The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West / Edition 1

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Overview

This is a study of the long-standing question of why modern science arose only in the West and not in the civilizations of Islam and China. The author points out that from the tenth century to the thirteenth the Arabs had the most advanced science in the world. Arab astronomers even invented non-Ptolemaic planetary models that are equivalent to those of Copernicus, yet they failed to develop modern science. While the Chinese underwent a high level of mathematical development during the European High Middle Ages, they generally lagged behind the Arabs in physical theory, optics, astronomy, and experimentation. To explain this outcome the author explores the cultural - religious, legal, philosophical, and institutional - contexts within which science was practiced in Islam. China, and the West. He finds in the history of law and the European cultural revolution of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries major clues as to why the ethos of science arose in the West, permitting the breakthrough to modern science that did not occur elsewhere. This line of inquiry leads to novel ideas about the centrality of the legal concept of corporation which is unique to the West and gave rise to the concepts of neutral space and free inquiry.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...Huff provides a thorough, coherent hypothesis and thus helps sharpen the debates on the rise of modern science." MESA Bulletin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521498333
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st pbk. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 423
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Preface to the second edition
Preface to the first edition
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The comparative study of science 8
2 Arabic science and the Islamic world 47
3 Reason and rationality in Islam and the West 89
4 The European Legal revolution 118
5 Madrasas, universities, and science 147
6 Cultural climates and the ethos of science 209
7 Science and civilization in China 240
8 Science and social organization in China 289
9 The rise of early modern science 325
Epilogue: educational reform and attitudes toward science in the Muslim world and China since the eighteenth century 362
Selected bibliography 385
Index 407
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