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Asian Appropriations of Science and Technology : 

Asian Appropriations of Science and Technology


China: Nationalist Hubris


Japan: Pragmatic Hybrids

India: Hubris and Hybrids : 

India: Hubris and Hybrids

Hubris and Hybrids: 

Hubris and Hybrids hubris: ”impious disregard of the limits governing human action in an orderly universe” hybrids: ”offspring of parents that differ in genetically determined traits”


Hubris in History The myths of Icarus and Prometheus The scientific revolution: ”New Atlantis” Industrialization: ”Prometheus Unbound” Atomic energy: ”Science - The Endless Frontier” The arms race and the Apollo Mission


Hybrids in History Medieval monks: artificial people The ”renaissance men”: artists-engineers Experimental philosophers: scholar-craftsmen Professional engineers: theoretical technicians Environmentalists: activist academics


A Brief History of Science Ancient, or Traditional science, up to about 1600 spiritual knowledge, distinctive regional modes gap between theory (episteme) and practice (techne) Modern, or Western science, from about 1600 to 1970 instrumental, rational, universal knowledge functional interdependence of science and technology Global, or Technoscience, from about 1970 multiple forms of knowledge, commercial networks of innovation combinations of science and technology


Science and Technology in ”Traditional” Asia On the discursive, or macro level ideas of order, authority and control - Confucianism an underlying philosophy of life – Taoism, Buddhism On the institutional, or meso level systems of infrastructural maintenance and management hierarchical forms of education and knowledge making – mandarins in China, brahmans in India, samurais in Japan On the practical, or micro level advanced forms of artisanal practical knowledge (techne) spriritual and naturalist theories (episteme)

Encountering the West: 

Encountering the West India: the crown of the empire colonization, occupation, national liberation China: the middle kingdom commercialization, resistance, revolution Japan: keeping distance isolation, confrontation, competition

The Indian Case: 

The Indian Case A long struggle for independence British and Soviet influences Pluralist civilization, multiple cultures Scientism and spiritualism: a dual society The invention of tradition

The Chinese Case: 

The Chinese Case A sequence of revolutions American and Soviet influences hydraulic civilization, bureaucratic culture The four modernizations The destruction of tradition


The Japanese Case A series of military confrontations Chinese and American influences island civilization, Samurai culture A national system of innovation The mobilization of tradition

Indian Minds: 

Indian Minds Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) poet, philosopher, artist, Nobel Prize, 1913 M.K. (Mahatma) Gandhi (1869-1948) independence leader: ”experiments with truth” Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) India’s first prime minister: ”scientific temper”


What I object to is the artificial arrangement by which the foreign education tends to occupy all the space of our national mind and thus kills, or hampers, the great opportunity for the creation of new thought by a new combination of truths.. Tagore


Just as matter displaced becomes dirt, Reason misplaced becomes lunacy. Mahatma Gandhi


I do not see any way out of our vicious circle of poverty except by utilizing the new sources of power which science has placed at our disposal Jawaharlal Nehru

Chinese Minds: 

Chinese Minds Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) Founder of China’s nationalist party Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976) Chairman of communist party Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) Party leader from 1978 to 1997


I saw the outside world and I began to wonder how it was that foreigners, that Englishmen could do such things as they had done, for example, with the barren rock of Hong Kong, within 70 or 80 years, while China, in 4,000 years, had no places like Hong Kong. Sun Yat-sen


The great Chinese revolutionary, our precursor Mr Sun Yat-sen, said at the beginning of the century that in China there would come a Great Leap Forward. This prediction of his will certainly be realized within a few decades. Mao Tse-tung (1964)


The key to achieving modenization is the development of science and technology. Deng Xiaoping

Japanese Minds: 

Japanese Minds Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945) philosopher, cultural theorist Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) novelist, Nobel Prize for literature, 1968 Akio Morita (1921-1999) physicist, co-founder of Sony, writer


To become global Oriental culture must not stop at its own specificity but rather it must shed a new light on Western culture amd a new world culture must be created. Kitaro Nishida


The Master was plagued... by modern rationalism, to which fussy rules were everything, from which all the grace and elegance of Go as art had disappeared, which quite dispensed with respect for elders and attached no importance to mutual respect as human beings. From the way of Go the Beauty of Japan and the Orient had fled. Yasanuri Kawabata (The Master of Go)


Only with these three kinds of creativity - technology, product planning, and marketing - can the public receive the benefit of a new technology. Akio Morita

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