenon and institution of science suffer from a curious limitation. It is as if all those who analyse the subject were overawed by the grandeur of modern science, and their studies were in the nature of tributes laid at the feet of this great saviour. All analysis starts from the assumption that modern science is a set of value-free theories that uniquely explain reality. After the scientists in the early 20th century started overhauling their theories in a big way, it was granted that the value-free theories of science that explain reality may do so only partially at a given time, but as science progresses, its theories explain more and more of reality and the process converges towards the ‘ultimate’, ‘unique’ law that explains everything. Committed to this idealist picture of a unique value free science, the philosophy of science is reduced to a set of attempts at finding the epistemological criterion, internal to science, that allows the scientist, unencumbered by any extraneous considerations, to choose the true theory out of a competing set; the sociology of science is reduced to writing down the set of social norms, self-imposed by the scientific community, which ensure that the technical criterion that guarantees the selection of the ‘true’ theory is strictly adhered to and the historiography of science is reduced to writing a catalogue of the achievements of modern science, discovering the contributions made by more ancient sciences to the modern science and , more...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Problems of Muslim World

...political instability, economic under-development and deprivation, scientific and technological backwardness, and cultural dislocation. The situation for the Muslim world is further aggravated because of the multifarious challenges confronting it on the external front. The need of the hour is for the Muslim intelligentsia and leaders to realise the gravity of the situation and present to their compatriots well-considered views on overcoming the political, economic, social and cultural hindrances blocking the way to progress, prosperity and internal stability. The present condition of the Muslim world needs to be analysed in correct historical perspective. The Muslim civilisation, which had been in the vanguard of human intellectual and economic progress for several centuries after its birth, started showing signs of slackening around the seventeenth century A. D. Muslim scholars lost the appetite for intellectual enquiry. Instead of opening new horizons for intellectual growth, they simply became the followers of dogmas inherited from the past. The Muslim civilisation thus lost the vitality and dynamism which had characterised its earlier periods when it was at the zenith of its glory. This loss of intellectual vigour and development resulted in stagnation in political, economic, cultural, scientific, industrial and technological fields putting the Islamic civilisation at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the Western nations which were surging...

Words: 1285 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

An Analysis of an Ideologue Charles Darwin

...during his time but it soon formed the foundation of modern scientific attempts to understand the origin and development of life on earth. Forming part of the reason for his success was his passionate personality concerning science and the nature in general. According to Gutek (1995, p.5), Darwin was a great naturalist whose theory exerted a profound outlook on the European as well as American intellectuals. For example, by questioning the traditional conceptions of human origin, the theory brought about changes in the manner of thinking among many intellectuals. Darwin’s personal accomplishments were shaped by a number of factors chief among them his early interest in nature. From childhood, Charles Darwin collected different things such as beetles and stones and carried out experiments together with his brother inside a garden shed. However, it is his five year voyage aboard HMS Beagle (1831-1836) which provided him with an opportunity to make observations and investigations that culminated in his theory of natural selection (Sulloway, 1982, p.1). Historical Context There are a number of historical events that significantly shaped Charles Darwin’s era and ultimately his ideologue. For example, although Charles Darwin was initially enrolled to study Medicine as his father preferred the career, he decided to change career and pursue natural history and geology after undergoing traumatic experience of observing a non-anaesthetized surgical operation being carried out......

Words: 1110 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

How Views About the Benin Plaques Have Changed

...and how their interpretation can change when moved from one context to another. Understanding what we conceive as ‘art’ is an ever-changing abstract concept that requires knowledge of the contextual circumstances of its creation. In order to understand the implications in which the Benin bronzes are contextualised and how the display of these artefacts is approached from both anthropological and artistic view point I seek to examine the way in which the Benin Bronzes are interpreted. My evidence will be gathered using Nigerian historian Joseph Eboreime’s description of the Horniman Museums Africa collection and ethnographers Charles Read and Ormonde Daltons interpretation of the British Museums African Galleries using readings 2.6 and 2.7 of AA100 cultural encounters book 3 as well is referring to plates 3.2.22, 3.2.24, 3.2.25 and 3.2.26 of the AA100 illustration book. Regarded as some of the most important cultural symbols of the African continent, the Benin bronzes are highly acclaimed artefacts that have been subject to a great deal interest in the world of art history. Following the seizure of the Benin Bronzes by British forces, their arrival came at a time of increasing interest in Africa and growing British imperialism. At the time of their acquisition in the late 19th century, attitudes towards African cultures where so entrenched with savage, uncivilised and primitive ways of life that its easy to believe that many Europeans refused to accept that objects of......

Words: 1626 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Healthcare Provider and Faith Diversity

...are Islam, Christian Science and Buddhism, and how they compare to Christianity. We will learn about basic beliefs, spiritual perspectives on healing, and the components of healing such as meditation, prayer and other rituals they follow. Furthermore, addressing the importance and perceptive of how to care for a patient with a different faith and cultural view. In the field of nursing we are in constant contact with patients of several different faiths. This requires an abundance of knowledge and acceptance towards multiple beliefs and religions. The philosophies of Christian Science, Buddhism and Islam compared to Christianity have significantly diverse beliefs surrounding health, illness, death and healing. From a spiritual perspective we will learn about each of these faiths. We will place focus on their beliefs on healing, meditation, rituals, prayer and their views on afterlife. We as healthcare providers need to know what is viewed with importance in their faith in order to treat the patient with respect and dignity. Buddhism is a religion based on the teaching and traditions of Siddhartha Gautama, who is also referred to as the Buddha implicating “the Awakened one”. Buddhists mimic a belief of freedom from the world (Tanaka, 1999). From the Buddhist perspective healing comes from within the body and mind. They feel that the mind is non-physical and limitless, genderless...

Words: 1541 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Assignment Research Methodology

...SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION | | 1.1 Scientific vs non-scientific knowledge | A researcher in South Africa has seen that potential employees who has previously worked in the Northwest and applied for positions in Gauteng companies tended to submit CV’s that contained very limited information. He thus hypothesised that all applicants from Northwest submit incomplete CV’s. | 1.2 Ethics in research | A researcher is interested in studying the reasons why managers in Company Y are severely burnt out. She has read about an American study addressing the same issue of manager burnout and decided to copy that study in South Africa. Company Y has also provided her with sufficient funds to conduct the research. Prior to the research, the researcher sent e-mails to all the managers of Company Y and stated that the standard of their work are below average because of the fact that they experience severe burnout, and that they will be receiving surveys on this matter soon. As this is a serious matter to the company all managers must complete the surveys, and they will experience dire consequences if they failed to do so. The surveys will be in electronic format and after completion the managers are expected to send the completed questionnaires to the CEO of Company Y. The researcher will collect the surveys, analyse the data, and then supply the CEO with the results obtained from the study. | 1.3 Referencing | 1.3.1 Jakobson, R. 1959. On linguistic aspects of translation. (In......

Words: 1159 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Gen Eds

...issues, the interdependence of local, urban, national and global communities and the importance of psychological, artistic, religious and scientific inquiry. This program is designed to give the student the opportunity to interact with the multifaceted forces that are continually transforming and reshaping our world. The broad based, interdisciplinary scope of the area requirements is designed to help students acquire the knowledge, perspective, skill and professional acumen that is necessary to become thoughtful and responsible citizens and leaders in an increasingly complex world. The General Education curriculum is focused on fostering urban leadership by developing the cross-curricular emphases of writing effectively, thinking critically, managing information successfully, valuing diversity, practicing social justice, presenting orally and visually and learning to learn. Curricular Emphases: To accomplish these goals the general education curriculum, through its cross-disciplinary approach, provides exposure to a wide variety of disciplines while focusing on developing the essential, broad based, intellectual abilities of problem solving, decision making and leadership with a commitment to lifelong learning. The general education program emphasizes the development of oral and written communication skills; knowledge of the arts, sciences and technology; the effective use of information and critical thinking skills; the value of diversity; the......

Words: 3737 - Pages: 15

Free Essay


...into themselves and an exploration of the unconscious mind. The many tools of Mysticism, like the Tarot, numerology, astrology, and dreams, are all used to provide insights into a "deeper consciousness" and a "higher plane of existence," which when properly interpreted could very well shed light into the murkiest situation. In today's societies, Mysticism continues to intrigue, appeal to, entertain and aid people across cultures that force us to question the existence of God and Man and develop a sense of understanding for Man’s relationship to God. Mysticism has made significant changes in reshaping the mines of people towards nature and God and plays a major role in many societies but has impact more so the western world. A favorite distinction of Western philosophers is between theistic experiences, which are purportedly of God, and non-theistic ones. Non-theistic experiences can be allegedly of an ultimate reality other than God or of no reality at all. Numinous theistic experiences are dualistic, where God...

Words: 1666 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Fallacies of Development

...AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT: THE IMPERATIVES OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE AND VALUES by MARTIN ODEI AJEI submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the subject PHILOSOPHY at the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA PROMOTER: PROFESSOR M. B. RAMOSE AUGUST 2007 Contents Declaration Acknowledgement List of Acronyms Key terms Summary vi vii viii x xi INTRODUCTION: DEVELOPMENT AND PHILOSOPHY i. Statement of the Problem ii. Against Economism iii. Critique of Competition iv. Poverty is Unnatural v. Thesis Statement vi. Methodology vii. Structure of Dissertation 1 1 1 5 6 9 10 15 CHAPTER ONE: DIMENSIONS OF DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON AFRICA 1.1. What is Development 1.2. Development and Economic Growth 1.3. Schools of Development Thought and their Influence in Africa 1.3.1. The Modernization School and its Essential Claims Growth Theory under Economic Liberalism Evolutionary Theory Functionalist Theory Common Assumptions and Methodology The Influence of Modernization on Development Practice in Africa Critique of Modernization 1.3.2 Dependency Theory and its Essential Claims 21 21 25 27 27 28 29 30 32 34 36 39 i 1.3.3. The Theoretical Heritage of Dependency Theory Structuralist Economics and the ‘Prebisch Thesis’ Marxism 1.3.4. Common Assumptions of Dependency Theory 1.3.5. Criticisms of Dependency Theory 1.3.6. The Influence of Dependency Theory on African Development......

Words: 90729 - Pages: 363

Premium Essay


...Metaethics Metaethics is a branch of analytic philosophy that explores the status, foundations, and scope of moral values, properties, and words. Whereas the fields of applied ethics and normative theoryfocus on what is moral, metaethics focuses on what morality itself is. Just as two people may disagree about the ethics of, for example, physician-assisted suicide, while nonetheless agreeing at the more abstract level of a general normative theory such as Utilitarianism, so too may people who disagree at the level of a general normative theory nonetheless agree about the fundamental existence and status of morality itself, or vice versa. In this way, metaethics may be thought of as a highly abstract way of thinking philosophically about morality. For this reason, metaethics is also occasionally referred to as “second-order” moral theorizing, to distinguish it from the “first-order” level of normative theory. Metaethical positions may be divided according to how they respond to questions such as the following: * Ÿ  What exactly are people doing when they use moral words such as “good” and “right”? * Ÿ  What precisely is a moral value in the first place, and are such values similar to other familiar sorts of entities, such as objects and properties? * Ÿ  Where do moral values come from—what is their source and foundation? * Ÿ  Are some things morally right or wrong for all people at all times, or does morality instead vary from person to person, context to......

Words: 21310 - Pages: 86

Free Essay

World Religions

...Among the major world religions, three are very closely related in their origins, their beliefs, their revealed books or Holy Scriptures, and their institutions of leadership. They are also closely related in their beliefs about morals and ethics, and their views of the individual and social life. Following is the way that the Abrahamic religions are compared to each other: Abraham (or Abram) had a huge impact on the religions Believe that God made a covenant, or agreement with Abraham to keep the faith in One God, and to worship Him, to keep that faith and teach the practice of worship to his children down the generations, and God would preserve, protect and multiply the children of Abraham. All of the monotheistic faiths share a belief that God, the Creator, has “spoken” to humankind over time. The word for this divine communication is “revelation.” Belief in angels as God’s messengers to human beings. Believers in the Abrahamic faiths have preserved these scriptures and traditions of the prophets and the story of their unfolding in human history. Mahayana Buddhism The Mahayana emerged between 100 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. in India in the context of debate about proper Buddhist doctrine and practice, about monastic discipline, and particularly about the ongoing presence of the Buddha after his death as well as the nature of enlightenment itself. Initially, the Mahayana was influenced by other Buddhist schools of thought in India; as it spread......

Words: 1549 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

The Mask Stripped Bare by Its Curators: the Work of Hybridity in the 21 St Century

........................................................................................................... 9 Strategy for translation ................................................................................................................. 11 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 13 2 Abstract This paper will attempt to highlight in what manner western museums curate contemporary indigenous art in this modern setting. The main focus of this paper is how current means of understanding of non-western indigenous art does not completely allow to translate the culture successfully in order for museums to represent other cultures not just to appreciate art but also translate it accurately. Ruth B. Phillips took a personal interest into this matter after travelling to West Africa and documenting the practices and the culture of the Sande society. After her journey Phillips felt that non-western indigenous art such as the Sowei mask which was not represented precisely when displayed in North American and...

Words: 2931 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay


...Describe the key characteristics of the biomedical model  Define some of the key concepts that inform a sociological  approach to health and illness  Consider the value of a sociological approach to health and  illness for health workers. Let’s start with some questions … o Why do people stop taking antibiotics before they have  finished the packet? o Why do people smoke even when they know its unhealthy? o Why are women more likely to be diagnosed with depression  than men? o Why are poor people sicker than rich people? o Why do people seek complementary and alternative remedies  rather than going to the doctor? o Why do migrants to Australia have more accidents at work? o Why is there a 15‐20 year life expectancy gap between  Indigenous and non‐Indigenous Australians? 2 2/17/2016 What is sociology? “The study of society” Links between individual lives & social forces Systematic patterns in groups  of people – Behaviour – Meanings – Beliefs How do aspects of social life influence others? How does the distribution of power affect social life? Sociology offers: A ‘second opinion’ about common sense ideas...

Words: 1833 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

About Science

...(disambiguation). The scale of the universe mapped to the branches of science and the hierarchy of science.[1] Science[nb 1] is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[nb 2] In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to this body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Ever since classical antiquity, science as a type of knowledge has been closely linked to philosophy. In the West during the early modern period the words "science" and "philosophy of nature" were sometimes used interchangeably,[2]:p.3 and until the 19th century natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a branch of philosophy.[3] In modern usage "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature. Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. It is in the 19th century also that the term scientist began to be applied to those who sought knowledge and understanding of nature.[4] Modern science is typically subdivided into the natural sciences which study the material world, the social......

Words: 3516 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay


...with the culture, population & urbanization, and introduction to sociology. Not all these materials were covered in class and not all the materials covered in class are to be found in these notes. But you will find a generally close correspondence between class and readings in what follows. Be aware that these notes are not intended to replace reading the text. Also, these are “rough” notes. They were devised initially for my own use. They are not polished and stand open to correction. But I think you want them, so here they are. Dr V What is culture? A complex system of meaning and behavior that defines the way of life of a given group or society. Material and non-material Characteristics of culture: Shared Learned Taken for granted Symbolic (meaningful) Defining idea: transmission by non-biological means Distinctions(?) between human and animal cultures (language & tools). Elements of culture: Language: symbol systems. Does language shape culture? Norms: cultural expectations for how to behave in a given situation. Implicit vs. explicit; ideal vs. real. Folkways/mores/laws/taboos Social sanctions Ethnomethodology and the study of norms. Beliefs. Values: Value-orientations Institutions. Cultural diversity: Dominant culture. Most support from major institutions. Function of power. Subcultures. Often develop as a result of exclusion from mainstream society and culture. Counter-cultures Rejection of dominant cultural values,......

Words: 5518 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay

Secularism and Religion

...Secularism and religion Secularism and Religion Religion and Secularism have been around for years. People have many different views and thoughts about secularism. Secularism as a philosophy owes its origins to George Jacob Holyoake (1860), who introduced the idea that life should be lived by reference to ethical principles, and the world understood by processes of reasoning, rather than by reference to God or gods, or other supernatural concepts. From the perspective of government and governance, secularism refers to a policy that separates religious authority from the state .The opposite of secularism is usually theocracy; that is, where religion has a major role in government. Religion in the Civil War pervaded virtually all aspects of American society. Not all Americans held religious beliefs and values, but many did. Religion was not confined to one particular group, but soldiers and civilians, Northerners and Southerners, freed and slave, males and females, and Jews and Christians all made use of religion. Furthermore, a reciprocal relationship existed between the Civil War and religion, with both influencing and being influenced by each other. As a result, religion during the Civil War did not remain a static entity during 1861-1865; instead, it became an institution that constantly changed and adapted itself, as well as its devotees. Americans used religion to interpret their experiences during and......

Words: 2108 - Pages: 9