Two traditions of Western and Chinese Cultures
In Europe Philosophy atom theory, Euclid's geometry and Aristotle's' logic complement each other and are generally acknowledged the source of Western science. But in china the book Zhou Yi is the starting point to study Chinese science source, because the system contains both philosophy thinking and logic thinking and mathematics thinking, and it is their unity. The features of the former are, (1) from the inner to the outside, (2) from the small to the big, (3) from the below to the upper and (4) from the many to One. The latter's features are just contrary. The are, (1) from the outside to the inner, (2) from the big to the small, (3) from the upper to the below and (4) from one to the many, The scientific traditions formed by two scientific sources are the most rational ones in all traditions and the core of "model" formed by Western and Chinese two cultural traditions. In political and ideological areas. The Western is a contract model built on the basis of individuals, but the Chinese is an entirety one built on the basis of "man administration. In the Western societies, the inner general tensile stress of contracts causes losses and breaks of action standards and values, but it has features of reconstruction, regeneration and creation. The entirety theory is contrary. Its breaks and losses cause a whole collapse, but as it is frar from the balance condition, it has a tendency of super-stability structures through the inner adjustment. The two traditions of western and Chinese cultures formed in the axis period of human history still has a great life -force today. The proverb "two poles are interlined" still has a realistic significance for us to understand the real life of human society.
From the visual angle of mankind culture, the scientific humanist George Sartor pointed out, "In all traditions the science tradition is the most rational or of the fewest non - ration" and "The understanding of civilization history should be mainly concentrated in the history of science". Jose Li, the world -know historian of science thinks that the unity of sciences exists among the mutual exchanges and mixtures of various cultural traditions, and that, to investigate problems from history of science, the long cultural traditions should be divided into two "One is the cultural tradition of Western Europe and another is that of Eastern China". The Chinese civilization is different from the other great civilizations . The valley civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt were long linked, and the ancient civilizations of Indian valley and Babylonian had also some relations. But it is the independent Yellow River civilization which had not any close relations with them".
Philosophy atom theory of ancient Greece, Euclid's geometry and Aristotle's logic complement each other and are generally acknowledged the source of Western science. But in China it was obviously unilateral that air - monism theory was used to explain the source of Chinese science in a long time and the careful inquiry from the viewpoints of logic and mathematics were ignored. In my opinion the book Zhou Yi is the starting point in the inquiry because its system contains ideologies of philosophy, logic and mathematics and a unity of them.
The western modern science revolution led atom theory into natural science and transformed philosophy atom theory into scientific atomic theory. The atomic theory finally got a firm foothold in mechanics, physics and chemistry by the efforts from Galileo, Newton to Boyle and Dalton. Mendelef's atomic table made the atomic theory strike root in the hearts of the people. As a mode of thinking, the atomic theory decides the features of entirety through independent atoms, the feature of structure is the basic character and it is needed to grasp natural phenomena from the structure viewpoint in the outlook of nature. Logic is also a type of structure. Various independent judgments in a scientific theoretical system are not mutually contradictionary and thus an orderly structure is formed. Euclid's geometry is a mathematics sample of the mode of thinking and it is applied as a scientific "model" in various subjects. Its general features are, (1) from the inner to the outside, (2) from the small to the big, (3) from the below to the upper and (4) from the many to one, that is, to apply the atom structure matter, from the part and relying on part structure, one can grasp the matter and decide the entirety features by the part features.
The thinking mode of entirety theory in the Chinese tradition, starts from entirety, relies on entirety and understands the parts. The book Zhou yi is its carrier. Zhou Yi was deducted from two Taiji basic symbols " -- and "", and built its theoretical basis and "xiang "- number philosophy system. "Xian", numbers and theory are in unity. The so-called "Xiang" means "-- and "" , the so-called numbers means the odd and the even and the so-called theory means the opposition and unity of feminine and masculine. The "Xiang" -number system is a progression one, which is deviled into two. Taiji is divided into two Yao, a basic symbol in zhou Yi, that is "-- and "", then it is added by Yao place of the smallest figure and uses Yao place to show the time increase of quantity. At the time of divination Zhou Yi is divided into three Yao and six Yao, that is arranged by three in a group and six in a group. Divination of three Yao is called eight channels Divination, divination of six Yao is called 64divination, and they form opposite divinations in every group of two. 64 divinations contain 384 Yao. Between every divination and other sixty-three and every Yao and other 343 Yao, there exist the relations of arrangement, composition, opposition, symmetry, change, circle and reflection. In the Yi long river of 2000years, the system of "xiang'-number type made its philosophy explanation by reasoning from analogy with the theories of mutual supplement of feminine and masculine, three abilities of heaven, earth and human, and so on. In a word, Zhou Yi is a theoretical system to and forming of all thins with a method of reasoning from analogy. In china astronomy, mathematics, medical science and agricultural science regard zhou Yi as their scientific program. Its general features are opposite to the atom theory. They are (1) from the outside to the inner, (2) from the big to the small, (3) from the upper to the below and (4) from one to the many. The theory of entirety starts from and entirety and takes entirety as its basis, and from it concrete things are deducted. The concrete things only exist, develop and disappear according to heavenly principles.
The "models" of western and Chinese two scientific traditions from the core of western and Chinese two cultural traditions. The flourishing, forming and deduction of different cultural traditions are connected with the history and reality of their social lives. The striking individual spirit of atom theory came from the highest-peak period of ancient Greece city slavery system and a separatist state of more than 200 city countries, and came from the development of Athena, democratic form of government, the leading place of industrial and commercial economy in social life, worship of various gods in religion and so on and so forth. There were two outstanding features of China's feudal society. One was that it was closely connected with patriarchal clan system and it relied on a link of ties of blood to bring collective productive force into play. Another was a centralized feudal autocratic empire formed on the basis of agriculture and a superstructure with a perfect ethics for defending feudal patriarchal clan system.
In the political and ideological area, the individual thinking was popular in the West. Ancient Greeks thought that the social history originated from the emergence of individuals who had a political thinking, a distinct individual feature, a free will and creative capacities, and who knew esteem and friendship, justice and harmony. In order to avoid injuring each other and create more wealth, it was needed to conclude contracts between each other, to have a division of labor and form mass organizations. Counters and laws were a result of the contracts, which were conscientiously concluded by each other of people. Individuals and families emerged before city countries and laws were "an agreement between each other to ensure justice". But in ancient china, people thought that social history originated from the emergence of sages or monarchies who represented the will of cology, who had extraordinary talents, wisdom and creative capacities, who represented heavenly principles and truths, worked out rites, laws and various social standards, and divided and established social differences grades and labor division for people to have an organized and orderly life that enbodied heavenly principles. So in the thinking of Chinese people, the viewpoint of "law" meant "imitation", "copy" and "model". The law governing of ancient Greeks had a "standard" meaning of surmounting individual features. But "law governing" of the Chinese meant "moral governing" that existed in individual features of people. In the Western society, contracts have a general tensile stress Because individual interests are that as one reduces and another increases, contract actions often cause losses of action standards, and even more, cause breaks, tract mechanism of structure feature the conditions above is contemporary and the society has features of reforming, reconstructing and creation. The entirety theory is contrary. Its breaks and losses cue a whole collapse, and in addition to a rigid to a rigid and slow-moving mechanism of reforming, the man-governess is current. But once it is formed, because it is far from balance condition, it has a long stability feature through inner regulation.
From the 11th century B. C. To 2nd century, A. C. There emerged an axisperiod of human history. The big cultural circles of ancient Greece and Roman, India and China took shape in the time. In his book, he Origin and Objective of History, Yarsbel said that it was a breakthrough period of human, and it was the axis period that became the real starting point, and in which human conscientiously went forward and set up the highest aim to pursue. In the long river of human history, the factors of control feature are those one by one, thinking and moral, political power, economic development, scientific development and all-round development of man. The feedbacks of controlled factors are those, revision, completion, improving and transforming. The most excellent mechanism of social development is decided by the condition of productive force. The international academic circle affirms that the second axis period has not appeared. So the stronger the two cultural traditions which were formed in the first axis period have pardon, harmony and creation to the social development, the stronger their life-force is. The real life of human society is a lively embodiment of "Two poles are interlined" and "Two things are both opposite and complementary" which are the cores of atom theory and entirety theory. Of course, the two forms are changing, too. This is the realistic significance of our probe study of the two traditions of Waster and Chinese cultures.
(1) Sarton's essay Scientific History and New Humanism in Science and Philosophy, 4th issue of 1984,edited by the Magazine Office of Natural Dialectics of China Science Academy.
(2) Collected Works of jose li, edited by Pan li-xin, page 54,1986,Shenyang.