The concept of falsification, the problem of demarcation, the ban on induction, or the role of the empirical basis, along with the provocative parallels between historicism, holism and totalitarianism, have always caused controversies. The aim of this volume is not to smooth them but show them as a challenge. In this time when the traditional role of reason in the Western thought is being undermined, Popper’s non-foundationist model of reason brings the Enlightenment message into a new perspective. Popper believed that the open society was vulnerable, due precisely to its tolerance of otherness. This is a matter of great urgency in the modern world, as cultures based on different values gain prominence. The processes related to the extending of the EU, or the increasing economic globalization also raise questions about openness and democracy. The volume’s aim is to show the vitality of critical rationalism in addressing and responding to the problems of this time and this world.
To enable western scholars to understand the historical process of this change in Chinese academics, Yu Guangyuan's `On the Emancipation of the Mind' and Xu Liangying's `Essay on the Role of Science and Democracy in Society' have been included in this collection.
Three of the papers included on the philosophy of science are discussions of philosophical issues in cosmology and biology by scientists themselves. The remaining four are written by philosophers of science and discuss information and cognition, homeostasis and Chinese traditional medicine, the I Ching (Yi Jing) and mathematics, etc.
Papers have been selected on the history of both classical and modern science and technology, the most distinctive of which are macro-comparisons of the development of science in China and the west. Some papers discuss the issue of the demarcation of periods in the history of science, the history of ancient Chinese mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, machinery, medicine, etc. Others discuss the history of modern physics and biology, the history of historiography of science in China and the history of regional development of Chinese science and technology.
Also included are biographies of three post-eighteenth-century Chinese scholars, Li Shanlan (1811-1882), Hua Hengfang (1833–1902), and Cai Yuanpei (1868–1940), who contributed greatly to the introduction of western science and scholarship to China. In addition, three short papers have been included introducing the interactions between Chinese scholars and three great western scientists, Niels Bohr, Norbert Wiener, and Robert A. Millikan.