Essay on The Traditions of Western and Chinese Cultures

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ABSTRACT: In European atomic theory, Euclid's geometry and Aristotle's logic complement each other and are generally acknowledged sources of Western science. In China, the book Zhou Yi is the source of Chinese science because it system contains a unity of philosophic, logical and mathematical thinking. These two systems form the core of the scientific models of the Western and Chinese cultural traditions. In political and ideological arenas, the Western is a contract model based on the individual, but the Chinese is an entirety one base on 'human administration.' In Western societies, the inner general tensile stress of contracts causes losses and breaks of action standards and values, but it also has features of reconstruction, regeneration, and re-creation. Its breaks and losses could cause an entire collapse, but as it is far from a balanced condition, it has a tendency to stabilize its structures through inner-adjustment. These two traditions formed in the axial period of human history, and are still potent today. The proverb 'two poles are interlinked' still has a realistic significance for us to understand life in human society.

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 ...

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...nternational 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.

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