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书评:“好奇心的野心:了解古希腊和古代中国的世界”

已有 1969 次阅读 2021-8-27 21:50 |个人分类:在中法文化之间流连|系统分类:海外观察

Scott Rubarth评论G.E.R. Lloyd的书好奇心的野心:了解希腊和中国的古代世界2002):


1953年,阿尔伯特-爱因斯坦在给J.E.Switzer的一封信中写道:

西方科学的发展基于两项伟大的成就,一是希腊哲学家发明了形式逻辑系统(在欧几里得几何学中),二是发现了通过系统实验找出因果关系的可能性(在文艺复兴时期)。在我看来,人们不必为中国的哲人没能走出这些步骤而感到惊讶。令人惊讶的是,竟然有人做出了这些发现。


如果最后一句话是对的,但一般的说法并没有充分认识到中国科学的成功和意义。已经做了很多工作,特别是由已故的李约瑟和他的同事们做的,以消除关于中国科学的局限性和范围的神话和假设。在《好奇心的野心》中,劳埃德着手确定我们可以学到什么,当探究的视角从谁先做了什么的问题转向结构、制度和社会需求如何影响进行系统探究的野心时。


在该书的序言中,劳埃德提出了他的议程。他希望辨别哪些因素影响了系统性探索的发展,并促进了好奇心的雄心。为了回答这个问题,他将讨论一系列关键主题,包括个人主义、研究的开放性、赞助或资助、智力和个人风险、表达的论坛和受众,并将它们应用于基本的探索领域,如历史、医学、生命科学、数学、技术和语言。劳埃德对调查的内容不感兴趣,而对方法论与影响调查成功的参数和条件的社会和制度因素之间的关系感兴趣。虽然调查的重点是古希腊和中国,但劳埃德也在必要时借鉴了美索不达米亚、埃及和印度的材料。最终,劳埃德承认这项工作是一次初步的尝试;他的目的是 "提出论点",而不是全面地阐述、记录或检验它们--这一点他留给了其他人(xii)。


第一章从一些方法上的关注开始。为了正确地跨文化地评估一门特定的学科,重要的是不要让任何特定的文化来定义该学科的参数。同样地,重要的是不要通过它接近或有助于实现现代科学理想的程度来评估一门科学。相反,实践或理论的目标必须根据它为其所在社会的利益服务的程度来评估。换句话说,我们应该遵循采用行动者而不是观察者的类别的方法论原则45)。


第一个讨论的主题是历史学。由于我们不想把我们的历史学概念强加给希腊人或中国人,劳埃德把这个话题更笼统地重新表述为中国和希腊是如何采用关于过去的系统写作的问题。劳埃德从中国开始,最早系统论述过去的主要文本是《史记》(与更早的《春秋》和《左传》相比,更多的是轶事)。然而,《史记》的范围比传统的希腊历史学要广泛得多。《史记》包括年鉴、年表和传记,但也包括涉及天文、日历、农业、技术和礼仪的论文。了解这部作品的关键是强调提供旨在为统治者提供道德教训的材料。


劳埃德将中国的历史学与早期希腊的历史学作了对比。与《史记》一样,希腊的历史不限于事件,而是关于各种主题的调查。两种文化的主要差异部分在于中国皇家抄写员的机构联系和希腊历史学家的竞争框架之间的差异。中国文人,如《史记》的作者司马迁父子,其主要目的是为国家服务,向皇帝和朝廷官员提供道德和技术方面的知识。由于皇帝是天地之间的桥梁,由于国家的福利基本上取决于他的性格、知识和管理能力,因此,知识分子对整个社会的贡献会受到适当建议和教育摄政王及其官员的影响,其结果是双刃剑。一方面,国家重视、资助和表彰学者。在历史上,我们很少发现像中国这样对系统研究有如此稳定和持久的承诺。另一方面,国家的这种支持也促进了知识分子的保守主义,并可能抑制科学的雄心。虽然国家提倡探索,但它不会(我们也不应该期望它)认可被认为与政府其他目标和价值观不一致的探索。尽管学术文本阐明了对真理的承诺,但中国学者倾向于为现状服务。这并不是说没有许多站在权力对立面而不顾自身危险的例子。然而,这种正直的例子往往自己也被成为榜样(死亡或被阉割)。


相比之下,希腊历史学家和哲学家不太可能得到国家的明确支持(尽管也有明显的例外,如那些得到希腊王国支持的人)。相反,对于大多数希腊思想家来说,他们的工作受到寻找听众的需要的影响,这意味着某种形式的公开表演。个人必须做出成绩,这就需要在某种程度上进行争论和对抗。希腊历史学家需要进入一个竞争性的舞台,因此倾向于反驳他人,并以中国文本中很少见的方式对其他历史学家进行批评。


第二章很自然地从第一章开始。从对过去的探究到对未来的预测,劳埃德将重点转向了什么构成和决定成功预测的问题。预测的野心在大多数文化(古代和现代)中都很常见,尽管这个主题似乎属于伪科学和宗教,但劳埃德认为,正是预测未来的愿望激发了人们了解宇宙运行方式的野心。


系统预测科学的祖先是巴比伦人。劳埃德调查了巴比伦占星术的成长和发展,从其早期阶段,像医学预言一样,天体事务主要标志着不祥的事件和精神在工作,到后期阶段,作为早期实践的结果,巴比伦人不再只是预测事件的结果,而是事件本身。劳埃德随后回到了中国和希腊。中国古代最早的已知预测形式是著名的龙骨和龟甲神谕。与此相关且随后出现的是极具影响力的《易经》或《易经》。占星术也有悠久的传统;在汉代建立的占星局持续运作了2000多年。天体观测的目的既是历法,也是宇宙学,即寻求绘制天体图并识别不祥的现象。


希腊人从来没有发展出像中国的占星术那样的东西,因此,每一种哲学最终都不得不与其他哲学竞争,以获得关注。其结果是激进的天文和宇宙学的多元化(劳埃德称之为免费的),这有时会导致误解和怀疑主义。此外,中国人主要利用算术方法来研究天体,而希腊人则倾向于采用几何模型。两者在不同方面都非常有效。算术方法产生了非常可靠的经验数据,今天仍然被占星家使用,而几何方法最终在解释数据方面更有成效。劳埃德没有强调的一点是,最终中国人关于宇宙不受同心圆限制的概念最终更接近我们当代的情况。



接下来的两章主要讨论数学和技术。数学在实际操作(测量、税收等)和认识宇宙的秩序方面都很重要。两者都试图将数学推理的规律性秩序与日历、谐波和光学的发展联系起来。对数的概念和量化的作用进行了简要的评价。即使是计数脉冲的基本概念,在中国和希腊也有不同的处理方式。接下来对毕达哥拉斯式的对立表和中国的阴阳概念之间的差异进行了有趣的讨论。尽管有类似的关注点和问题,但数学的总体理想是不同的。劳埃德再次呼吁体制上的考虑,特别是政治上的考虑,来解释这种差异。中国的数学试图统一各种学科。统一和有序表明天地相合,皇帝统治有方。而希腊人在其政治领域则没有这样的统一和秩序。劳埃德认为,希腊政治和知识生活中的纷争和无序会使数学推导的不言而喻的起点的想法非常吸引人。在法庭和政治会议上,仅仅是有说服力的争论决定了一天的秩序,与此相反,哲学家和数学家们试图开发一种替代方案:一种基于公理推导证明的数学。这种数学方法在世界历史上就像激进的民主一样罕见。


谈到技术发展,中国和希腊常常被描绘成对立面:高效的中国技术官僚与不切实际的希腊形而上学者形成对比。虽然承认陈规定型观念通常有一定的事实依据,但劳埃德对战争、农业和土木工程这三个技术革新的一般类别的调查表明,两者的相似性比通常所说的更大。尽管分析很有趣,内容也很丰富,但只对劳埃德的一般论点有一点推进作用。制度和结构方面的考虑如何影响技术的例子是对中国和托勒密埃及的军事和农业试验的支持,以及大型民用项目的生产。


在第五章中,提出了两个关于语言的问题。利用或不发展一种专门的探究语言有什么影响,以及对语言性质的思考对智力进步有多重要?两种文化都为特定的学科,如医学、生物学和数学,开发了丰富而复杂的词汇表。他们的不同之处在于,中国人在规范科学语言方面似乎更加成功,而希腊人的竞争力则阻碍了统一的话语。两者都认为语言具有规范性的特点。对中国人来说,这些都是基于社会角色,而希腊人则更注重名字的自然或常规意义。最后,劳埃德证明了隐喻词汇,尤其是中国语言的特点,并不需要比字面或创造的术语更不精确。事实上,能够实现语义延伸的语言有一定的优势(123)。


在最后一章中,劳埃德试图就制度因素如何广泛地塑造希腊和中国科学的特点和成功得出他最一般的结论。正如我们在这一点上所期望的那样,在科学成功方面没有明确的赢家,因为每种文化的内部需求都不同。但我们可以学到一些明显的教训。制度既能赋予权力,也能使之瘫痪;个人主义既能解放,也能阻碍。劳埃德称之为双重束缚(126)。在中国,学者们接受政府的资助,支持他们的工作。人们不需要招募追随者或驳斥反对者。因此,中国的国家提供了一种在希腊不为人知的稳定。这种稳定性的代价可能是保守主义。这个机构可以阻止引入新的想法或系统的批评。虽然有可能在制度结构之外工作,但很难找到听众。个人主义或多或少地提供了不受限制的智力许可,但在机器之外运作也限制了产生真正影响的机会。对许多其他人来说,个人主义的代价是被遗忘 ”127)。


国家控制之外的科学探究也同样受到偏见的影响。劳埃德展示了强调竞争和自由市场调查的希腊模式如何有其自身的优势和弱点。不受国家控制的自由也意味着不受持续和可靠的财政支持。希腊模式产生了思想的多元化,有时促进了知识的混乱和不连续性。要看到缺乏结构性支持所产生的思想多元化的影响,只需要读一点卢西恩的作品。


总之,劳埃德创作了一部重要的作品,它并不是真正关于东方与西方,而是关于社会和制度因素如何促进或阻碍方法论探索的精神。虽然该书采用了比较与对比的形式,但它不仅仅是对相似性和差异性的调查。虽然从未提及福柯,但我不禁认为这部作品中有福柯精神的影子,因为劳埃德有效地展示了权力和知识是如何密不可分的。这部作品适当地简短,希望能引起人们对这一主题的更多兴趣。劳埃德展示了如何处理这个问题,而不陷入传统的我们他们之争,或谁先做了什么,何时做的疑问。


该书包括一个简短的中文和希腊语词汇表,一个有用的参考书目,一个索引,以及许多有用的表格和插图。中文名称和词语遵循拼音惯例。希腊文和中文术语在正文中都有音译。这部作品没有明显的拼写错误或排版错误。该文建议供本科生使用。


注:劳埃德(G.E.R. Lloyd1933-)是东亚科学史信托基金的主席和剑桥大学古代哲学和科学的名誉教授。他撰写和编辑了许多书籍,包括《希腊思想》(哈佛,2000年)和《希波克拉底文集》(维京,1984年)。他是英国学院的院士和美国艺术与科学学院的荣誉外国成员。



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Review : The Ambitions of Curiosity: Understanding the World in Ancient Greece and China


In 1953 Albert Einstein wrote the following in a letter to J. E. Switzer:

The development of Western Science has been based on two great achievements, the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility of finding out causal relationships by systematic experiment (at the Renaissance). In my opinion one need not be astonished that the Chinese sages did not make these steps. The astonishing this is that these discoveries were made at all.1


While the last sentence is true, the general claim does not adequately acknowledge the successes and significance of Chinese science. Much has been done, particularly by the late Joseph Needham and his associates, to discharge myths and assumptions regarding the limitations and scope of Chinese science. The issue, however, is least productively treated when set in terms of competition or apologetics. In The Ambitions of Curiosity, G. E. R. Lloyd sets out to establish what can be learned when the lens of inquiry is turned away from questions regarding who did what first, to how did the structures, institutions, and societal needs influence the very ambition to undertake systematic inquiry.


In the preface to the book Lloyd sets out his agenda. He desires to discern what factors influence the growth of systematic inquiry and promote the ambitions of curiosity. To answer this question, he will address a series of key themes, including individualism, openendedness of research, sponsorship or patronage, intellectual and personal risk, forums for expression, and audience, and apply them to basic fields of inquiry such as history, medicine, life sciences, mathematics, technology, and language. Lloyd is less interested in the content of the inquiries than the relationship between methodology and the social and institutional factors influencing the parameters and conditions for the success of the inquiries. Although the focus of the investigation is ancient Greece and China, Lloyd also draws on material from Mesopotamia, Egypt and India when needed. Ultimately Lloyd acknowledges that the work is a preliminary foray; he aims “to propose arguments,” not to comprehensively elaborate, document, or test them — this he leaves to others (xii).


The first chapter begins with some methodological concerns. In order to properly evaluate a given discipline cross-culturally, it is important not to allow any specific culture to define the parameters of the discipline. Likewise, it is important not to evaluate a science by the extent to which it approaches or contributes toward modern scientific ideals. Rather, the goals of the practice or theory must be evaluated in terms of how well it served the interests of the society in which it was found. In other words we should follow the “methodological principle of adopting actors’ rather than observers’ categories” (45).


The first subject addressed is historiography. Since we do not want to impose our concept of historiography on the Greeks or Chinese, Lloyd rephrases the topic more generally as the question of how systematic writing regarding the past was employed in China and Greece. Lloyd begins with China. The earliest major text which systematically treats the past (in contrast to the earlier but more anecdotal Spring and Autumn Annals and the Zuozhuan) is the Shiji. The scope of the Shiji however is much broader than traditional Greek historiography. The Shiji includes annals, chronological tables, and biography, but it also includes treatises addressing astronomy, calendar, agriculture, technologies, and ritual. Key to understanding the work is the emphasis on supplying material aimed at providing moral lessons for those who rule.


Lloyd contrasts Chinese historiography with early Greek historiography. Like the Shiji, Greek “histories” are not limited to events, but are inquiries “concerning” (peri) various subject matters. The major differences between the two cultures rests in part on the difference between the institutional connections of the royal scribe in China and the competitive framework of the Greek historian. The primary aim of the Chinese scribe (dashi or tashi), such as Sima Tan and Sima Quin, the father and son author of the Shiji, is to serve the state by providing knowledge, moral and technical, to the emperor and court officials. Since the emperor is the bridge between heaven and earth and since the welfare of the state essentially depends upon his character, knowledge, and administrative capacities, intellectual contributions to society as a whole are affected by properly advising and educating the regent and his officials. The consequence is double-edged. On the one hand, the state values, funds, and honors scholars. Seldom in history do we find such a stable and enduring commitment to systematic inquiry as in China. On the other hand, this same state patronage promotes an intellectual conservatism and can inhibit scientific ambitions. Although the state promotes inquiry, it does not (nor should we expect it to) endorse inquiry that is perceived to be inconsistent with the other goals and values of the administration. Despite the fact that scholarly texts articulated a commitment to the truth, Chinese scholars tended to serve the status quo. This is not to say that there are not many examples of those who stood against the powers to their own peril. However such examples of integrity were often themselves made to be examples (by death or castration).


Greek historians and philosophers in contrast were less likely to have explicit support from the state (though there are notable exceptions such as those supported by Hellenistic kingdoms). Instead for most Greek thinkers work was influenced by the need to find an audience and this meant some form of public performance. The individual had to make a mark, and this entailed controversy and confrontation on some level. Greek historians needed to enter a competitive arena and therefore tended to refute others and be critical of other historians in ways seldom found in the Chinese texts.


Chapter two naturally follows from the first. Moving from inquiries about the past to proclamations about what is yet to come, Lloyd turn his focus to the question of what constitutes and determines successful prediction. The ambition to predict is common to most cultures (ancient and modern) and although the subject appears to belong to pseudo-science and religion, Lloyd argues that it is the desire to predict the future that fed the ambitions to understand how the universe operated.


The grandfathers of systematic predictive sciences are the Babylonians. Lloyd surveys the growth and development of Babylonian astrology from its early stages in which, like medical prognostications, celestial affairs chiefly signified ominous events and spirits at work, to later stages when, as the result of the earlier practices, the Babylonians no longer simply predicted the outcome of the events, but the events themselves. Lloyd then returns to China and Greece. The earliest known forms of prediction in ancient China are the famous “dragon bones” and turtle shell oracles. Related and subsequent is the highly influential Yijing or Book of Changes. Astrology also has a long tradition; established during the Han dynasty, the Bureau of Astrology continued to function for over 2,000 years. The purpose of celestial observation was both calendrical (lifa) and cosmographical (tianwen), that is, seeking to map the heavens and identify ominous phenomena.


The Greeks never developed anything like the Chinese bureau of astrology and consequently each philosophy ultimately had to compete with others for attention. The result is a radical astronomical and cosmological pluralism (Lloyd calls this a “free for all”) which sometimes led to misology and skepticism. Moreover, while the Chinese mainly utilized an arithmetical (Needham calls it “algebraic”) approach to the study of the heaven, the Greeks preferred a geometric model. Both have been highly effective in different ways. Whereas the arithmetic approach produced very reliable empirical data still used by astrologers today, the geometric approach ultimately was more productive in explaining the data. A point not emphasized by Lloyd is that ultimately the Chinese conception of the universe as unbounded by concentric spheres ended up being closer to our contemporary picture.


The next two chapters focus on mathematics and technology. Mathematics was important both in terms of practical operation (measuring, taxes, etc.) and in terms of recognizing order in the cosmos. Both sought to connect the law-like order of mathematical reasoning to the development of the calendar, harmonics, and optics. The concept of number and the role of quantification is briefly evaluated. Even the basic concept of counting pulses is treated differently in China and Greece.4 An interesting discussion of the differences between the Pythagorean table of opposites and the Chinese conception of yin and yang follows. In spite of similar concerns and problems, the general ideals in mathematics differed. Lloyd again appeals to institutional considerations, in particular political concerns, to explain this difference. Chinese mathematics sought to unify the various subjects. Unity and orderliness indicate that heaven and earth are in accord and the emperor is ruling well. The Greeks, on the other hand, did not have such unity and order in their political domain. Lloyd suggests that the strife and disorder in Greek political and intellectual life would make the idea of self-evident starting points for mathematical deductions very appealing. In contrast to the law-courts and political assemblies where “merely persuasive arguments” determined the order of the day, philosophers and mathematicians sought to develop an alternative: a mathematics based on axiomatic-deductive demonstrations. This sort of approach to mathematics was as rare in world history as radical democracy.


When it comes to technological developments China and Greece are often portrayed as opposites: the efficient Chinese technocrats contrasted to the impractical Greek metaphysicians. While acknowledging that stereotypes usually have some factual basis, Lloyd’s survey of three general categories of technological innovation, warfare, agriculture, and civil engineering demonstrates a greater similarity than often suggested. The analysis, however interesting and informative, only marginally advances Lloyd’s general thesis. Examples of how institutional and structural considerations influence technology are the support of military and agricultural experimentation in China and in Ptolemaic Egypt and the production of large civic projects.



In the fifth chapter two questions regarding language are raised: What is the impact of utilizing or failing to develop a specialized language for inquiry, and how important is reflection on the nature of language to intellectual progress? Both cultures developed rich and complex vocabularies for specific disciplines such as medicine, biology, and mathematics. They differ insofar as the Chinese seemed to be more successful in standardizing scientific language whereas Greek competitiveness hindered a uniform discourse. Both also saw language as embedded with normative features. These were based on social roles for the Chinese, whereas the Greeks focused more on the question of the natural or conventional meaning of names. Finally Lloyd demonstrates that metaphorical vocabulary, especially characteristic of Chinese language, need not be less precise than literal or coined terms. In fact languages which enable a “semantic stretch” have certain advantages (123).


In the final chapter Lloyd attempts to draw his most general conclusions regarding how institutional factors have broadly shaped the character and success of the sciences of Greece and China. As we should expect at this point, there is no unequivocal winner in terms of scientific success since the needs of each culture differed internally. But there are clear lessons to be learned. Institutions both empower and paralyze; individualism can liberate as well as hinder. Lloyd calls this the double bind (126). In China scholars receive government patronage which supports the work at hand. One need not recruit followers or refute opponents. Therefore the Chinese state supplied a stability not known in Greece. The cost for this stability can be conservatism. The institution can discourage the introduction of new ideas or systematic criticism. While it was possible to work outside the institutional structure, it was difficult to find an audience. Individualism affords more or less unrestricted intellectual license, but operating outside the machine also limits the chances of making a real impact. “For many others the price of individualism was oblivion” (127).


Scientific inquiry outside state control is likewise affected by biases. Lloyd shows how the Greek model which emphasizes competition and free-market inquiry had its own strengths and weaknesses. Freedom from state control also means freedom from sustained and reliable financial support. The Greek model produced a pluralism of ideas that sometimes promoted intellectual chaos and discontinuity. To see the effects of intellectual pluralism produced by the absence of structural support one only need read a bit of Lucian.


In summary G. E. R. Lloyd has produced an important work which is not really about East versus West but rather about the way social and institutional factors promote or hinder the spirit of methodological inquiry. Although the book has a ‘compare and contrast’ format, it is more than simply a survey of similarity and difference. Although Foucault is never mentioned, I cannot help but think that there is something of the spirit of Foucault in this work, for Lloyd effectively shows how power and knowledge are inseparable. The work is appropriately short and will hopefully generate additional interest in the topic. Lloyd demonstrates how to approach the issue without falling into the conventional us versus them, or who did what first and when query.


The book includes a brief glossary of Chinese and Greek terms, a useful bibliography, an index, and many useful tables and illustrations. Chinese names and words follow the Pinyin convention. Both Greek and Chinese terms are transliterated in the body of the text. This work is free from obvious misspellings or typographical errors. The text is recommended for undergraduate use.


参考文献:

https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2003/2003.10.24/




http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-2322490-1301717.html

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